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A quick tale 83

Some day, some time

‘You never know when we’ll need it. Don’t throw it away’, said the mother.
‘When would you ever need an old umbrella held together by a string and safety pins?’, asked her young daughter who had launched herself into cleaning their home on a Sunday morning.
‘What if we had a sudden downpour?’
‘Amma, we’ve not had seasonal rains in three years. Forget sudden downpours.’
‘But what if it rained suddenly and I had to go out to buy some food?’
‘We’d just order food by telephone’
‘But what if the rains brought down a big tree and it fell on our telephone lines and our telephones went dead?’
‘Then we’d just borrow some from our neighbours’
‘But what if they had run out of food and cannot spare us any?’
‘Then we’d just get wet going out to buy some food. Now throw away the umbrella, will you?’

The mother nodded but put it away behind her sarees in the cupboard. So when it did rain one unusual March morning and there was nothing left in the fridge and the neighbours were away on holiday, she went out to the market. The tattered old umbrella tucked under her arm.


fieryblaster said…
carrying a tattered umbrella on a rainy day. does it serve the purpose?:)
WA said…
Experience tells me that I never remember where I stored the damn thing and I end up getting wet anyway:(
RT said…
Always good to 'save it for the rainy day'..:-)
Dubukku said…
same as WA. Stored umberlas are equivalent to lost or useless. Wud find them only when searching for my trainers in Summer!
Anonymous said…
hahaha, i was just planning to tell my mom to throw away many such 'old umbrella' thingeys... maybe now i shouldnt ;)
Madhu Sundar said…
I don't read the tamil magazines because I can't. but this is a good one. Can't argue either way. Will have their way, either way, anyway.

i don't know about you, but I am told southies esp. brahmin households do not throw away anything. Now that's what attics are for, right?

ahiri said…
This one and the two after it , made me want to stand up and clap after reading it !
tilotamma said…
sounds like my mother-in-law
Eroteme said…
Such a beautifully captured emotion... Very nice, Ammani. I could really imagine the lady nodding her head and stealthily tucking away the umbrella with her tongue sticking out a bit... Nice, really nice.
Sneha Acharya said…
True .. So this happens in every house :))

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Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
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6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”

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Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.


Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

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