The crashing sound of a porcelain cup disturbed everyone in the house.
Geeta was the first to react, “Mom! GP has done it again!!!”
she declared, with her head still bent over the cell phone screen.
“Looks like the old man has gone bonkers! This is the third cup he’s broken in this month!” She jerked and thought in her mind.
“Manu, go help your grandpa. I am occupied with something.”
She hollered from the T.V room. Along came the prelude of the title track of a daily TV soap.
On not getting a reply from her son, she yelled, “MANU! did you hear that?”
“Mom! are you serious?” Manu, engrossed in an exciting video game on his PS2, reacted intensely.
“Dad, can you please…” he requested.
“BUSY!!” came a reply from his Dad’s home office.
Pausing the game, Manu stood up in disappointment. Mumbling curses, he walked up to his grandpa’s room.
“GP!, do you have to do this every Sunday? – I mean, really, every Sunday?”
At the sight of his grandson, the old man’s face lit up with a smile. The teenage voice cheered him.
“The cup slipped from my hands…butter fingers, son!”, GP exclaimed.
Manu brought a broom and began to clean the mess.
“how is your college going on dear?” GP questioned with love.
“it’s going good…” the answer was to the point.
“you look lean, everything alright with your health?” he enquired.
“yes! I am absolutely fine. Now, stop interrogating me and hand me a piece of paper.”
“Oh sure! which one, this one or that one?”
“Come on! does it matter? I just have to gather the bits of the broken cup and throw it into the trash!” Manu shrieked.
“Ah! Then I better give you a newspaper. Not today’s of course!!”
he joked and laughed to himself.
“GP! don’t waste my time. I am busy!” Manu touted.
GP looked at Manu with utmost affection as he cleaned the floor. Through the questions, he wished to have a conversation with his grandson. As Manu responded, GP’s face gleamed with adoration just like it used to when Manu, as a kid, came running to him and forced him to tell a story.
But of late something strange seemed to isolate the old man from his family. Deep inside his heart, knew the reason for these growing distances. He was aware that he has gotten old; old enough to be forgotten. By breaking the cup, he only created a reason to connect with this family. It’s crashing sound was to remind them that he exists…
Having accomplished the task, Manu said sternly,
“check for any scattered bits on the floor…might hurt your feet…”
GP’s eyes brimmed up with tears for the concern shown by is grandson. He caressed his face and ran his palm over Manu’s head as if blessing him. Unaffected by the overflowing emotions, Manu ran to his PS2.
A smile stayed on GP’s lips for quite a while. All of a sudden, he remembered something. A sign of worry tinted his wrinkled face.
“the stock of Porcelain cups has extinguished!” – a thought invaded his mind and the moment next, his eyes shone, as if with an idea…
“Ah! no worries. I still have a dozen chinaware soup bowls for disposal…” the mischievous smile was back again.