At 80, Jayantrao Chowdhary is spry. No hair on the pinnacle, only a monk’s fringe. So what. Dentures. So what. No paunch. Now that’s extra to the purpose. Yoga from age 15. He can nonetheless do the padmaasan with out effort. Ask Suman to do it. Tcha! Appears wiry however she’s all aches and pains. She bore him two daughters she is going to remind him. His contribution? Simply seed and identify. That’s one ace girls have up their sleeves. However the truth stays. She will’t do the padmaasan. He can.
He tucks his shirt into his khaki shorts. Sujata the older lady says it makes him appear to be one of many RSS oldies who play tenniquoits within the park. So what. His eldest uncle was an RSS man and performed a imply sport of tenniquoits. Made the household proud.
He pulls on his ankle size socks, brown canvas footwear and he’s able to go.
Suman is studying the papers. He has stopped studying them because the hydra-horned virus arrived amidst them. Simply numbers. So many lakhs contaminated, so many hundreds recovered, so many tons of useless. Suman takes these numbers very critically and will get palpitations.
She sees him move behind the sofa in the direction of the entrance door.
‘The place are you going?’
‘My hostel room-mate would return late from his depravities and begin speaking loudly to me, waking me up. “Oh sorry. Have been you asleep,” he would say.’
‘Level taken. I’ve requested you the place you’re going once I can see you’re going for a stroll.’
Jayantrao opens the door.
Suman says, ‘One minute. I’d prefer to make a superfluous level. We’re beneath lockdown. There’s a virus wandering outdoors. It’s blind. It might’t see who’s match or unfit. At this time’s paper says…’
‘The explanation why I haven’t learn it’s I don’t wish to know.’
Jayantrao locations one canvas-covered foot outdoors the door.
‘In that case, there’s something else I’d prefer to say.’
‘Make it fast.’
‘When you carry the virus house I’m going to mom’s.’
‘Your mom died 12 years in the past.’
‘They’ve self-isolated in two rooms. Akshay research and sleeps on the terrace.’
‘I’ll isolate you on the terrace.’
‘Why? We’ve got a balcony. Isolate me there.’
‘Which suggests you’re decided to carry the virus house.’
‘No. It means it is best to cease studying the papers and let me do my factor.’
Jayantrao permits his second canvas-covered foot to hitch the primary.
‘Yesterday the police caught Dr Sharangpani. He needed to present all of them kinds of playing cards and paperwork and certificates to show he was a physician on his strategy to the hospital. You don’t have anything to indicate.’
‘Besides my appearing skills. It’s not for nothing that I received all these prizes for the financial institution within the State Drama Competitions.’
‘So that you’ll ship a speech from Natasamrat and the police will allow you to go?’
‘You’ve by no means been on stage. You’ll by no means know the magic of adlibbing.’
Suman folds her newspaper neatly and will get up. She’s going to want a robust cup of tea to maintain her by way of what’s coming. Trying on the pot of boiling russet-brown brew, she frowns. He’s cussed. At all times has been. Comes naturally whenever you’ve served at a nationalised financial institution counter for years earlier than rising to managerial ranks. When you aren’t cussed, you’ll lookup out of your work or tea or chat the minute some idiot consumer wanders in and asks you a query. However she’s cussed too. She needed to be to disregard baleful seems from the household and refuse to ‘strive’ for a son after two daughters.
She carries her cup of scorching tea to the sofa, picks up her cellphone and begins urgent the keys. The tea helps her to not lose her persistence when she will get an engaged tone, not a couple of times however roughly 12 instances. 13th time fortunate. She’s by way of.
‘Are your males prowling in our space?’
‘We stay close to the outdated Prabhadevi temple.’
‘Oh good. In that case are you able to get onto your walkie talkie or no matter you name it and inform these males what I’m going to let you know now? You already know Babrekar Marg. B-A-B-R-E-Ok-A-R. You do. Beautiful. Now in case you take the lane that shoots off northward from Bhatia Constructing… everybody is aware of the place that’s. Ask Novelty Shoppee. They’ll let you know. So in case you go down that
lane you’ll come to a small Udyan on the left. That’s the place Vijay Membership was once. Your sister performed kho-kho there? Fancy that! Sure. They used to win trophies proper left and centre. Pity it’s useless. The membership I imply. So sure. When you enter that park you’ll discover an outdated man in khaki shorts with tucked-in shirt and brown canvas footwear strolling round like he’s in a strolling race. Oh sure. He’s nicely over 60. In fact that makes him a senior citizen. Sure after all that
means he’s at nice threat… sure sure… I do know all the principles. He is aware of them too. Look the person’s my husband. Don’t make me say impolite issues about him. I’m calling to ask you to arrest him. No no. Not put him behind bars. Simply put the worry of the police into him. He doesn’t consider the police really catch folks. He thinks they simply sit in jeeps and drive round making bulletins that no one understands. Sure I suppose that’s a grievance. Positive make an observation of it. However coming again to my husband, make him consider you really cease and query people who find themselves breaking lockdown guidelines. Sure. He is aware of his approach house. No he’s not touched within the head. He’s simply over-smart. Wait. Don’t disconnect. Inform your males to not be taken in by something he says. He received the very best actor trophy for his financial institution at each State Drama Competitors earlier than he retired. Oh you additionally act? That’s your Marathi manus for you. Theatre-crazy. True. The place’s the time for you today? You must do one thing about your responsibility hours. However now in case you don’t get onto that walkie talkie… proper. Thanks. Sure, we Marathi folks should stick collectively. Jai Maharashtra.’
Suman sits again deeply happy. When Jayantrao struts in, chest out, she says, ‘You’re again early. Something the matter?’
‘Nothing,’ he says frowning fiercely.
He seems on the empty teacup beside her. ‘A second cup? That’s not such as you. Something the matter?’
‘Nothing,’ she says and buries her nostril in her newspaper.
Shanta Gokhale is a Marathi and English author based mostly in Mumbai whose works embrace a definitive historic textual content on Marathi theatre, and novels equivalent to Tya Varshi, which she translated into English as Crowfall. She obtained the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2015.