Every Thing We Are is a coming of age novel where Samyukta aka Sam learns that every thing we are is not always on display. This is my first attempt at writing a novel. I started this project as part of #NaNoWriMo2020 before I fell off the wagon. Hope you will read along as I get back to writing it. All episodes of this series are available on the ETWA page. Subscribe to my writing here.
“Good morning Mani anna! Let me get you some coffee”, Sreeja said, unable to contain her appreciation for the Universe. Help had arrived.
Mani was not a diffident man. Diving right in, he proclaimed to her husband with enthusiasm, “Vineeth, I am telling you. There is no need to worry”. He did not bother explaining how he had heard the news or what he was referring to. Sreeja could not have asked for a better morning.
“We can cure her. Have faith. Give me a couple of days. Once this upcoming eclipse is over, I will find an auspicious time to speak to my guruji”, he said, turning his eyes up to the ceiling in reverence, at the mere mention of his guruji’s name.
“But how can the guruji help?” Vineeth was not sure.
When Sreeja handed him his coffee, Mani was saying, “…the operative word here is to believe that guruji can help. What he offers is a way of life. It’s not a pill that we swallow that sets our life right. In his philosophy, a solution exists for all of our problems. All we need to do is to find it. And when we are unable to find it, he nudges us towards it.” Mani took a long pause to savour his coffee.
A godman who could fix Ammu would be just the medicine the doctor ordered.
“A genius like guruji could have owned the world if he so wished. But here he is among us, helping us live our measly lives by solving our mortal problems. That for me is the greatest proof that he is not a fraud. I think of myself as a rational man. I am not going to fall for a swami type who makes the blind see or the mute speak. I have read most of his works. And I think the way of life he suggests could be one of the ways to live a successful life.” Try as he may to make his coffee last, Mani was unsuccessful. Finally, he returned the empty cup to Sreeja.
“Anyway, I will get back to you as soon as I get in touch with him. Again, don’t worry!” he laughed a hearty Santa Claus laugh as he headed out of the house.
Vineeth shook his head in agreement. A godman who could fix Ammu would be just the medicine the doctor ordered. With lifted spirits he headed to his room to get ready for his workday.
Unfortunately, the hope that Mani had instilled in him did not last very long. Barely a day or two had passed before Vineeth found himself deflated. He decided to speak to his mother about the prashnam looming large over his life.
He found her on the balcony, engrossed in a book, “Amma, I wanted to talk to you about Ammu. She has got into some bad company.”
“What kind of bad company?” Indira was the queen of downplaying her intelligence.
“It’s a small prashnam. Nothing that can’t be fixed”, he tried to evade her question.
“But what is this prashnam?” She was a dog with a bone.
“Amma, what have I not done for her? I’ve pampered her too much I think”, he was pouring his heart out. But she was eyeing the finish line. “That’s what you are expected to do as a parent”, she prodded him.
“To pamper her?”
“No, to help her deal with the prashnam”, she said with a hint of a smile. She had flipped that conversation like a masterchef. And just like that it was Vineeth who was being questioned.
“So this prashnam, do you think it’s a prashnam or does she?” she began.
“She doesn’t know what she’s doing, Amma.” Vineeth was flying blind.
“If she doesn’t know, then how do you know?” Indira was being deliberately obtuse.
“You know what I mean, she doesn’t understand that, what she is doing, is wrong”, he clarified.
“But what is she doing?” relentless should have been her middle name.
“How do I tell you, Amma?”, said Vineeth looking for a way out of this conversation.
Sadly there was none. “If you can’t even tell me, how will you help her deal with it?” Indira was gutting him mercilessly.
“Hmmm, she likes girls, Amma”, he recoiled from the sound of his own voice as he said it out loud for the first time.
“Is that all? Actually, girls are easier to like. They are much more sorted than boys”, Indira laughed silently.
“That’s not what I mean Amma. She likes girls. She has been spending time with a girl. My accountant, Vaithi sir, saw her kissing a girl the other day.” Vineeth was now questioning his decision to talk to his mother.
“Oh!” Indira fell silent. “Hmm…kissing a boy would have been worse, no? Or is it easier to explain away kissing a girl? Who knows!” she said to no one in particular after a long pause.
“Anyway, how are you going to deal with it?” she was doing her thing again. Her thing where she blows hot and blows cold before putting him on the spot.
“I don’t know yet. But I was thinking we should do a pooja…a ganapathi homam perhaps…to save us from whatever this kashtakaalam is”, said Vineeth hoping his bad fortune could be banished with a ritual.
“Aaanh…”, she said producing a sound that could mean either agreement or disagreement based on the listener’s temperament. “It is pointless to waste money on indoor fires, coloured powders and overpriced snacks. But if you must do it for your peace of mind…”
“I am too old for these things anyway. I have one foot in the grave already. Do what you think is best. I think I will lie down now”, she said ending the conversation in one deft move.
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