The morning was mellow with a refreshing dew, as Mr. Adi Purana pushed open the iron grill gate of his colonial home, and stepped outside.
Tall, broad-shouldered and finicky about order and cleanliness, he succumbed to a half-smile at the whimsical pattern of the flowers fallen on the footpath. He took in a deep breath to savour their lingering fragrance, as he caught my eyes.
I was sitting at the edge of the footpath on the other side of the road and sucking the nectar out of some Night Queen flowers.
“Dadu (grandpa) hurry up”, I shouted, “I want to be in the park before it gets too hot.”
Weekend mornings at the park with my 80 year old grandfather was a much awaited routine. He didn’t fuss me around like Ma, instead I had to watch out for him. It was fun and grown-up all rolled into one.
I skipped ahead as Dadu followed me with his walking stick, slow and steady. We greeted the usual neighbours and morning joggers as we entered the park. As I was about to run off to grab the empty swing, a tall, grey-haired lady with violet- rimmed glasses and a matching jumper suit approached Dadu. She had wrinkles on her neck and her pale pink lipstick accentuated her wavy smile.
“Good morning, Mr. Khurrana”, she said with a shaky but re-assuring voice. “I have seen you at the park a few times, and always wanted to ask you to come join our book club at the Breadworks Café. I mean, it is a wonderful place for us types to meet, you know. It’s so engaging and the conversations continue till late in the evening. We are already 8 of us, and 3 are ex-Service men like you. I mean….”, and she went on and on, shifting her weight every now and then from one leg to another.
I peered at Dadu through her plastic water bottle, and followed his gaze move from her face to his shoes.
“….And, I would be glad to invite you, Mr. Khuranna, for a coffee at Breadworks to bring you to up to speed on our latest read. It’s ….”
“Madam”, my grandfather said in a cool tone, “I am sorry but you seem to have mixed me up with someone else. My name is Adi Purana and I unfortunately don’t enjoy reading in company.”
“Oh, is it so! Well, see you tomorrow at the park then”, she said unabashedly, and hurried back to her walking route, leaving behind a very quizzical look on Dadu’s face.
“Shona,” Dadu said turning towards me with a frown, “what do you think of her? Cuckoo or kind?”