Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thankam

After my last post, I had hoped to write something more cheerful. Of course, I had also hoped to blog sooner than I eventually have. But this one is sad too.

She used to make us the most amazing idlis. With this awesome chutney which would just drape itself all over the idlis and the shining stainless steel boxes in which she carried them to the office. And all of us would descend on the box, devouring huge quantities and licking it clean before washing it and handing it back with a big smile, already asking for the next installment. When I had stayed long enough in the company and she thought I was important enough, I would sometimes get an entire box to myself.

Her spellings were terrible, and when she typed letters on our behalf we had to be careful to avoid hilarious bloopers. The day we received emails from TS full of spelling mistakes, we knew she was filling in for his regular secretary, and would call her to warn her before he realized his carefully dictated mails were full of embarrassing errors.


She had a clear plan for the future. Her only child was 25. She and her husband would arrange his wedding, and then move back from Delhi to Kerala and live a retired life.

This was 3 years ago. She came for my wedding. I left Delhi, but very occasionally I would call and speak to her. We spoke after TS passed away. And now I heard that she lost her husband all of a sudden. They still hadn’t moved back to Kerala. They still haven’t married off their son.

At a time in my life when I am anticipating with excitement our return to India from Dubai, a home of our own in Bombay, and a new set-up in a familiar city, I wonder how it feels when dreams are denied. Not deferred, but lost forever because the other half dreaming them with you is gone. I’m waiting for Thankam to return to Delhi so that I can call her. But I don’t know what to say.

Update: I found out later that Thankam's son had got married earlier this year and her husband was well and present at the wedding. I also got around to calling her. And after a little awkwardness and consoling, she turned the tables on me in Thankam fashion, reminding me I'd been married almost 3 years now, where was the "good news" and listed all the others who were ahead of me in that race! The conversation ended with laughter, and that's the best way, always, to hang up!

8 comments:

eve's lungs said...

Words have no meaning at times, actually. Just a hug helps , if you were to meet her .

OrangeJammies said...

Maybe just a familiar voice over the line will help. Just yesterday, I spoke to the Boy's mother about the uncertainty that is life. It felt strange, because in this particular matter, I seem to be the wiser of the two of us.
Looking forward to your return to our city.

A very cool cat said...

This post reflects my thoughts exactly, Anamika. Was talking about Tanky just this morning with Vinny - and yes, I want to call her too, but I don't know what to say. My distance makes it worse - can I do something to help sounds so meaningless when it comes from another city, when I know I can't be by her side even if she wanted me to be.

And I was telling K about the Monday morning idlis just a couple of days ago. Her son's so ill too - although Vinny told me he had got married? I've been feeling upset and asking that same lame question of no one in particular - why do bad things happen to good people?

SBora said...

life happens....
very sorry to hear about her.
your call will provide the much needed solace in these difficult times.

Thinking Cramps said...

Eve's Lungs: I agree, though I don't know when that will be.

OJ: Thanks, and yes, looking forward to being back in Bombay.

Pro: I knew all us idli-eaters would remember the same thing! Yes, I heard later that their son got married already - my mistake. I guess we must at least call to remind her that she is in our thoughts.

Suku: Thanks.

Anamika said...

Its really sad, this feeling of helplessness. Hope you feel better soon and hope those vibes people always talk about really exist and reach her from all of you who are thinking about her.
Btw, good to see you back.

Aunty G said...

But of COURSE, TC, you must call
Say how special she was to you all
Your words will flow
And she'll feel the glow
The warmth of the good times you'll both recall!

Thinking Cramps said...

Anamika: Thanks, some of my collegaues met her and said she is being very strong.

Aunty G: Yes you are right. I hear she's back in town and I plan to call her very soon. Thanks.