The 7 am journey commenced with the hope to reach Hyderabad in 8 hours to see my ailing dad. The drive was cosy and comfortable as we took leisurely stops on the scenic high way. The grand bridge on the majestic Krishna was an awesome spectacle, the muddy turbulent waters gushing underneath, with copious rains from the September monsoons. We stopped at the bathing Ghats adjacent to the ancient temples. So, we went some thirty meters to get a quieter place. There we saw two fisher boys were busy throwing nets in the water. I smiled at them and asked, “How’s the catch today”? He shrugged his head in dismay and said,” Not one from the last one hour since we started! “Just walk ahead about 20 meters more and throw the net next to the tiny whirlpool over there”. I pointed to the spot. He did that with mute belief and tugged the nets out after 5 minutes, what a sight to behold; full of shiny carps, about a score actually? Glinting in the sun and looking quite confused. He was thrilled and asked me if I was a fishing expert. “Nope” I replied. “It was just a gut feeling and sheer luck of prediction!! To give him a little more happiness and  motivation, I bought two kilos for my sister Padma who is an expert cook such that most of the industry chefs would fade away in front of her culinary skills. 

The next two days were blissful in dad’s company!!! His health and dementia did fail him for sure. Nevertheless, it didn’t deter him from the sweet moments of life.  He is someone who is always cheerful when awake or in “our world”. Rather, A frail bundle of super energy in pursuit of happiness. “Oh you have come back early today, drop your school bag, wash your face and feet thoroughly. Wait I shall give you cocoa milk and chocolate biscuits in a minute, but look at your dirty white PT shoes? How long I spent cleaning them up this morning to give a white shiny coating! You are getting too naughty my boy”. So no milk today! We all guffawed and he was perplexed for a second, giving these children never really learn kind of ‘learn sigh’. I remember my primary school days, when he used to draw those difficult world maps on the chart papers so well, given to us as Geography home work. I could never get the complex country contour shapes right; each map I drew would be round and sound. I had gathered a quite a lot of rounds in the form of zero marks. It was a great relief, yet with a tinge of sorrow to see him in that state, but thankful that his memory is now a clean slate, living by the minute. Just eating, sleeping and living joyfully. More or less, little boy in an exuberant state!!

Padma’s Sunday brunch treat was a royal feast! It was the Krishna river carp curry that was the center of attraction for all of us. Her father in law was overjoyed , getting into a great reminiscent mood and told us stories from his early days. He was born in a field near the Godavari River where his mom was working; that prompted his parents to name him Gangaram. That’s why the word Ganga has a strong influence on him till this day. As a result, he performs puja daily on Ganga Maa. He retired as an executive engineer in Hyderabad municipal corporation who was pioneer in those days adding great contributions to the city development.


It is said that all good things must come to an end!!! And so did our stay in Hyderabad with my dad. With a heavy heart, we dropped in at Padma’s home at 7am to say our goodbyes. She was up to her usual culinary tricks; an array of wonderful dishes neatly packed for the day including dinner! “Anna please stack these containers carefully into the big blue bag. I did follow her instructions carefully, placing my hands deep inside to ensure the containers are sitting snug. Our breakfast point was just after Kurnool, while lunch stop was a lazy one at Chickballapur. I selected a serene gentle swaying corn field. A sight drizzle, looked awesome on the tender young corn hobs which were effervescing with gleeful sublime joy. There was quite a sweet bon appetite confusion while opening the dishes, veggie kootus, vala thandu poriyal, pessarattus (Andhra green gram crepes), avakai kichdi, egg podimas, royyala vepudu and chicken gongoora. The taste buds were dancing and tingling, elevated with the cool and melodious tweets from a hundred different birdies, all rightfully dressed with a mirage of rainbow hued feathers.

We reached home earlier than thought, all thanks to the Coronavirus!  Nevertheless, traffic less Bangalore was giving an odd ghostly feel. A hot bath was all that was needed, suddenly; I was in for a shock as I soaped my hands with the hot water.  My diamond ring was missing!! My mind quickly raced down to all the events of the day; toilets and tea breaks, car seats et all. Then,I called up the driver to check and even ran down to the basement alighting point. I checked with Padma too.  But, No luck there at all! It was a precious twenty-five mini diamond studded elegant square ring which was getting slightly loose on my finger over the last few months due to its woven interlocking system. Must have slipped off on the way for sure!!! I kept procrastinating to remove it or twine a thread, but somehow missed doing it.

Bhuvana, our maid cum cook made some fresh soft phulkas to compliment Padma’s designer curries, which were curated for dinner. She is a warm and hardworking lady with two young children, taking care of our needs diligently. Her husband works as our building security guard. Smiling forever and going about her chores cheerfully, she enjoys a great rapport with my wife Bagi. During the current pandemic, she is such a blessing covering few outside jobs too, never gives a sigh when she is given mundane tasks.

She later scrubbed the entire home, saying that a week’s absence of cleaning made the house glow less. With her super addictive qualities imbibed from wife Bagi. Bhuvana makes sure to turn all the household items upside down even to dust them superficially, while the clothes are reversed inside out for a wash!! Many a time, I get pulled up by Madam for leaving currency notes, nuts and chocolates in my pockets. She was told to hold the cloth washing for the next day, so obediently soaked them up and left for the day. I kept thinking of the ring, more of an emotional loss rather than a financial side. Nevertheless, I slept well!

It was a bit busy day at the office, I get a call from Bagi, “ Amendi , mee ring neeli bag lo zaari unnadhi ” which means  The ring had slipped into the blue bag, Bhuvana found it while washing the bag! This was music to my ears!! Thanks to Corona, the bag was also getting a great scrub or else it would have sat in the balcony for ages!!

I got into the process of planning an incentive for Bhuvana……What a sparkling diamond girl!!


Venu Rao

28th  November 20.


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