We’ve gone from being woken up by the rays of sun, to being woken up by the shrill ring of that darn alarm clock to the pleasant but snooze-able tone of one of those mobile phone alarm applications. They call it progress. Whatever.
I was somewhere in the hinterlands of my dream, happily under my blanket when I heard that sweet tone. At first I said to myself, that would be the mobile phone of my angelic princess who was riding pillion behind me on my white horse somewhere in a grassy and romantic savannah. When the ringing continued even after my princess attended the phone, the reasoning cells of my brain kicked into action and told me, “Idiot, there is no princess and no horse. That entire thing is a dream. And the so called sweet tone is your phone ringing beside your bed.”
With reasoning notching up her triumph over imagination, I open my eyes in slow motion and glance at the screen of my phone. The smiling face of my mother shows up on that. No doubt, all mothers are awesome and beautiful, and so is my mother. But she, like all mothers, seems to take a divine pleasure in waking me up when I am sound asleep and want that to continue forever. At the rate of angering the purists let me say that a mother looks lot less beautiful when she wakes me up when I so do not want to be waken up. Same logic applies when she forces me to go to bed when I want to watch TV for another hour.
With a great deal of reluctance, I take the call. With an even greater effort, I mumble the customary “Hello”. As if the floodgates have opened, she launches into her tirade. “You haven’t woken up yet? It is eight in the morning; the sun has been up for two hours. Hostel life has really spoiled your habits and it will spoil your health as well. Wake up and head to the gym. I told you to go to the gym every day at 7 in the morning.”
Okay okay. I know I had told that to her. Who the hell invented new year resolutions? And who on earth injected this idea into my mind to start going to gym from January 2 of the new year (Justifiably, January 1 is reserved for waking up late with a hangover. So I had decided that January 2 would be the D day). Hmm, half asleep me listens to the tirade from the other end. Somewhere in the middle of the tirade it starts sounding like a lullaby and before you know you are gently being guided to a pleasant sleep again courtesy the angry mother. Just when you think that you’ve conned her into believing you are listening with rapt attention word by word, she realizes the folly and notches up the volume a note higher. I swear that even if I were to mute my phone at that instant, I would still have heard her voice!
And so her relentless tirade spur me to action. I sit up in bed, my eyelids fighting against me when I try to open them. It is day sixteen of the new year and I had started regretting my new year resolution a week ago. While I’m trying to get my bearings, she is tirelessly giving sermons one after the other about the importance of dhann coming after thann and mann and so on. She quotes the “inspirational” stories about that aunty’s son who lost fifteen kilos in two months’ span courtesy some regular and systematic gym visits. About how everyone in family was staring at me and telling her that her beta is munching lots of junk food and becoming increasingly fat day by day, month by month. Uff Amma, I’ve already heard all these stories a hundred times. Can you please tell something else?
Mothers have a divine sense of measuring the pulse at the other end of a phone line. As soon as she senses that I’m slipping off again, she spawns a new thread of conversation. “Arre, do you know, I met our old Ayurvedic doctor the other day in market. You know, the one who we used to take you to when you were a kid and you used to fall ill so often?” Of course, I remember him. I was way too inexperienced then to know what was going on when I was in primary school but now that I’ve seen a little more of the world, I know that he is no doctor like he claims himself to be. All he does is boil some leaves and make a concoction and serve it to every Tom, Dick and Harry who come in for “consultation” as an all curing elixir. Hell, I’m reasonably certain half of my maladies have their root cause from some ingredient he mixed in when he was brewing his concoction but lack of scientific proof and refusal of my mother to believe scientific logic together prove it impossible for me to indict the “doctor”, at least in front of her. “So doctor ji told”, on she went, “that if you can have goat’s milk first thing in the morning after exercise that would be good for your body. Is there a place where you can get goat’s milk in the morning beta?” My hands involuntarily make way to my own head. I wish my mother could see my facepalm expression, but alas she cannot, on the other end of a voice call. I try to reason with her, “Amma I’m living in a metropolitan city and that too in an area that has a lot of software companies. This is not village where I can go and pick up fresh goat milk everyday in the morning” Quick is the reply, “What do you mean? No one in the city has goats? No one sells goat milk in city? Don’t lecture me about goat milk, I’ve seen the world enough to see through your lies!”
All the while when she’s on phone, I gargle some mouth wash. Brushing is an elaborate ritual, who’ll bother to do it? One mouth wash and couple of Tic Tacs should convince others around me that I’ve done due diligence on the brushing front. With reluctance, I search out some clean underwear (or what I think is clean enough) from among a scattered pile of washed and unwashed clothes and put on my track pants. My mother is still on the other end of the phone, all this while dropping pearls of wisdom every now and then. A lot of which sieve through my very porous and currently dysfunctional brain. At last before I step out of my apartment to head to the gym, I survey my bedroom and I find an empty bed with the blanket. Suddenly, out of nowhere the dysfunctional part of my brain decides to harbor the Satan. I tell my mother on phone, “Okay Amma, I’m heading out. I’ll talk to you later.” A contended mother who believes she has been successful in persuading her son to get up and go to gym, happily hangs up the phone wishing me a good day. And me, the evil me, decides that an incomplete sleep is more harmful to my health than skipping gym today.
And so, I jump back into the bed, pull the blanket over my head. A few more minutes, I say to myself. I’ll sleep for 20 more minutes; I’ll wake up and straight head to the gym. Just 20 more minutes that’s it. So what I thought like this yesterday and missed gym because I didn’t wake up in the designated 20 minutes? So what if the same thing had happened the day before? I’ll sleep early tonight so that I can wake up this time tomorrow. Oh wait, did I intend to do that yesterday too? Aah hell, who cares. For now, let me go back to my sacerdotal crime under the blanket. The princess and the unicorn are waiting for me. Wait, was it a unicorn or a horse?