|I can manage just 2...|
Come sit down here, cajoled Mani to his wife of 40 years. Ramya sat down. “See we have a day in hand and then we have these 3 places that we can go and visit. But let me tell you honestly, we can afford to do only 2 of it. The entry to all the three places is steep and I can manage just 2. ‘’
“Let’s skip the Casino…we anyways can’t even hold cards in our hands, “laughed Ramya . Is that okay with you dear? I wanted to see the casino but did not want to disappoint the elderly couple.
No problem Akka, I and Bhaskar will go there later in the day.
Ok…done said Mani and they both looked at me. I managed to give them a pleasant smile.
I, Bhaskar, Ramya and Mani lived in Shyamdhan Nivas in a quiet alley in the bustling city of Mumbai. Bhaskar had been born and brought up in the locality we lived. I had moved to this locality when I was just 6 years old, grew up here and have not moved out of the alley since then.
Mani and Ramya were at least two decades senior to us but they were my ideal couple. Both of them would take extreme care of each other’s needs and at most times would be in ideal tandem with each other about various issues affecting their personal as well as social lives.
Bhaskar and I hardly had any age difference, three months to be precise and we always argued on everything under the sun. Yet, we four formed an impressionable team when it came to going out on vacations or planning any outings. Earlier, the children had a choice to make but these days they had their own things to do, so it was just the four of us.
“Malini and Ishma will be coming down later this year. I haven’t seen Ishma’s younger one in person and am waiting eagerly for them to come down this December. Once they are here, we won’t be able to move anywhere for a long time. Wanted to check if you guys want to plan a quick trip to Goa.” Ramya had knocked on our door one evening with this proposal.
Bhaskar shifted through his scheduler and said, “Akka I will manage…we can come….but can you ask Mani to make all the arrangements, I am too tied up for the next few days”
I loved Goa. Had been there umpteen times. Felt excited but felt distraught for a moment. Bhaskar did not even bother to look in my direction before deciding to reply. Did he just assume, I wanted to go too? Just like it’s been done for the rest of my life, my opinion did not matter. Anyways as usual I brushed aside my disappointment and started preparing for the trip.
Good of Mani to plan this trip. This way I won’t be nagged for another six months for not taking you out anywhere. Bhaskar had the usual twinkle in his eye.
Me and nag? I didn’t utter a word.
That’s how the four of us were in Goa. We were discussing the plans for the day seated in the lobby of the hotel. Bhaskar had opted out saying he had to attend to an urgent concall. I did not want to start an argument and this was nothing new. Sometimes I wondered if he preferred Mani’s and Ramya’s company because they always became my companions on such trips and Bhaskar would be stuck onto his laptops and cellphone.
Don’t you want to see this new place and have fun? I had once asked when on a trip to Singapore.
I have come here umpteen times on official trips….the place no
more excites me…you go and have fun with Akka and
Mani. I will see you at the south indian restaurant down the street later in
|The place no more excites me!|
His excuses and answers were always ready. And I no longer bothered to ask. The feat was repeated in Goa too.
Hey Sweetheart...where are you lost?? Aren't you coming with us? Forget Bhaskar for the day, you know how he is and we know how he is. Let him be happy with whatever he gets out of those gadgets....come one be a sweetheart and change and come. We are going to the beach, some shopping and some disco-kisko....
That was Mani. His kind face a perfect match for the softness in his voice.
Give me a moment Mani. I will change and be with you in a jiffy. I was just thinking of our pet...wondering whether he had his food. You know Casper can be such a brute at times...won't eat till I feed him with my hands.
Ah! that pampered canine of yours...how can we forget him, mused Ramya.
I went back to our room. Bhaskar hardly noticed me enter. He was engrossed and discussing something over the phone. I changed quietly and came back to the lobby. As we were about to leave, Mani asked Ramya – you not feeling tired are you? Shall I get you a lemonade?
No dear, am alright. Remember our first trip to Goa that many many years ago….what fun it was….do I look tired??? No ways, call the car, lets go out…its so suffocating inside the hotel….off we go to the beach!
Mani put his arms around Ramya and both giggled like teenagers.
Ramya is a very lucky woman, I thought. Agreed that the grass always looks greener on the other side but what if there is no grass itself on this side???