This is the unedited piece I wrote for a women's supplement.
I’m sorry, I have to take Mr G’s call. I’ll talk to you later,” P cut short our chat.
One Sunday, P splashed some water on his face to wash away the signs of the afternoon siesta and took to the wheels. He was to drive Mr and Mrs G to Mumbai.
A few months later, he went to pick up Mr and Mrs G’s daughter from the airport.
The Gs were always a priority with my husband. And, when I met them a few months later, I realised why.
A weary-looking Mr G opened the door and on seeing us, his eyes sparkled behind his lenses and he burst into a wide smile.
His thin, bony hands pulled us into the living room where a disheveled Mrs G was sitting.
“Arrre tu...” (Oh! It’s you!) she smiled at my husband.
Mr G exhaled a sigh of relief and nodding in P’s direction, said, “It’s a good sign that she recognises you.”
“Aani..hi kon? (Who’s this?)”, she asked looking at me.
“She’s my wife,” P answered.
“Chhan (Nice)”, she remarked.
Meanwhile, Mr G had made lemonade, cut some fruits and offered to us.
After sipping some lemonade and coaxing Mr G to get her some chatpata stuff, Mrs G offered to show me around their flat.
Antique furniture dotted the three-bedroom flat, walls were covered with paintings and folk art.
“Lovely,” I remarked.
Mrs G smiled and said, “This painting was done by my daughter Urr...Urmila. She stays at...”
Mrs G suddenly looked very helpless. As if trying to make sense of the sudden bolts of comprehension playing hide and seek in her mind.
Mr G, and P, who had followed us in the bedroom, mock-scolded his wife, “Aga ashi kashi visartes tu? He kay visraycha asta ka?” (Trust you to forget such details. Not done)
“Urmi stays in Bangalore,” this was for me.
Mrs G then turned to go to the living room, while Mr G smiled genially in my direction. I couldn’t help noticing his over-bright eyes, brimming with unshed tears.
In the living room, Mrs G smiled at P and asked, “When did you come? And, who is this girl?”
Before he could reply, she exclaimed, “She’s wearing mangalsutra. Are you married?”
Her next sentence was an instruction to Mr G, “Get me haldi-kunku. She has come home for the first time.”
When he got her the haldi-kunku, she asked him, “Why have you got this?”
I answered her by touching her feet and asked for blessings.
“I'm P’s wife. You didn’t come for the wedding, so we have come to meet you.”
“Oh! Mr G, you forgot about the invite. Now let me welcome the new bride,” she smiled, smoothing down the pleats of her sari.
When we took their leave, Mr and Mrs G smiled and said, “PunhaYa (Come again).”
We try and meet them once a month and on every occasion, I am introduced and welcomed as a new bride.
You see, Mrs G suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.