She is not quite sure how to indicate that she is following the conversation. If you can call it a conversation, that is. Srikanthan has been talking about his research for the last 23 minutes and at first, she was able to keep up with it. But once he got into the finer detail of oncology, he lost her. Plus, his very thick American accent just made everything he said that much harder for Padmaja to understand.
However, this much she knew. He had been married to a fellow interventional radiologist Babs (Barbara) for 32 years and they had two children. Following an indiscretion on his part, they had separated nearly four years ago. He is very close to getting his decree nisi. He was in India on a sabbatical and that was when her advertisement caught his eye.
He is still talking about the cutting edge technological advancements in cancer research when it occurs to her that she really did not want him in her house. The thought makes her jump.
“Are you okay?”, asks Srikanthan as he caught her twitching wrist.
“Yes, yes, thank you”, she manages as she wriggles out of his grasp. “I just realised I have to pick up my grand-daughter from school this afternoon and it is very nearly time.”
“Why, you should have told me about it earlier. Can't someone else pick her up?”
“I completely forgot. I'm so sorry.”, says Padmaja unapologetically.
“I was just getting warmed up, I wanted to tell you more about my plans for the next academic year. Shall I come back later? I'm free tomorrow.”
“I have some work to do at the bank tomorrow and day-after it's my daughter's wedding anniversary. Friday is Navami. Why don't I give you a call and we can take it from there?”
Her assertiveness surprises her.
“How about Saturday then?”, he persists.
“I am busy with something, I can't remember what. I have to rush now otherwise I will be late.”
She shuts the door behind him and goes in to make herself a strong coffee. Her head is throbbing.