The shrill alarm bell rang at 6.30 AM. Ranjan missed his mark and the alarm fell down on the floor causing an even bigger din. Ranjan scrambled out of bed, lest he wake up his flatmate Gopal. Gopal worked night shifts and generally came home after 3 AM. He loved his sleep and would throw a fit at this noise at this hour. As Ranjan turned the alarm off, he realized that he was alone in the apartment. Gopal was visiting his hometown to attend a cousins wedding. Well, now that he was up, he better get moving! He had a presentation at work today and could do with an extra hour of work in the morning to get it right.
Picking up his toothbrush from the washbasin, Ranjan strolled into the kitchen. He saw enough milk in the refrigerator and some bread which would help put his breakfast together. A typical bachelor’s life is what Ranjan led! Gopal and Ranjan were horrible cooks and survived either on pre-cooked food packets or gave enough business to the likes of Zomato and Swiggy. Putting the bread into the toaster and placing water to heat on the gas for some tea, Ranjan headed to the washroom.
As soon as he turned the handle, he sensed something was wrong! His first instinct was to turn and run, but where would he go? There was no one else around. And as he opened the door, the sight that awaited him was enough to make him want to retch! The pot was blocked again and its filthy contents starting to overflow slowly. The stench was over-powering and he slammed the door shut with a vengeance. He had told Gopal to get a thorough job done the last time round from the plumber, but obviously he hadn’t done so!
Now what to do? The question playing on Ranjan’s mind.
Should he ask his neighbour, the man with a sour face? No way!
He thought of asking the watchman, then realized that the night watchman would now be on duty and was actually a dim-wit.
An idea formed in his head. Best to call Amma, he thought. She would know what to do in this situation.
Ranjan thought the world of his Amma like every child. She stayed in Chennai and would be up now brewing her strong cup of coffee in the kitchen.
“Tring, Tring” Ranjan heard the phone ring at the other end.
A “Hello” at the other end was quickly heard.
“Amma, Ranjan here. Amma, can you hear me?”
“Ranjan! Of course, I can hear you. What do you think that I am hard of hearing? Is that why you called at this hour?”
“No Amma, I didn’t mean to say that. Amma, I need your help”
“Yes Ranjan, tell me. Calling so early. I got scared. All okay?”
“Yes, all okay Amma. No actually it’s not. Only you can help me Amma.”
“Amma, the loo is blocked again. And everything is starting to come out.”
“What? Ranjan the line is not very clear. You said you wanted me to come out there? I can’t come now, you know that. Your granny is visiting from the village and there is no one else here. You know how she wants me to do everything for her.”
“Amma I didn’t say to come out here. I said that the loo is blocked.”
“What, what is clocked?”
“Amma…..” Well, the fact was that Ranjan’s mother was indeed hard of hearing and Ranjan was having a hard time explaining the situation to her.
“Amma, the loo is blocked. What do I do?”
“Loo is locked? But aren’t you alone? Ranjan, you are so careless. You must have turned the lock unknowingly. And it is now locked from the inside. Call the key maker now, what else? He will either make a key to unlock the door or break the lock. Either ways it’s expensive.”
“Amma, it’s BLOCKED! And everything is starting to come out. Do you get that?”
“Silly boy, then tell me that it is BLOCKED. Saying it’s locked! Call the plumber in that case. Ask your neighbour, he is a very sweet man. The last time I was there, he helped me out when that happened. He knows the plumber and will ensure he comes quickly.”
Ranjan was dumbfounded. There were so many things that he still didn’t know about his mother!
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