Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thulasi

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PS: Supposed to be a woman's day special post - but got delayed because I was enthued to put the other one first. Belated women's day wishes, everyone!
[Alert!! Story Alert!!]
"God!!! Thulasi, you are driving me crazy. I don't want to go and meet amma. I don't want you to go as well. Do you get it? Stop pestering me now. I need to get this ppt done before my meeting today.", saying so, I left for office. I'm Thyagu, a manager in a major corporation. I'm aiming for a promotion and have to give 'n' number of presentations as a result of it. Amongst all this, my wife Thulasi has been pestering me that we need to visit my in-laws that day. The day started bad; we were out of milk and my daughter needed some one to drop her at school since she can't take her dinosaur project in the auto. I didn't have time to eat anything else and ended up eating dry cereal with water. And threw half of it in the trash!!  

I felt bad as the day progressed and tried pinging my wife over work (one of the advantages of working in the same company). But she was away and I assumed she was running around attending all the meetings. After all, she is a manager with a team of 8 too! Meetings are the death of corporate life! We should have a few 'no meeting' days to get back our sanity. Back to topic, Thulasi is a very level-headed person and is very patient. And I, I'm the exact opposite. Suffice it to say, I have my highs and lows. And today is turning out a low day and I'm putting in every ounce of effort to end it at a high.

My meeting was scheduled for 10 am but got postponed to 3 pm to accommodate schedule conflicts. And, my GM was attending it. To quote his words, he was planning to 'drop in'. Knowing him, I'm sure he'll stay for most of the meeting. To top it all, my manager pinged to say that the one hour meeting got reduced to a 10 minute session since the partner director had a flight to catch. Everyone is in a hurry!! God!! Let this meeting go smooth and I walk to Tirupathi. A voice in my mind started wondering if I would walk from Bangalore (my current city) or walk from the foothills of Tirupathi or walk from Chennai (my native place). Shouldn't I pray clearly so that God doesn't think otherwise? Indha analysis ippo thevaya? Devuda!!

I left her a voice message asking her to call me and that I was done with my presentation prep. But she didn't call back; which was strange because we were in the habit of wishing each other before a big presentation or meeting. And we've not broken it in the past six years. But I was way past worrying about all this and started sending in applications to all the Gods I knew to do double duty and help me present and present well. I'm sure that the pitch I was going to do was going to save the company millions; only that it required some huge initial investments. And, my team was banking on me to pitch it right to the top management. So, I needed all the help I can get to convince my superiors.

Phew!! My meeting is over. I have given it my best shot and I thought I saw a hint of a smile on my GM's face. So, it is most likely a winner. I saw a voicemail from Thulasi and was so eager to hear it. It was short: "I'm going to be with amma. I'll come home late. Pick up Tharini from school and get something for dinner too. Don't worry about me. I'll call later". I was livid, to say the least!! First, she forgot to wish me for my presentation. Second, she didn't even ask how it went. Third, and most important of all, she has gone to her parents' place even when I told her not to. All the happiness of the meeting results drained away and I felt like hitting something. But then I had to pick up my daughter, get some dinner, read stories to her and put her to sleep. I was tired and angry, a potent combination for anyone. I tried calling my wife but it went to her voicemail. That added to the ire and I was getting irritated by the minute. 

Irritation turned to panic as time went by. As the clock ticked 9, I swallowed my pride and called her house. But her mom said she hadn't heard from Thulasi in the last few days. That was when I had the sinking-stomach feeling. I called my best friend Sundar. His wife Sumathi is my wife's friend. They came home immediately and Sumathi wanted to know what exactly Thulasi had said. Rewind back to morning:
I was super irritated with the dry cereal and lack of morning coffee and the fact that I had to drop my daughter off at her school since she asked with a hopeful look.  
Thulasi: "Amma called. She asked if we can come home today"
Me: "Thulasi, you know we both have a busy day at office. Tell her we can't make it and that we'll come on weekend."
Thulasi: "She wouldn't call without reason right?"
Me: "God!!! Thulasi, you are driving me crazy. I don't want to go and meet amma. I don't want you to go as well. Do you get it? Stop pestering me now. I need to get this ppt done before my meeting today."

As I told Sumathi, it hit me!! How could I be this crazy? Thulasi calls my mom as amma as well. I just assumed that she spoke about her mom. God!! I called up appa in Chennai just to hear my dad say "Thulasi was great today. Without her, we'd have suffered so much. She came this afternoon and took your mom to the doctor. Your mom is a lot better now. I dropped her at the airport an hour back. She should reach home soon!". I spoke to my parents for a few more minutes, assured them things would be fine and that we'd all come again some time soon and not to worry about anything. I felt I had been an idiot for assuming things and thinking bad about her. I suddenly wanted to see Thulasi, hug her tight and apologize to her. I looked up to see Thulasi in the doorway. She looked so beautiful. My Thulasi, as pure as the herb of her name!

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