Hhhmm. I hear blurry, fuzzy noise arousing me from slumber. I blink my eyes open, the TV is on blaring full volume. Indeed I am my mother’s deaf daughter. The noise sounds like ringing, but I need to make sure so I mute the TV. Yes, it's the phone. I rip off the three blankets that nestle me against the navy blue couch and race into my parents’ home office. “Hello?” I mumble into the receiver. What the hell time is it? I wonder in the only clock-less room in this house.
“Allo, mera bacha,” comes Massi’s voice. Man do I miss her. I wish she was here so she could comfort Mom. “Hello, Massi, how are you?” I ask in Hindi. “I am fine, beta, tell me how is Daddy? I am worried about him,” she says. So am I, but I am not about to tell that to her. She is 10,000 miles away and this will only cause her distress, which she will share with Bangalore Cousin, who will get annoyed with me for stressing her mother. I have to be strong and lie, and tell Massi everything is fine, under control, progressing. I mean, all could be good. I just don’t know right now. “Massi, we have very good doctors here, he is getting great treatment….” I begin. “Can he walk?” she asks. Hhhmm, I can’t lie about this. “No, but the prognosis is good….” I share. I leave out the part that he could be like this for a year, maybe two.
“How is Mummy? Is she holding up?” Massi asks. “Yes,” I reply. “Let me speak with her,” Massi says. Hhmmm – this is a problem. Now I have to tell my 75 year old aunt that my mother, her sister sleeps at the hospital. “Mom’s not here…” I say, realize how overly dramatic that must sound and quickly add, “She has been staying at the hospital with Dad.” “That poor woman has given him everything and she continues to give more…” Massi says softly. This is rather déjà vu. Dad’s elder brother called about 8 hours ago as I was getting ready for bed and asked how Dad was doing, then he, too, asked for Mom. I again explained that she was at the hospital and Uncle said the same thing about Mom. She’s a Sita.
“How are the talks going with the doctor fellow?” Massi asks. Ugh, really? I don’t want to relay more sad news; I mean I am not sad. I am annoyed with myself for dating someone who had no idea how to emote. But this will disappoint my aunt. “Massi, I am no longer talking to him. He has not been very supportive while Dad has been in the hospital and my parents are important to me, so I didn’t think would work,” I say. I am not leaving my family to join his. Marriage is not the Marines.
After a pause Massi says, “Then this is best. It will happen, with the right man. Just have patience and faith in God.” It is nice to hear Massi’s agreement. I hang up with her and wander back into family room and watch the news. I need to pick up Mom in 90 minutes, at which point I should tell her about Dr. Froggy, too, before Bangalore Cousin or Massi do.