Words: Baby, Cigarette, Kamal Haasan, Burp, Goddess, Disposable.
Neha says, "Decided to combine three words from 2 requests. Six words now. Just like that!"
She wondered if the Goddess had written Mylapore Maami on her forehead the minute she was born. At the age of sixty-four, she was too old to change her habits. Orthodox by default . In the years following the birth of their first child, she had become involved in housekeeping. The baby took much of the time. Her MA in Mathematics had landed her a good husband. The nice rational man wrote regular letters to The Hindu apropos of this and that, while she was pushed to the corner to become more traditional to balance the entire household.
Her husband however had become more religious since his retirement. It was this that annoyed her the most. Would their karmic equations be the same? What use of observing rituals from the age of twenty three onward, if a retired man was going to gather as many brownie points to enter heaven. He had decided to go on a sudden trip to Rameshwaram. Religion was so much fun for retired men she thought. She wanted to retire too. She took care of their grandchild instead. Everyone kept yapping about how much easier it was with disposable nappies and what not. You still have to wipe the shit off their bums she thought. She wanted to shave off her husband's moustache without his knowledge she thought, the only man who looks good with facial hair is Kamal Haasan.
She goes to the Pooja Room. She strikes a match and lights an incense stick. Nobody else was at home. She then took a cigarette out from behind the picture of Ganesha. The Lord of Good Beginnings. She lit the cigarette with the same match. The smell of incense would overpower nicotine. Besides, the heat in Madras burnt all odours. This strange habit had brought out all the skills of connivance wired into a Mylapore Maami. Going all the way to Pondy Bazaar, and demanding a pack of Wills Navy Cut every week from an always-puzzled shopkeeper.
That night, while serving her son and his wife Pepper Rasam, a burp found its way through her mouth. Her son looked at her with some sternness. She would have cried, but with every burp, she tasted a bit more of her afternoon cigarette. And grinned.