I was sitting on the verandah and mulling over my predicament, at twelve, I was too old to play tag with my buddies – who were all atleast four to five years younger than me. Once upon a time, I was their leader, I had to decide what games would be played – tag, hide-n- seek, hopscotch or ring toss among many other games.
After my twelfth birthday, I started feeling too old and silly to play those games. But, then again, I was still too young to have conversations with other Aunties and Uncles. Although, some of them were nice enough to include me in their conversations. One of them was Pattee meaning “grandma”, who lived across the street in the faded green house. Everyone in the neighborhood called her Pattee.
I loved Pattee. She had the most amazing stories to tell. Also, she always called me – her princess. Whenever she came over to our house, she did not sit like the other Aunties, she would stand and talk, always in a hurry in leave. She, either brought “prasadam” – sweet offering from a temple or had travel stories to share, about her Brigadier son and his daughter. She always talked me and included me in her conversations.
Patte was quite the bus traveler. She knew all the bus routes and did not hesitate to travel alone. She did not hesitate to ask for help either, if she needed to carry something heavy, she knew how to ask for help. And people helped her willingly.
As for her Thatha – her husband, I had not seen him outside for a long time. He had passed away quietly three months ago. I came to know that he was gone, only when I saw people in her house. People – her relatives. They were there for a few days, and then they were gone. I wondered if her sons had come.
Later on, I had asked Pattee about it. She had shrugged her shoulders and said, “They have important jobs, so they have to work.” “My brigadier son will come when he gets a holiday, you know in the army, it is tough to get a holiday!”, she said. I often wondered what her other sons did, but never asked her.
Today I saw the landlord of Pattee’s house getting out of the Auto – mini cab. He had a policeman with him. He motioned the Auto driver to wait. The policeman was wearing his khakhi uniform and a huge hat on his head. A few days ago, Pattee had visited us. She had mentioned that the landlord was troubling her and wanting her to leave the house. I was surprised, as her landlord had been a frequent visitor, a friend who had often visited her and her husband. I had seen him many times before. But when my mother had voiced her concern, “What will you do?” She had said in a reassuring tone, ” Everything will be fine!” ” I don’t need to worry, my Brigadier son can give the landlord a sound beating, if he troubles me again, who does he think he is?”
After a while, I saw them standing outside, Patti, the landlord and the policeman. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I saw them getting into the Auto – mini cab. She looked up at me, smiled and waved at me, as if to let me know everything was Ok!
If her Brigadier son is for real, then he will come and beat the landlord up, just like Patti had said and she will be back soon.
Copyright ©2015 Ish Kaur. All rights reserved.