It didn't take a long time to realize that we were running out of topics. The normal conversation had turned into a speechless routine after the customary exchanges.
Appa: So, how are things at your end?
Appa: Are you taking care of yourself?
Me: Yes, no issues!
Appa: Eat properly, and if you need anything, let me know.
Me: Yeah, OK!
Appa: OK, I will give the phone to your mother.
It was a case of the early years of my stay away from home. Beyond the usual exchanges, the conversation would gain pace once the telephone instrument was passed on to my mother.
Amma: Ennada, what are you upto?
Me: Nothing, just busy with exams and research.
Amma: Enna research? You better take care of your health. What did you eat today?
Me: I was busy the whole day, so just ended up eating curd rice and vadu maanga (mango pickle).
Amma: OK, take care of your health. By the way, that girl in our neighborhood, xyz, is getting married.
Me: What? Really? When did this happen?
Amma: It all happened in two three days. But, I am not sure whether she found the groom or her parents.
Me: Oh, OK. Who cares who the guy is!
I realize now that it is the ideal time to change the topic, and get back to her marriage prospects after a couple of dialogues.
Me: Then, what happened to the controversies in the apartment. Mr. XYZ had swindled some money from the treasury. Has the committee proved his involvement?
Amma: Yes, yes, a lot of things have happened in the last couple of days. He was arrested last night.
Me: Oh! I hope he learns after he comes out at least.
Amma: For all the sins he has committed, he will go to hell. Forget about him!
Now, I have to silently probe about the girl who is getting married.
Me: So, who is she getting married to?
Amma: Oh, he is a local guy from Bangalore. He works for one of these thousand software companies here.
Me: Have you seen the guy?
Amma: Why will I see the guy now? I will see him in the marriage.
Me: Mmmm, ok!
Amma: I saw the photos you sent yesterday. Who is that girl standing with you?
Me: Which girl are you talking about? There are a lot of girls in our school.
Mothers have always been smart, so the sudden change in the way the questions are put forth would take new turns.
Amma: Illeda, the girl who always wears Churidhars, and who looks traditional.
Me: Oh, she is Arundhati.
Amma: Is she Tamil?
Me: No, she is born to English parents, and keeping an Indian name for fun!
Amma: Why are you getting angry?
Me: What kind of questions you ask!
Amma: You are getting angry as if I am doubting you. Don't I know about you? I have nothing to worry about you.
Me: Yeah right, you have to deliver that punchline.
The last sentence conveys many things. It means, I don't want you to exceed boundaries. I want you to listen to me. By saying all these things, I am reassuring myself.
The conversation has ended!!!