I was just randomly going through some unpublished writing for the sequel I'd planned to my first book 'Just Married, Please Excuse.' A book I refer to as 'Still Married, Thank You'. It turns out that the sequel to JMPE is actually going to be 'How I became a Farmer's Wife', out in January 2018. But I was amused and touched by this memory - of how Vijay connected with my grandfather 'Papa' who passed on a few years ago. He lived in the same colony as us, and I was very close to him. He was awesome. So is Vijay, of course.
The only activity that Vijay had recently undertaken which I was very happy about was the fact that he had started hanging out with my ninety-three year old grandfather Papa.
It so happened that he had started to run into Papa rather a lot ever since he had started taking Peanut out to the park – Papa was very regular with his walks, and would inevitably come up to them, and be delighted in equal measure to see Peanut and his favorite Grandson-in-law. Peanut would run up to him and he would hold his arms out to her – she would sidestep his hug and instead, proceed to swipe his walking stick. Papa was a very popular personality in Garden Greens and everybody seemed to know him. The little kids would come up and take his hand and walk along with him as if he was their great-grandpa – and this was the only thing that would cause Peanut to remember that she was the actual great-granddaughter and she would drop the walking stick on such occasions and run with alacrity to reclaim the hand that was rightfully hers to hold.
Vijay and Papa would end up spending time sitting on the bench, and Papa would regale Vijay with some of his shayari, and both of them enjoyed these exchanges, rather a lot – although the conversation on Vijay’s part was usually only ‘Wah, Papa, Wah.’ It was more than enough for Papa who didn’t find any one in our Family sufficiently interested in Urdu poetry to be able to appreciate his considerable knowledge of Ghalib, Faiz and the like. His hearing was failing him, so he wasn’t confident about his ability to carry on a conversation with most people beyond a point – with Vijay, he was comfortable and found great joy in his company
Vijay had announced to me the other day ‘I’m going for a movie tomorrow.’
‘What?’ I said ‘You know I have this major presentation day after, and we haven’t been for a movie together in like…ages. And I’ve not even been feeling well. And…’
‘I’m going while you’re in Office, Y.’ Vijay rolled his eyes. ‘And I’m taking Papa with me.’
‘Oh.’ I suddenly felt small ‘That’s nice. To jao, na. Maine kab mana kiya?’
Vijay had had the bright notion that Papa should experience what film-watching was like these days, in a PVR theater. The last time Papa had gone for a movie had perhaps been twenty years ago. After his initial resistance, Papa had agreed to this plan, and was apparently rather excited about the whole thing. I felt a little guilty that such a thought had never occurred to me. In fact, I was barely seeing anything of Papa since I was pregnant and sick and busy with my job. It was good that Vijay was looking out for him.
They had ended up going for a movie called Ishqiya – Vijay thought it was a great movie, and kept trying to tell Papa the storyline because he wasn’t able to catch all the dialogues. However, he confessed to me, it was very embarrassing because of the unusual degree profanity in that particular film. Especially because everybody laughed at some of the racier dialogues as they were delivered.
‘Papa kept asking me – what did he just say …at all the wrong dialogues. How could I tell him it was stuff like ‘Teri Ma ki Ch***?’ Eventually, to handle this, Vijay began to pretend to have suddenly developed a bit of hearing loss himself and fended off Papa’s curiosity with several variations of a breezy ‘Ha ha, Papa. Popcorn lenge?’
Stay tuned for much more of Vijay, coming up soon as he stars as himself in 'How I became a Farmer's Wife', HarperCollins, 2018.