Her eyes were fixed on the scan reports for a good 5 mins. I could make out that she had deciphered what it was in a minute but she was taking time to frame the sentences right in order to save me from a heart attack. She finally looked at me, from above her square spectacles that was almost about to slip off her waxy perfectly sculpted nose and heavily sighed.
"Your daughter has been smoking." She immediately broke the eye contact and continued," Tch. I really dont know what to say about these kids of today's times. Just cannot understand what they want of life". Unconsciously removing her glasses, she appealed, "Dear. Please dont get mad at her. Please dont. I am a mother and I know what you are going through right now trust me. Yet I advise you with some hope that you will be easy on her. Parental pressure is not what she needs right now. Its YOU who she needs."
I involuntarily gave out a chuckle. That's the last thing any independent woman of her age would want. A parent by her side. Of course I don't believe what she said. I mean, I cant. My daughter and cigarettes! I thought she would be smart enough to stay away from them after witnessing what I and my husband go through every day for this stealthy habit of his. I asserted the doctor with a smile and silently collected the reports from the perfectly transparent glass I have seen in a really long time, apart from the one at my home that is.
I walked back home. Ideally I should have taken a bus or an auto for the 4 km stretch. But I needed time. Aaah! It was one of those moments where I wished I could freeze time. The other time I felt this was when I sang very mellifluously besides my grand father's deathbed. I needed time to script what I should be talking to her after reaching home. So how was I going to go about it? Should I make her feel guilty by confessing how much of my trust she has betrayed or should I just not talk at all and play it safe by letting her initiate it once she comes to know that I was disturbed? Oh well I was shattered to be quiet honest. Too much of time freezing fantasy made me check the time. It was 5.45 pm. I couldn't help but ridicule myself about dreaming about freezing time and literally let an hour flow by me! Oh dear God I needed to light the velakku* before it strikes 6! I stopped thinking all of a sudden and marched towards home. It was 6.03 by the time I could manage opening the door. It was ajar.
There she was, sitting like a frog in front of the velakku. She was bending gracefully over it and was about to put out the lit matchstick. She carefully protected the flame with her long and artistic fingers till the breeze abated. Were those the very fingers that held the disgraceful cigarette? How could it be! As I wondered, she replied, "Too late Amma." That killed me.
Velakku* - The traditional diya one can find in an Iyer/Iyerngar's home.