Morning – 8:15.
I leap out of the door and claim, “See, today I’m the first to get out of the house so I’m not the one who is late”
My wife shouts back, “You better shut up, I’m having a headache”
My little daughter chimes in, “Papa, just jumping out of the door before us and claiming you are first is stupid. All you do is wake up, dress up, and get out but that also you don’t do it in time”
I tell her, “You are just 8 years old. Not old enough to understand how ‘time’ works, besides you are talking things way beyond your age. You are not my mother. Do you know how long is 10 minutes?”
Wife to daughter: “Don’t listen to your father, just get going”
The daughter giggles and hops down the stairs.
A month back we had moved from the old house which is one and half hour drive (one way) to a new house which is only 15 minutes away from my and wife’s work places. The wife’s frustrated that despite moving closer, we are not able to manage time and mainly thinks it is due to my inability or unwillingness to wake up on time.
Going late means nothing to me (even an hour or two or even a full day), but for my wife, it is enough to get a mail requesting an explanation and my daughter a note in her school diary. But then, years of being defaulters, we have grown used to dealing with it, and the daily loud mouthing at each other every morning barely registers in our mind.
On the way, I try my usual mood-lightening technique. I say, “You know what I had a dream early morning. Morning dreams, my mother says, will come true. The dream is, the live plants in our hall has all dried up and I’m trying desperately to do something about it”
Wife: “I hope your dream comes true. I’m fed up of maintaining them”
Daughter: “Even I had a dream, we are buying a house”
I: “Why can’t you dream simple dreams like mine – like watering plants?”
Wife: “Can you both shut up? You both are giving me a terrible headache. I’m already 10 minutes late. Today my manager is going to kill me”
We reach daughter’s school. We drop her at the gate and quickly escape before somebody stops us to ask the reason for late coming.
Another 10 minutes away is my wife’s office and just before that is my office. I usually drop her in her office and come back to my office.
We ride past a jogging man whom we have come to call, ‘Road Swimmer’. He used to be a regular morning sight in the area but had disappeared for some time. He has a very peculiar style of running. He frantically flaps his arms in the air like he is swimming his way on the road. He also keeps a wild fixated look on his eyes which draws a few concerned looks from people who pass him by because they think he could run out of his air any second. Overall the sight is of a man stranded in water, desperate to save his life.
Wife comments, “Did you notice, he is still wearing the same blue shorts and t-shirt”
Minutes later, we reach the office and I stop for security check.
Wife: “Why am I here?”
Wife: “You have brought me to your office”
I: “Oh, sorry. I forgot”
Wife screams: “Have you gone mad?”
We are again late by 10 minutes, but wife’s on leave.
I and daughter set off. We reach her school and get caught at the gate by none other than her class teacher.
Teacher: “She’s always late”
Daughter says without a second thought: “Papa wakes up late everyday”
I stand there squirming and wondering what kind of expression I should show on my face.
Teacher: “I had made a note in her diary yesterday. Did you see?”
I: “Yes, I did and I’m sorry” and go on to make the promise which I have been making to her class teachers from all the previous classes and schools ever since she started going to school 5 years back, “I will make sure she comes to school on time from tomorrow”
Teacher: “Hmm…Anyways, today’s note I will write in her diary”
Riding to my office, I think about the all too familiar note in the diary. It usually reads something like, ‘Your ward is late to class despite repeated warnings. Please make sure not to repeat this again’. Nammal ithoke ethre kandatha, I smirk.
At the entrance of the office, I stop to swipe the access card. I don’t find the swipe machine in the usual location.
Security Guard: “Sir, your Id card”
I: (thinking) why this guy is asking for Id card, they never do
Suddenly it dawns.
Why am I here! I have actually come to my wife’s office.
I: “Oh sorry, I think I left the ID card at home. I will go back and get it” and get the hell out of the place.
Man, this is embarrassing. I decide I should never tell this to anybody.