by Sowjanya M
It was an evening and I stood on the balcony for some fresh air and a small break from work, sipping on coffee I looked around, this year is no different from last summer, the lockdown, empty streets, squirrels running freely on the roads, birds chirping merrily and on the other side wailing ambulance siren, patrolling police vehicle now and then to check on people’s movements.
I recalled the summer from my childhood and I remembered something.
Ramakka usually visited Subhiksha’s place in summer, like every year she arrived on a Saturday noon to meet her cousin who was fondly called Jayakka.
Ramakka was jovial, curious, a great cook, and a good storyteller, all the kids in the neighbourhood used to gather at Subhiksha’s place to play and listen to Ramakka’s stories.
One day we all went to Subhiksha’s place, it was the day we’d planned to read storybooks at her place. There were turns, every weekend we would gather at one person’s home and it was our usual summer activity.
That afternoon as we entered, Subhiksha’s mother and grandma Jayakka were having a lighter moment and we were curious and asked our friend and came to know that when all at home were away for some reason and only Subhiksha’s elder sister Apeksha and Ramakka were at home, Apeksha had cramps and she couldn’t go to medical stores and Ramakka went to stores and asked for napkins for a small kid and returned home with diapers instead of the sanitary napkin.
However, we were all made hush and strictly told not to laugh at that incident.
Another day when we all went to her place to fetch Subhiksha’s for our dumb charades game, we all noticed Ramakka sadly sitting with a tinge of anger and saddened covering her head with saree pallu. As one of my friends enquired what had happened, we all quickly rushed out to the balcony and burst into laughter.
But if I recall now, it was a dark humour and we should not have laughed and felt pathetic and so abhorrent about ourselves, then we were very young and in early teenage, we laughed wholeheartedly at her innocence, this is the only justification I can give myself.
So the reason for Ramakka’s anger and the pain was, she was from a small town, a village and she was sensible and matured but unfortunately, she was not literate in the English language due to which after her head bath she was appalled when her hair was falling off and when she was done most of the hair was gone and when it was dried she had very little left on her scalp and definitely the volume and length of hair she had before that head wash would not return because she was nearly 70 years old.
She was so pained and irked as she had used a hair removal cream instead of a shampoo or a hair conditioner.
On that day she resolved to learn English. She was determined and she learned the alphabets, from then on she read newspapers to practice reading and read every back cover or label that was written in English.
Now, I shall leave it to you (readers) to recall the memories that make you think about how to control laughter in inappropriate situations and admire a person’s determination and sincere efforts to learn something new.
Take care and stay safe! Stay home, sanitize often, and mask up in case of emergency outside visits.
About the Author:
Sowjanya M is a software tester by profession and lives in Bengaluru. She is passionate about writing and her penchant for writing has helped voice her opinions by writing blogs on various topics and views on her blog site.