Monday, November 18, 2013

The Sickbird

I found this short story in my draftboard and was appalled that a) i wrote this in 2010 b)forgot that i wrote it c) my english was so bad xP I did find it a bit intriguing and so i am posting it. Don't ask me where i got the story line from - I am as clueless. 

Everyone got sick of the sickbird after one point or the other. She always complained about some pain or the other.At first they thought they were real and sympathized with her.That was true even for our hero Hari. She was a distant aunt to him and had come to stay in his house for a week for some unknown reasons.
The event thus follows their first meet : 
Hari came home after playing bone breaking , eyeball scratching basketball and came home with legs full of bruises and tee shirt full of dirt. He headed directly to the bedroom and locked it before his mother could stop him.He started removing his tee shirt and headed to the bathroom which was attached to his room.He was about to open the door when the door opened by itself and a small lady was there in her towel. "AAAHH" he cried out. "Abishtu! Abistusheshu!" yelled the puny lady.
"WHO? who are you?..." 
"I should ask you that, young man! How dare do you come inside an occupied bathroom"
"'t know. SORRY"
"what sorry? blah blah blah etc etc.....*fie minutes later* OK who are you?
"well, I live in this house........"
"Oh !! HARI!! Ayyo evalavu valandutha!(u have grown so tall!) YOU are leela's son right?!"
"no! she's my mom" he grinned.She didn't get it. Anyways that is the weird introduction

Getting to know the sick bird:
After she finally left his room , hari had a hot shower and came down to have dinner.There only the small lady's voice could be  heard. She was telling them, " Hari is soo naughty! He was waiting outside the bathroom to scare his poor aunty! He doesn't know that I have heart problem.Shiva shiva! My BP seems to be high and heart is slightly starting to ache! Do you have jfienjadj tablet? NO! Oh my god it is such a important tablet nowadays what with all these boys screaming and yelling.........can u buy it......its only rs.200....I will soon pay it back....."
and that was only the beginning of a long list of ailments Hari had never before heard in the 13 years of his life put together , let alone in one place affecting a single woman! Immediate sympathy and impulsive concern were slowly replaced by obvious disbelief and the inevitable deafness that teenagers develop after being over exposed to adults. 
He had no idea who she was and how long she was going to stay. But he was sure as hell that he didn't care about her whereabouts and her illness. He wanted that tiny bundle of sickness to leave his abode ASAP. This apparently exaggerated hatred finds more context after we learn that the sickbird has nested in hari's room and that he is forced to sleep on the hall sofa - ouch. 

Shooing the bird : 
He decided to make her life a living hell - atithi devo bhava not withstanding the test of times - . He couldn't openly ask her to get out, for he would be thrown out if his parents heard of it. So passive aggression won the day.
At first it happened by turning a deaf ear,
"dei hari kanna! I feel very weak , can you go buy me a dozen bananas from the shop?"
Christ! What do bananas even have to do with feeling weak?! He simply continued tying his shoe lace and walked out with his basketball . When he came back two hours later , sweating from head to toe after  playing two practice matches at a trot , the sickbird was still sitting on the same sofa in the exact position from 2 hours ago!
She opened her eyes and very casually asked " Where are my bananas?" .
The next step was learning to say no. So he grinded his teeth and said " No aunty , I am very tired , I am going to sleep".
"WHAT?! tired at this young age? It is no excuse! When I was your age I used to walk 6 kilometers to the railway station and another 5 before I reached my school. We never got fancy footwear and clothes like you kids and ate very spartan food . Now go buy me my bananas or else I'm complaining  you to your parents * all in chaste tamil - translated for you *
Bewildered by her sudden outburst he did end up running the errand for her .
a hopeless hypochondriac or is something graver?

Telling  mom -
6 weeks flew by and there was still  no reprieve for Hari . It took him all his 13 years to convince his parents to give him his own room and yet all it took was an annoying aunty to intrude it! Oh how he would love to play a prank on her. However , firsthand experience had taught him that he would be the one that was crying by the end of it.
Amma was busy in the kitchen cutting vegetables. He pitched in and started cutting the onions. His mom's curiosity got aroused and so she asked , " Fine . What do you want? ".
"Nothing , i just decided to help my mom"
" On a sunday , by cutting onions! Comedy pannadha hari" ( stop trying to be funny hari )
" I know right. I'll tell you a better way - stop inviting guests all the time. That too ones who never help and never leave."
She gave him a long stare - one that usually shushed him and secretly scared him out of his wits - and then after a long silence began speaking.
"Geetha aunty is not an unwanted guest. In fact , we're the ones who forced her to stay here. You do not know anything about her and I am going to tell you some things so that you will truly understand and respect her. However , this should remain a secret and never leave these 4 walls , understand"
Hari nodded his head vigorously.
"Geetha is a very distant relative of ours . I don't want to bore you with details. Two years ago , while traveling to your poonal ceremony , she lost her whole family in a car accident and is suffering from PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder. She believes that she shouldn't have lived and that is why she keeps complaining of ailments which she doesn't seem to have. I need you to be a little patient and sensitive with her hari . I know it has been rough for you , giving up your room which you love so much. Growing up is not only about having your own room but also being sensitive to ones around you"
Hari was stunned by this over load of information and needed time to process it all and hence he simply muttered , "okay".
"Also I never ever want you to judge a person by their appearances and behavior"
"I never did!" he shot back
" I am your mother darling. If someone is unpleasant to you or asks you to do something you hate , promise me that you will try to see their side of the coin also"
"i promise"

Later that evening , Hari's dad Mr.Swaminathan was pleasantly surprised by his son's extremely courteous behaviour to their overstaying house guest. Seeing his wife's mischievous smile he asked her what was happening , to which she replied , " Hari still hasn't matured enough to respect his guests - so I told him a small lie" she winked.
" By the way when is the sickbird leaving? I'm sick of her trying to make me believe that she has pulmonary edema and that her blood vessels are leaking blood or some other impossible medical condition...! "
" I never asked you before swami... but why is she like this?"
"Oh this! She has just been craving for attention since birth - a hopeless hypochondriac . Hope her husband picks her up soon enough."
Indian mothers! xD

Hari never learnt that it was a lie and went on to become a very hospitable host in life( so much so that many relatives had a 'hari day' in their calendar and visited him atleast once a year).Geetha aunty aka sickbird continued to complain of weak blood vessels and hernia and even dyslexia wherever she went. Leela died a contented mother filled with secrets that made her son into a fine young man.

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