Mother is on her mobile. She is busy shelling green peas, sending me a message on whatsapp that rubbishes Indian laws. She urges me to watch Malaysians caning a rapist, every blow tearing the skin off him. I call her to see if all’s well; she rattles on about temple festivals and the price of jackfruit in the market.
“Amma, the video you sent…” Mother makes a clucking sound, sympathizing with the rapist. “Paavam (poor man)…he is bleeding.” I remind her that he is a rapist, but Mother has moved on to the saree sale for our harvest festival next month.
Mother heads to her mobile again the next day, and shoots a message that chastises me for being a cowardly Hindu. I call her to find that she is busy stirring fried coconut into cooked lentils; she has forgotten my cowardice or perhaps forgiven me for it.
She flings all kinds of stuff at me daily — from jokes that target Keralite politicians and poems on motherhood to the most vicious videos mankind has ever shot. I haven’t yet forgotten the message about a funeral that was sent twice to underline its significance, or the one that declared utmost faith in humanity (along with a video of the hero who saved a dying man from an ATM machine — yes, a dying man from an ATM machine).
Mother has mastered the mobile while Father still presses “Forward” thinking it means to scroll down. A great deal has changed at home, for Father has realized he has to rely on Mother not only for food but also for communicating with the rest of the world. She calls out to him day and night — her crooked glasses hanging on to the tip of her nose — to show him all the wonders she sees on her mobile.
Yes, Mother is on her mobile again. She has sent me a garland of roses today, with the words “Have A Happy Day” scrawled across each of these red roses. And beneath it, a suspicious video I need to talk to her about.