I had a dream.
It is strange that sometimes events and people from long ago visit us in dreams. Whatever may the Freudian analysis about such episodes and of which I must confess I have no knowledge of, it is certain three things in life would stay in our subconscious- people, places and events. Perhaps flavour of good gastronomic delights too!
It is often irksome and wakes you from the deep slumber when a quiescent and pleasant dream is cut short without an end and in haze. One such happened the other night.
The genesis of the story was long ago when I was in my twenties and the three of us who were from Thpuram used to with unfailing routine meet over weekends and, breaks from work in between on other holidays. I used to travel back from Cochin where I was then placed. The meetings were generally at S’s house and we used to spend much time of the day and evenings in his room tucked away downstairs. We used to spend hours talking nothingness, women, and all nonsense under the sun. In gradual time we acquired the audacity to have a few glasses of booze as well, secluded there. All this, while two noble souls used to be sitting up above, watching television and chatting – S’s wonderful parents!
The extreme difficulty was we had to go out through the living room upstairs where his father and mother spend most of their time. So sneaking out after the few drinks was ruled out and invariably one of them caught us on the way out and we had to sit with them and politely spend sometime chatting. It was awkward to be around with them after our episodes with alcohol.But,I'm certain his father was aware of our audacity but he did never mention even in passing.
The uniqueness I have not seen in other parents was the unbridled affection and love they had for us. The difference between their son and we, his friends was something they were alien to them. It was one particular incident when B, reached the house and found his parents with a few old guests seated in the living room. When the strangers saw him behave like an inmate and straight into conversation and unrestrained chatter with the father and mother, one impertinent old fellow in the group eyeing him suspiciously asked the father who the fellow was. His immediate response was, “This is S’s friend and he is like my son, rather he is my son too!”
It is beyond the capability of words to describe the pure love and feeling they maintained for us. They were not from the economically upper-class of the society. In fact his father retired as a policeman in the common rank. His parents reared six children and we now sometimes reminisce that all the six are in very good realms of life, it is because perhaps of the nobility of hearts of the old couple.
It was on the occasion of the sixtieth birthday of B’s mother that we had a small luncheon at his house. It was during the peak of the simmering upheaval in the aftermath of my decision to marry “C”, a catholic girl. I was there with my mother and S with his mother too. Besides us there was B and his mother. I had not met S’s mother since the news of my audacious and unconventional decision was out. She looked me straight in the face and said in an admonishing note, “You little scoundrel .Do not grin, after all that you were up to, do not keep smiling at me. You boys take pleasure in hurting us, parents and our feelings.”S and B were taken aback by the suddenness of the rebuke and its tone. My mom was affected severely and she later confided to my sister. B's mother was elegantly callous in appearance as if she did not hear the reprimand. I was taken aback for a brief while (though it seemed like eons) by the severity of the rebuke. But after, I was feeling sublime and serene within- for her angry short expressive outburst and censure was something different from the more passive disapproval I faced from my mother who was then nonconforming in a different way to my decision. It was then and where I understood the intense power and rage of affection. I still remember the happiness in her face and how she took C by the hand and held her when I took her to S’s house after our wedding. The bond sometimes exists even when one is not tied by the superficiality of relationship.
I saw them vividly in the same living room and like I may have seen them many a time while they were alive. It was hazy as dreams often are. But then is it not the haziness and the abrupt ending of dreams such as this that makes one live with fond memories?