Vijay has been in Bombay for the week, and not very happy to be away from Peanut and me. Oh, all right, who am I kidding. From Peanut.
However, when I called him three days back, he sounded rather cheerful. It was ten thirty at night and I immediately recognized the symptoms.
Y:So, you're drinking, aren't you?
Vijay (after a stunned pause, during which I presume he is bewilderedly looking around for the hidden camera) : ...yyyess....
(A moment of silence. Vijay is processing the fact that I can always tell when he is drinking or smoking, just by hearing his voice on the phone)
Vijay: How do you always know?
Y: I just do. I guess I know you too well. Impressive, isn't it.
Vijay: Can you please stop? It is scary!
Y: Fine, fine. Just try and sleep early, okay? Am turning in myself now, am really tired.
At twelve thirty p.m., I receive an SMS from Vijay informing me that they have started showing DD's comedy show in Hindi on some channel called Jetix, and the entire comedy is ruined by the bad dubbing. I sigh and go back to sleep, hoping this is the last of the madness caused by the drink.
Alas, it is not to be.
The next morning, Vijay is all sober but coy on the phone.
Vijay: I bought something for you...Don't scold me... I think you'll like it.
Y: Eh? What did you buy since last night?
Vijay: Well, I was watching TV at a quarter to two...and I saw this ad...
Y: (Blood runs cold) You bought something from the Teleshopping network?
Vijay: Yes...No....Something like that....I had to buy it! I just had to!
Y: (Steeling herself) You bought something from the Teleshopping network when you were drunk??
Vijay: Yes...no, I was not drunk, honey...it is very nice...I think...I had to buy it because they said the offer was only on till 2 a.m. - I had to make a quick decision...there were only fifteen minutes left.
Y: (Dangerously) Vijay. What have you done?
Vijay: It's not like that. You will like it.
Y: What is it?
Vijay: (Trying to act cute, in a singsong voice) It's a surprise! You will get it in a day or two...
Y: (Scariest voice she can muster) What is it?
Vijay: Oh, all right. It's a 40 CD collection ...of Mozart!
Y: A what?
Vijay: Honey, I thought you'll like it. You like music. You like Mozart!
Y: I like Mozart? Where did you gather that? I don't listen to Mozart. I have never listened to Mozart!!
Vijay: (Pleadingly) But you liked the movie Amadeus...that was about Mozart...
Y: (Deep breathing to calm herself) How much did you spend?
Vijay: (Small voice) 4000 rupees only.
Y: (shocked) That's a lot of money. Why would you spend that much on something like this?
Vijay: (Voice getting louder) It is only 100 rupees a CD. I thought it was a steal.
Y: ..But...But...(Despairingly) Who listens to Mozart, Vijay?!
Vijay: We will, honey...we will...I thought it'll be good for Peanut also to listen to this kind of music, na...you wait and see...
(End of conversation, after a few more minutes in the same vein)
So anyway, the 40 CD set arrived today. I opened the box grouchily and took out the CDs, staring at them malevolently. Over the course of the day, I softened and decided that although it was a silly impulse purchase, it was very sweet of him, and maybe I would actually enjoy the music.
I was determined to thank Vijay for his thoughtfulness when he arrived in Delhi in the night.
And I would have, too - if my mother hadn't come home from office, taken one look at the CDs and asked 'Hey, who took those out of the cupboard?'
Oh, yes. It turns out that my mother has the exact same collection at home, recently gifted to her by a friend. The same thing. Brand new, unopened and un-listened to.
Vijay should be arriving home anytime now. So, got to go.
For a guy who likes only Hindi music - who bursts into a tuneless but heartfelt rendition of 'Pyaar hume kiss mod pe le aaya' everytime he has one drink too many -a fitting punishment is waiting.
He will be listening to all 40 CDs over the weekend.