[First appeared on Tuesday, December 06, 2005]
Here then is a round or two of mothers’ chat on a mini-bus early afternoon. Daily chores half-attended at home, the mothers can barely conceal irritation of journeying on a rickety bus. But duty it is, to fetch their young ones from school. Dressed in matter-of-fact way, this set of mothers belongs to boys of an elite school. Boarding the bus, a brief melee ensues in order to occupy seats, while adjusting to the sway of the vehicle.
Mother 1: What the heck, one never knows when the bus comes! Hey you (beckoning the conductor), take the fare.
Mother 2 (continuing an earlier conversation): Know that clown, that Tutu’s father? See how he dresses? Has no control on his son.
Mother 1 (agitated): Right you are. Haven’t seen such a rowdy boy. Beats everyone. Look at him (her son, who sports a tinge of blue on the cheek). This beast (bichchhu), he’s some sort of beast if you ask me.
Mother 3 (agitated too): Topping that, watch his father’s audacity! Says he would stop the school working if anything happens to the boy. Stop, huh! A joke, that.
The talks veer away to discuss a crowd that stood on the road close to an apartment building. The bus slows down to find way. ‘Accident, is that?’, commented one. ‘No, no..’, mother 3 exclaimed. ‘Suicide tuicide may be!’. The bus gathers speed, and the ominous thoughts vanish quickly.
Settling down, mother 1 wouldn’t let go her anguish of son beaten in school.
Mother 1: Give me a day. Just one day. I will teach him (the bichchhu) such a lesson, he will never dare do any wrong!
Mother 3: Know what, girls are much better.
Mother 2: Oh, don’t tell me. You have no idea. They pinch so hard… Why, Pampa’s (a neighborhood mother) daughter often complains to the teacher, ‘Sweta is chimtiing me’.
Now that is really something to ponder, don’t you agree!