“Daddy where are we going?” Misry asked.
“We are going to your Mashi’s marriage.” Anurag answered.
“Pallavi Mashi is getting married?” Misry was surprised. “To whom, Daddy?”
“I don’t know yet sweet heart. Your Ma will be able to tell you. After all she received the trunk call.” Anurag replied.
“You sound jealous, my dear husband. After all your, only unmarried Sali is getting married!” Madhavi teased.
“Jealous? Me? Nah. Good for your old father, to load off his last burden to another innocent man like me.” Anurag replied.
Pat came the answer from Madhavi.
“Burden!! We sisters? Never. Our father is proud of us and we never failed him. You are fortunate to have a wife like me and you bet that.”
Anurag knew if he didn’t stop right now Madhavi will continue the saga of her family which he had heard umpteenth times since his marriage and that comes up afresh every time he teases his in-laws.
Daughters will be daughters he thought. He was happy that he had one too. Misry will also fight for him after her marriage, just like her Ma. The thought made him smile.
“How can I ever forget that sweetheart? You are my Jaan and you know that.” Anurag said sweetly.
“Hmm Jaan. And you are leaving your Jaan alone for a month in this condition.” Madhavi complained.
“Come on sweetheart! You know my job. Duty is foremost. I have to go. I can’t take you with me to Ludhiana in this condition. Therefore I am sending you to Culcutta. You will have company there. Moreover, Pallavi’s marriage is another reason you got to go.”
Misry was quietly listening to her parent’s conversation. She heard all but understood some of it.
“Daddy you are not coming with us to Dadu’s house?” Misry asked.
“Not at the moment sweet heart. I will join you guys later, in your Mashi’s marriage.” Anurag replied.
“Oh No! Daddy! This is not fair.” Misry reapproved.
“Sweet heart I want you to take care of Ma when I am not there. She is going to get you a Talking Doll soon.” Anurag said.
“Talking Doll for me! Ma really!” Misry was excited.
Madhavi nodded shyly.
“Yeahhhhhhhhhh!” Misry started jumping of joy.
Madhavi and Anurag laughed out loud.
Train to Sealdah, Calcutta
“Misry don’t jump from one bunker to other. You will fall down.” Anurag advised.
“I am Hoolook Daddy.” Misry answered.
“No. Don’t be now. Come and sit with me, here.” Anurag said.
“Hooooooooo!” Misry jumped and sat beside her Daddy.
Anurag took it as an opportunity to educate the girl regarding her Dadu’s house. Since she was too young when she left them she didn’t have much memory of the place. Her Dadu owned a big farmhouse in a sleepy town on the outskirts of Howrah, in West Bengal.
The farmhouse has two cows, hens, ducks, dogs, cats, a small pond and numerous fruit trees surrounding his beautiful house with big verandah, huge courtyard and a small kitchen garden at the back of the house. Interestingly, the old man himself maintained the entire estate. Since his retirement as the Dean of Botany Department in Burdwan University, the man had dedicated his life to the upkeep of his farm house. Now he loved doing everything that he always wanted to do. Earlier he could not do due to shortage of time but now his hands were always full.
From mending the fences, catching fish, plucking fruits, maintain the kitchen garden, playing poker in the club he did everything. His day started as early as 4.00 am with Pranayam and ended by 7:00 pm with All India Radio News. The entire day the man kept himself busy with work and hence was able to maintain good health even at the age of sixty five.
Misry’s Dadu lived with Dida, his dear wife, their only son, Nilesh, his wife, Soma and their two children, Ria and Dia about same age as Misry and of course Pallavi, whose marriage was due shortly. There were two servants also, Runu and Lakhi, husband and wife, living with them in the house.
Anurag was little worried about Misry because she was very naughty and he feared that Madhavi with her present condition won’t be able to take proper care of Misry. Though his in-laws house was full of people and he had nothing to fear but his absense for a while around his little daughter, made him little worried. So he wanted to tell Misry everything she should know about the house and behave properly.
The train moved on and the father daughter shared several stories till they arrived at Sealdah station the next morning.
Misry was terrified to see the crowd in the station. It was the first time she was visiting Calcutta. She had heard so many stories about the place but the crowd here offended her badly. She clutched her Daddy’s finger tightly as they moved toward the exit.
Once they boarded the yellow ambassador car, the typical of Calcutta, Misry was relieved. The car sped past Dharmatala, one of the most happening places of Calcutta, towards Tollygunge, where Madhavi’s elder sister, Raju’s mother lived. Since Anurag had to leave for Ludhiana in the evening he thought of leaving Madhavi and Misry at their place for the night. Next day the sisters can leave for their parent’s place together.
On the way MIsry saw Tram for the first time in her life. The slow moving coaches resembled the trains so much and it surprised her to see that it actually ran on tracks on the streets just like the trains. She was very excited.
Just to escalate her excitement Anurag advised the taxi driver to drive the car behind the tram so that Misry could enjoy more. The taxi driver did as he was told.
But Misry was terrified to see the car driven on the tram track.
“Daddy we are on the Tram line, we will crash.” she shouted.
“No sweetie, nothing will happen. You just enjoy the ride.” Anurag said.
“Noooo we will crash. We should be on the road not the tram line.” Misry was begging.
Anurag was amused looking at his terrified daughter. She was all ready to jump out of the taxi if need be rather than smash in the tram. She clutched her Daddy’s index finger tightly for her safety.
Just then the signal went red and the taxi had to stop. Unfortunately it was bound to stay on the tram track at that time with vehicles on one side and divider on the other. The tram they were following had already gone ahead while they waited for the signal to be green.
To her horror, Misry saw another tram coming from the back honking repeatedly. She screamed thinking now it will crash their taxi just like the movies. She started crying aloud.
Madhavi held her tight across her chest and shushed her. Then she pointed towards the tram that had stopped honking and was moving very slowly.
Misry lifted her eyes and saw the massive locomotive crawling like a serpent on the street coming to halt right behind their Taxi. She could even see the driver sitting inside. It looked anything but destructive. Smile dropped on her lips and she waved at the driver. The driver waved back at her. All her fears vanished. She now wanted a ride on the tram.
Anurag smiled at her and thought, “Oh you crazy little thing. When will you GROW UP MESSY?”
Glossary* Mashi – maternal aunt
Sali – sister of wife
Pranayam – a type of yogic breath awareness and regulation exercise designed to help control one’s vital energy.
Jaan – darling Dadu- Maternal Grandfather Dida – Maternal Grandmother
26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.
You can read the other post in the series here.