Family...A Lockdown Story
Family...A Lockdown Story
Prabhas was up early. He got up from his bed and looked at the front wall clock- It was 5 am.
"The boy should be there any minute," he thought to himself.
Prabhas outstretched his hands and legs and shook his body like a butterfly to bring them to life. He went to the other side of bed and looked at his wife's face.
Rama, his wife, was still sleeping. He looked at her face for quite some time. "Oh my!" he thought to himself, "She is getting prettier with every passing year." He bent down towards her face and gave a fleeting kiss on her left cheek, trying not to wake her up.
Usually he would prepare his own tea soon after he wakes up. But now he couldn't. Rama had strictly told him not to enter the kitchen these days. She said it doesn't look good to do so in front of his son and daughter-in-law. He couldn't refuse her wife's plea.
His son and his son's wife had been staying there with them ever since the lockdown happened due to the pandemic. They were both working in different private companies in Hyderabad. But now they are working from home staying with family.
Prabhas went out of the room as silently as he could, halted for a brief second outside the gate of his son's room, took a deep breath, exhaled it out, and moved away towards the stairs.
As he began climbing the stairs one by one, his mind wandered to the previous day conversation with his wife- "Five years Rama! Five years! And they never ever invited us to live with them. Not even to visit them for a day. Whenever we came up with a plan, he had always made some excuse. And even now when they are here, I hardly see them out of their rooms. They keep on pretending to work the entire day and night. Only when they have to eat or complain about how pathetically we live here, I see them."
Prabhas wasn't happy from the beginning with the idea of his son and his son's wife coming here to stay during lockdown. He didn't care much. But he knew it would be a lot of work for Rama, both physically and mentally. And work is the least she needed to do right now, at such an age.
He was a retired mathematics professor living off his pension. And being free, he would help his wife in pretty much everything he could. He had arranged for maids for cleaning and washing and other such daily chores. But due to lockdown none of them were coming. So it's too much work for her.
As he climbed the last step to finally reach out on terrace, he wished that their almighty companies call them soon, before it's too late.
Prabhas took a deep breath of fresh air, letting go of his stress for the moment. He looked around at the connected roof of the boy's house, and searched for the boy. He didn't see him.
Prabhas went closer to the boundary connecting their homes. The boy wasn't there. But there was something else placed upon it: A fat book of mathematics, a notebook, and nearby it placed was his favorite thing - 'A cup of tea'.
That was the deal he had made with the boy- 'To teach him mathematics daily early morning, for a fresh cup of tea.'
His lips curled in a weird expression of a wrinkled smile.
Prabhas sat down on the boundary, took the cup of tea in hands, and brought it close to his lips.
"The boy should be here any minute now!" he said to himself.