It was yet another day in Mr.Vikranthan’s life.Early morning suprabatham,small talk with his wife over a cup of coffee,newspaper,morning walk.The rest of the day somehow seemed to pass rather insignificantly,though his mornings were quite pleasant.
Ones he could look forward to.
Except for one thought which constantly ran through his mind and made him feel guilty and worthless all the time.A thought that refused to stay in his mind and yet was too painful to be spoken out aloud.
‘How would she react if I told her…’,he wondered.30 years of marriage,30 years of bliss,30 years of a secret.
Sometimes,he thought if it was that big a deal.Just a little quirk in his character,but he knew it was more than a quirk.He thought about it everyday and it made him feel extremely disgusted with himself.
‘How would she react if she knew that every word I spoke to her was rehearsed in front of a mirror atleast 2 times?”
Not just what he spoke to her,though.He had always practised his dialogues.Even the ones he spoke to his barber.And since the birth of his grandson,he had been having one more set of dialogues to practise each morning.And that’s why people had always called him a little weird.
For his silences were always awkward.
And his speech was always stilted.
In spite of all the practice.
He’d tried everything to break the habit,of no avail.Ah,what would he not do for one spontaneous expression of the thought in his mind!It was almost as if the idea in his head,starting out as a fresh clear tender thing,lost its way somewhere in the dark alleys of practice and hardened thought.If only could someone could save his pristine idea from getting lost,if only he didn’t have to practise his lines..
Sometimes,he wondered if life was really a play with him being more of an actor than the others.For none of his dialogues had ever been his own,from the warmth of his heart.Not to say he didn’t feel.He never could express himself.
He walked out onto the veranda to watch the afternoon sun.His grandson would be home any moment from school.He would be his baby-sitter till his parents came back home.He waited patiently,his lines were ready-
Hi Pichoo..how was school?
Let’s go inside,it’s hot here.Grandma will give something to eat.
Do you have homework?
I will help you with the maths sums.
Okay now go play.
Ready to meet his grandson for what would be an ordinary event in life,almost mundane,he waited.
Suddenly he felt dizzy and sweaty,he could identify symptoms of a stroke-he’d read so much about the topic that he almost felt like a cardiologist himself.
Pichoo barged in through the gate right then,screaming for his grandfather.
Vikranthan was down in a swoon,when Pichoo ran upto him,hugging him,
Thatha,I wrote an essay on you in school today,’The Family member you like the most and why’..he said,his eyes gleaming.
His thatha’s eyes opened slightly to look at his grandson,Looks just like our Vinu when he was his age..,he thought.
His wife was now bent over his face,worried and teary.He looked at her ,smiled and said,”Looks just like his father,my grandson..”
The last and the only unrehearsed line of his life.
As his wife’s tears made his shirt wet,Pichoo found something in his thatha’s shirt pocket.
The last dialogues of his thatha’s life.
Always the actor who knew his lines by-heart.