A day in my life
Saturday, 14 September, 2013. He hears the alarm ring from the time piece kept beside his bed, on the right side on a small stool. It is 6. 00 a.m. All he has to do is to press the button on the top of it to stop. ‘Bus, tumne yaad dilaaya. O.k.’,he says within himself. And he is not in a hurry to get up, since he has a grace period of thirty minutes, to cuddle up, pulling the thick chaddar over his body, adjusting it and again ‘trying’ to enjoy the self-given bonus of the extra time.
Oh, he looks up at the time piece, this time, still two minutes left, to be up from the bed, so he tells his wife, ‘it is time now – time ayaachu kittaya,’. And, finally both of them get up ready for whatever challenges that may lie ahead during the next sixteen plus hours.
He folds all the chaddars neatly, she goes into the kitchen, to start preparing the morning coffee. Meantime, he slips into the bathroom, and then comes near the wash basin outside the bathroom, searches for the tooth paste, brushes his teeth, now some missing from the two rows, washes his face with soap, adjusts the hair a little.
Wife leaves the kitchen, after pouring the dicoction of the black coffee, brought from the general shop near the Guruvaurappan temple, every Thursday, the quality of the coffee being ‘Concerns’ which has over the years made a name for itself. He has to take care of the milk kept for boiling, one hand holding the pakad, the other on the on-off button of the gas stove, eyes rivetted on the milk boiling in the.pot, for any time, with a little carelessness, the milk will overflow, losing some milk in the process, while, at the same time, dirtying the gas stove and the black granite platform of the kitchen. Finally, he is able to ‘manage’, and pours two big spoonfuls of the boiled milk into the glass containing the black coffee. And, lo, the colour turns and he is brimming with joy, the hot coffee glass in his hand and starts sipping and enjoying the process.
Meantime, his wife, having completed her brushing, enters the kitchen and makes coffee for herself. Both chat for some time about the weather, about how the day would progress etc.
Both ‘walk’ within the house itself, each within the area marked for them, since walking outside is now a thing of past. While he is able to walk for fifteen to twenty minutes only, followed by a short exercise for the feet which are raised alternately, lying on the bed with back on the Diwan lying in the hall. While this is helpful generally in terms of movement of the legs, and making the cartilage on the knee joints also to loosen a bit,
It is done as per advice of the doctor for reducing the bulkiness of the tummy, since he had to go on widening the waste size of his many pants.
A little later, he has a cup of cornflake with milk, to avoid a second coffee immediately. By then, it is nearly 7.15 a.m. It is now time for shaving, which has become a daily affair already. Simultaneously, he puts on the geyser, opens the tap, adjusting the blue bucket right below the tap for it to get filled. In between, while shaving, he has an eye on the level of water in the bucket, and puts the switch off, just when the bucket is about to reach its brim.
Before taking bath, he has to massage his knees with a special medicated oil, called jointil oil, which gives some relief. He then goes to the bathroom for his bath, but before that he has to ensure that the small plastic stool is kept in the bathroom, to be able to sit on it, since he is not supposed to and, in fact, cannot, bend his knees. Soon after bath, in the bathroom itself, he begins to chant gayatri mantra, so that till he prepares for a proper Japam, he would have completed at least fifty times of chanting the sacred mantra.
He then wears clothes and proceeds to the Pooja room for a ten-fifteen minutes Japam and prayer, invoking all gods and goddesses of which the photos are hung in the so-called wooden temple, built specially for this purpose – somewhat large sized, accommodating the photos of nine gods and goddesses.
At the end of the short Japam, he comes to the hall, takes out four books containing slokas etc – the Lalitha sahasranamam, Ayyappa shoothram, Aditya hrudayam. Lakshmi sahasranamam, and Narayaneeyam, all of which act as the real medicine for him. To survive, though he consumes several tablets and syrups which only get added in numbers and, often filling the stomach without being able to fill it by regular quantity of food. The whole thing takes about thirty minutes. By now the time is eight thirty.
He then goes through Economic Times, The Hindustan Times, and Mumbai mirror. All news is selectively scanned and read, though even interesting articles are left unread. The road repair, accidents, potholes, hoardings, rape cases which abound these days and occupies more space than it used to be, are mostly read as headliners, occasionally getting into some details. Even he has lost interest in sports, watching cricket on TV occasionally, though he likes the sports columns.
Now it is time for breakfast. Usually, this consists of one and a half slice of bread, one dosa, one plain rise dosa, or three fourth of an adai. Normally, nothing else is taken for accompaniment. Even butter is used with bread rarely. If you ask is this enough,the answer perhaps is no, but the stomach refuses to accept more, though, perhaps, he feels weak and tired, most of the time. Appetite is an unsteady graph pattern, with the graph going down generally. Seldom is the graph at peak high.
Now he hunts for his medicine box, which is always full. A number of ailments mean an equal number of medicines, and if one adds up the full daily doses, some tablets twice, some thrice daily, some one at night.(particularly the sleeping dose), the count goes to more than twenty. Oh, God, he cries in between, at the same thanking God, for making him survive against all odds. There are medicines for angina, ulcer, leg pain, appetite, and recently added one, vertigo, resulting in imbalance while walking (does it mean that it seems to hint at ‘now ready to go up vertically’, he wonders, laughing within himself). There is also the daily-twice eye drop, since he has got an extra lens in one of the eyes (which the eye surgeon ‘donated’ as a one-plus-one free offer, thanks to his neglect during the eye operation)
Now onwards, it is some use of computer, the iPad, looking at NDTV news, the mails, the Facebook, the pothi.com dashboard indicating status of sales of his self-published book, which indicates no change in the already effected sale of copies numbering 13
(isn’t it a great achievement, he wonders, at the same time consoling himself that books are not sold on a daily basis like vegetables. He is happy, though, at the number 13, which he finds promising and positive. He reads some books, newly ordered through online book stores, some old books purchased at great discount etc. One such old book which he purchased for Rs. 50/- happens to be Namesake, by Jumpa Lahiri, which he could read only the first time, feeling happy that each page of the book is, in fact, worth Rs.50/-. He is amazed at the writing, the style, the narration, the minute detail of every thing, making 290 pages of wonderful reading. He has another old book, again bought for Rs,50/-, the title being ‘Can Love Happen Twice! Which he has been able to read only partially, finding that too an excellent read.
He indulgence in writing something, thinking always of new subjects, and often turns to his own life for the material and inspiration, since he has had lots of inspirational experiences earlier – what with working for great personalities, eminent scientists and well-known Government Secretaries, like Prof. M.G,K. Menon, N, Vittal etc, the latter always motivating in his writings, even at this age, Mr, Vittal himself a little less older to him.
In between he walks a few steps within the house, brooding, musing, singing in his mind, good devotional songs, some he could compose himself, and thinking how to spend the remaining hours usefully.
Suddenly, there is a call from his wife about vegetables to be cut for the day’s meals.
This is not thrust on him, rather he takes pleasure in being able to cut different vegetables in different sizes suiting the needs for the exact curry preparation. Isn’t this also one way to pass some time, he thinks.
Now, around 1130 hrs, it is the serial time on TV, mainly Tamil which he watches along with hhis wife, and both enjoy too. In between he switches channel to Zee Business or CNBC to generally know the stock market trend, wondering when the few stocks which he still hold, would come to the level at which he bought them, without being tempted to buy any more and landing up in trouble, loosing money – though he could make some profit during the bull market time in 2007. From then on the market has not bee steady and stable.
It is around 12.00 noon and he keeps his riveted on the minutes hand of the red wall clock (gifted to his son by the coaching class for IIT for which he had enrolled and his having come within the eligible rank for the gift). Because, hereafter, any time is meals time. However, if the meals consists of chappathis, here again, he volunteers to roll out the chappathis, in which also he has acquired reasonable experience and expertise, the latter quality referring to being able to make round sized chappathis which even some housewives find it difficult. With meals, he relishes vettal kuzhambu and molakushiam,
both being his favorites.
And now is the time for the meals, a proper lunch, which is taken while watching the T.V. and exchanging tit bits and commenting, often appreciating the culinary skills of his wife.
After some gap of about thirty minutes, he takes some fruit – kela, anaar, etc. after which the lunch part is fully complete and it is time for the much needed siesta lasting nearly one hour or a little more, often getting irritated with door bells rung by courier boys, or some telemarketing girls wanting to sell insurance, mutual funds, pest control contracts and so on, who all has no idea of his age.
By. 3.00 p.m. he takes the inji-ilaichi added Girnar Royal tea, sipping it gleefully, and with a ‘royal’ feeling.
Again up to. 5″00 p.m., it is a combination of reading, writing, surfing the net, talking with his wife, etc.
With a freshening up and changing of clothes, he readies for the ‘outing’ with his wife, a daily routine of walking nearly two miles (?) and returning back purchasing vegetables, fruits and some other things needed for the next day. Mostly vegetables are purchased for a day only, based on the menu planned, rather than having too many vegetables at hand and getting confused as to what to use, what to make etc.
From. 6.:30 p.m. onwards, when he is back in the home, TV is the main source for time passing and some little entertainment, again watching only Tamil serials which is comfortable for both him and his wife.
Dinner time – 7.30 p.m. (too early for others). Generally dinner consists of snacks only
Ike dosa, idli, adai. sevai etc. and at nine it is followed by some fruits.
TV serial watching goes on to 10.00 p.m. Now that his son is back in India and staying with him, with his wife and son (his grandson, Akshu), his son makes a call to his wife at Ghatkopar, mainly to talk to Akshu and the speaker button on the phone is pressed for all of them to hear the prattles of Akshu who explains how he spent the day, while narrating that he had ice-cream also, which ‘Akshu nakkinai’. (!!) and when he, thatha, asks for ice cream, Akshu replies that he would give when he comes to Mulund (Mulundukku vanthappo tharen!!!) With this the day ends, but before going to bed, he swallows another pill, to ensure proper sleep.