“Amma, I am not coming home this weekend”, I told my mother over the call.
“But why?” my father’s question came quicker than expected.
“Because my tickets are not confirmed”, I said.
“Dear, you said you have tickets. I thought you would come tomorrow. Amma was all set to make your favorite vegetable pulav and I was planning to buy rasagulla for you”, my father said sounding dejected.
“Appa, I still have tickets. But, it is still in Waiting List. I had booked 60 days in advance and what else can I do? Tell me”, I said.
“Okay”, my father’s replied.
“Amma, what is this? If ticket is not confirmed, what will I do? I know that you were excited that I am coming home. But, this is not under my control”, I went on blabbering for the next ten minutes.
I was equally excited to go home. Work had been crazily hectic and I could not go home for the past two consecutive months. I had been cancelling my confirm tickets and now, when I desperately want to go home, my ticket is not getting confirmed. Even my vacation was planned and leave was approved.
“Bye amma. Appa”, I said and disconnected. If my mother kills me with her silence my dad does the same with words.
I cursed my job, manager, myself and the entire universe for conspiring against my wish – a simple wish to go home. Images of my mother cutting beans and carrot for the pulav, father dusting the house and ensuring that it looks perfect and their smile when they open the door when they receive me made my heart cry. Tears welled and I felt empty. I also thought about the suitcase which is stuffed with some souvenirs picked from my business travel to Europe. I had also bought a sari for my mother, her birthday was only a month away! And, the following week, I was travelling to Singapore to attend business meetings. And sadly, there was no airport to my hometown.
I had taken permission from my manager to leave early because I had to catch the train. My house is as less twelve hours away and still I was finding it difficult to meet them. “A mere twelve hours”, repeated a voice in the back of my head.
I left my office as planned, collected my baggage and left to the station. I bought a general ticket and squeezed into the crowd. My Tommy Hilfiger suitcase looked a little out of place and my Fossil watch looked flashy. But, I didn’t mind. I smiled at my co-passengers and managed to get a seat near the window.
I closed my eyes and soon several childhood memories started to envelop around me. My back became stiff and legs started aching. “Soon you will be home”, I constantly reminded myself and continued to day-dream until I dozed off.
As I reached home in the morning, my father and mother came rushing towards me. They didn’t know that I was coming, so their eyes reflected both surprise and shock. They hugged me tight. Soon, my back ache and sore legs vanished. We all walked into house hand in hand.
“Didn’t I tell you that our molu was telling lies. She was trying to surprise us”, my father said.
My mother happily announced that rasagulla will be served with breakfast along with my favorite puttu and kadala. I felt glad that I took the train and decided to go through the struggle. Else, I would have shattered my parents hope and optimism.