This weekend, I was at a cyber café with a webcam, and my mom was online at home. The result: Me tying away furiously and mom not responding. She was busy gazing fondly at her daughter who’s been away for a month. Karan Johar music playing in the background completed the family reunion.
I was reminded of a scene I had witnessed at a neighborhood cyber café last year. It was Holi, which meant it was also exam time. Exams for me meant running away from home to catch up with my old friends online every afternoon. Sharing the tiny café was a family - parents and two daughters – crowded around a PC where they were chatting with their son/brother in the US. Sonny boy had a webcam.
“Dekh raha hai! Hans raha hai!” Daddy was gushing in running commentary fashion.
“Hai mera Munna! Kitni door chala gaya!” Mom was chanting, all the while dabbing her eyes with her pallu.
“Mom is crying”, the daughter typed. “Kyun bata rahi hai use?” Daddy chided. “Dad is scolding”, the faithful scribe reported.
“Kitna dubla ho gaya hai Munna”, mom remarked. Scribe informed her brother about his weight loss.
Munna refused to admit he had lost weight. He stood up and twirled in front of the webcam to prove his tubby point (Ok. By this time I was slightly craning my neck above the partition. Do you blame me?)
“Hai ram baith jaa! Nazar lag jayegi” Mom exclaimed.
“Yeh kaun si shirt pehni hai bhaiya ne?” the other sis demanded to know. Color Plus, Munna responded.
Mayhem ensued. “Holi pe Color Plus! Nayi shirt! Kya karta hai munna?”
Scribe was torn between typing out the message and reminding Mom that there was no Holi in the US in the middle of the night.
“Aadhi raat ko office mein kya kar raha hai Munna?” the weight of time-conciousness unloaded itself upon Mom. “Khaana khaaya?”
“Pizza khaaya” Munna said.
Brainless Munna. Whoever tells one’s parents that one had pizza for dinner?
“Hai Ram!” Mom’s heart cursed Italy. “Hum yahan paratha khaa rahe the aur tu pizza kha raha tha?”
High five Munna, man! You’ve done it!
“Kitna kaam kar raha hai Munna. Ghar jaa ab,” Mom advised. Badmaash Munna is not working, just chatting Aunty ji, I felt like reminding her.
“Chalo ab hum bhi ghar jaate hain.” Dad had had enough. “Gas waala cylinder lekar aata hoga.” If there is anything mothers worry more about than their children, it is LPG supply. Mom promptly got up, scribe logged off and the family departed, Mom still wiping the corner of her eye.
“Kitna dubla ho gaya hai Munna.”