Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Anniversary "gift"

Home. 5.30 PM. On the couch as usual. Don comes in.

Me: You are early today.

Don: Yeah, your mom asked me to come early. Why aren't you ready yet?

Me: We are going somewhere?

Don: Your mom said we are. Go get ready now.

Me: But where are we going?

Don: I don't know ma. Ask amma.

Me: Some temple kya?

Don: No, No. That your mom has given up on, I think. Though you know this is a temple of sorts. Atleast in this state.

Me: I should have known. Amma!

Amma: Enna? Go get ready now.

Me: To go where?

Amma: Appa didn't tell you?

Me: Why would he? It wasn't his idea.

Amma: What wasn't his idea? He was only saying that we will get something for the anniversary.

Me: Yeah, he did. So he went to market and got me neymeen in the morning na?

Amma: No, no, we want to get you something that will remind us of the day.

Me: Well then, come, lets take a picture.

Amma: No ma. We have to get you something.

Me: Ok, lets get a book or better still, you give me the money.

Amma: Why? So that you can spend it all on some junket?

Me: Its better than spending it in gold that is going to be locked up for ever.

Amma: Who said anything about gold?

Me: My mom's seeing sense. Yipee! We are going out to dinner then? Excellent!

Amma: We are indeed going out to dinner. But we will take a short detour.

Me: But you said no gold!

Amma: There's ruby, there's sapphire and there's always diamonds.

Me: Yikes! I am not going anywhere.

Amma: Come na kaanama. Who knows where you are going to be next year? This year you are here and we will get you something.

Me: Oh so its my fault for being here. Ok, I will book my ticket and go away tomorrow. Then you can go to jewelry store and buy all the jewelry you want.

Amma: Muruga, why should be my daughter behave like this? What paapam have I done?

Don: You expect Karthikeyan to come down from up above now and work with you both on a compromise? I feel sorry for him. But then again, I have done this for more than 25 years, let him take over now.

Amma: Its all a joke for you! Both of you do what you want. No one cares about me in this household.

In an attempt to control the damage of our local Brahmaputra flood, I decide to go along and soon Don, Amma and I are at big, evil jewelry store. The masterplan is to spend a lot of time looking at different things until the store is about to close and then finally decide that I don't like anything that much. The plan seems to be working and an hour later three thin gold chains, one diamond pendant, one gold necklace (antique style) are all set aside so that we can decide on one later, and we are looking at some long, blue and gold necklaces. Rrnng.

Me: Hello?

Kid: Hey, happy anniversary and whatever.

Me: Ok, ok. When did you come back from London?

Kid: Yesterday evening.

Me: So you liked the place?

Amma is looking at some jade and gold necklace and whispering to Don.

Kid: Oh yes. It was awesome. Spent a lot of time walking. Got caught by cops for randomly walking around late at night.

Me: Hmm..So when are you moving to London? And you know, paying our rent?

Kid: What?! We will see about that.

Amma is holding the blue and gold necklace and talking to friendly salesperson now. Don looks a little dazed.

Me: Hey, hang on. Amma, you want me to try that kya?

Amma: No no. You talk. Take your time.

Me: Ok. So hey, I was saying that you should move and pay our rent as your brother doesn't make any money

Kid: Well, you married him. Your problem.

Me: True enough. So what else did you do there?

Kid: So I caught a play at the West End. Pretty impressive. Globe season was over. So couldn't do that.

By now, all possible buys are in one place and Amma is fingering each of them and talking diligently to salesperson.

Me: Oh thats sad. So you tried all different cuisines?

Kid: Yeah man, ate everything possible I guess. Sushi and Moroccan and Lebanese and Ethiopian and hajjar Thai and Vietnamese.

Me: Good good.

Kid: Liked all other places but Canary Wharf is awesome man. Out of the world stuff.

Me: But as your brother will say, it has no soul!

Kid: He says that? Guess that's typical.

Me: Yeah

Jewelry and salesperson have disappeared. Amma and Don have settled down on a couch and are having coffee. Don looks a little sick. He is staring at me.

Me: Appa, you alright?

Amma: Yeah, he is fine. The coffee doesn't go with him. He is a tea drinker na?

Me: Ok. So what were we saying?

Kid: Hey, I went to Cambridge too.

Me: Why?

Kid: To meet some school friend of mine.

Me: Was it nice and stuff?

Kid: Yeah but my friend said that this place dada's supposed to go to na, she said its like 40 minutes on bike from the station! Does he know about this?

Me: Better don't tell him. This friend of yours, is she like you or what?

Kid: What do you mean?

Me: Like you know does she sleep till 2 in the afternoon every day?

Kid: What? Why?

Salesperson is coming back. Looks jubilant.

Me: Well, most people say its like a 17 minute bike trip from the station. If she's like you though, she will probably fall asleep on the way and take 40 minutes!

Kid: Yeah yeah.

Salesperson hands something to mom which suspiciously looks like a bill. Oh my God!

Me: Hey hey I gotta go now. I will talk to you later ok?

Kid: Ok.

Me: Whats going on here? Whats that?

Amma: Nothing ma. So we decided to get the diamond pendant, and the blue and gold necklace. Did you want something else also?

Me: What?

Amma: You liked them na?

Me: Well, No.

Amma: Here we go again!

Me: You said Yes to this?

Don: Whatever you want ma.

Me: I want nothing ok?

Amma: Don't be stupid. He has the bill made out now.

Me: Excuse me? You call than an excuse? Hello? Whats wrong with you?

Amma: The question is whats wrong with you!

So it went on. Don finally brokered the deal and we didn't buy the diamond pendant. But now, I have become the "proud" owner of a blue and gold necklace that I will probably wear twice in my lifetime.


Anoop said...

In my family we do such things swiftly with no drama. This Feb in Lucknow I was chilling at home when my dad said perhaps I should wear a gold chain. I said sure, why not. He quickly slipped a gold chain with a tiny Ganesha locket on my neck. Didn't even have to shop! I have been wearing it proudly ever since. :)

Falstaff said...

The only way to do the walk into a store walk out with nothing bit is by being unrelentingly critical of everything you're shown. The slightest sign of interest in anything the salesman shows you and you're sunk. Providing detailed disparaging comments on everything you're shown works though: a) it passes the time b) no one can accuse you of not being engaged / not paying attention c) you can get really creative in pointing out flaws.