Ramanathan was a Professor, he was 82 years old. He had retired many years back. He was awarded Padma Bhushan, a very high award by the President of India. It was a recognition for his outstanding contribution in the field of Mathematics and science. He was still a consultant to ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organisation. wedding guest gowns for petites
He was a visiting lecturer to Cochin University. Once a month he gave a lecture at the University.
His students came from far and wide. The hall jam packed. It was a privilege to be present when he spoke. A mark of respect, a homage to the great Guru.
Prof. Ramanathan does not use modern gadgets, the Computer, or the overhead projector.
The black board and the chalk, the magic playing field of the Professor.
He had a problem to climb the podium. Once there he is transformed. The back straightens and the chalk finds a rhythm of its own.
The magic of equation begins, it flows and fills the board, wiped clean, the equation continues, a language the students follow with bated breath.
The equation equal to, a perfect balance, equal to Zero.
A stunned silence.
A thunderous applause. The chalk falls.
He becomes an old man, he is escorted out. He drives his own car.
He was about to start.
A girl comes running, breathless, ‘Sir, your pen, on the table Sir’.
She was a pretty girl.
That was exactly how, Gayatri his student came running to him, with his pen 50 years back.
Gayatri became his wife, they had celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary recently.
….. …. Xxx … ….
The old man was elegantly dressed. There was nobility in his face. He was in the Trident Mall Kochi. He ordered medicine from the Pharmacy, he realised he had forgotten to take the money from his wife Gayatri, she had taken over the management of money. She was the purse.
He rushed out, he saw Gayatri, she was wearing a Green Silk Sari.
He told her ‘Give me 300 Rs, I have to buy the BP Tablets’.
The lady looked at him, there was something charming and attractive about the old man.
She smiled and asked him ‘Why do you want?’
He looked annoyed ‘I told you I have to buy BP Tablets’.
She realised, he was not begging for money, he was demanding.
She said ‘Wait, I have to go to the Toilet’.
Suddenly she turned, she liked the old man, and she smiled and gave him 300 Rs.
He did not thank her, he rushed to the Pharmacy.
Gayatri came back, breathless, ’Sorry I was late’.
He asked ‘Was the Toilet clean? ‘She always wanted the Toilet clean.
Gayatri ’What do you mean Toilet? I went to buy Face cream and Hair Dye’.
Gayatr was shocked, he was holding the medicine packet, Rs 500 that she had given for medicine was clearly visible in his shirt pocket.
Gayatri showed her annoyance with her nose, she was proficient at that, no one can notice, rest of the face can smile.
That small little nose can show her annoyance, and still exert its authority.
Gayatri extended her delicate hand, and pulled out the Rs500 note and said’ Look I gave you this for Medicine, you had collected the medicine without payment’.
Rame was lost, he did pay three notes of Hundred, and she had returned 20 Rs change.
Rama showed the balance ‘Look the returned 20 Rupee note’. She had even smiled at me and said ’ThankQ’.
Gayatri grabbed the 500 Rupee note and the Bill, and ran inside.
Gayatri came back, phlegmatically, slowly, thinking and talking to herself ‘I never had the changes with me, the 500 was in his pocket, it just did not make any sense’.
She remembered telling him to collect the change. Nothing is making any sense.
Gayatri’s nose took a different expression. Ineffable, difficult to describe, for the first time she began to doubt her memory.
‘Did she give the three Rupees? Not possible, the girl at the counter had said, he had given three hundred rupees.’
They reached the Car Parking Area. Rama’s hands were desperately moving from top pocket to the pant pockets, tapping and searching.
He began to sweat, sweat beads forming on his forehead.
Gayatri’s nose took on the elevation, he could visualize the nose, without even looking.
He pleaded guilty, he stood with his shoulders drooping, and nothing more need to be said.
Nothing was said.
Gayatri ’Stay here only’. She knows the Professors knees are weak.
She rushed back. She went straight to the Pharmacy Girl.
She gave a charming smile, opened her desk and gave Gayatri’ The Mobile’.
Gayatri’My God, the mobile, where are the keys?’
That is all that he left on the counter.
Gayatri ’Where are the Keys?’
Suddenly she remembered, they had Vada and Coffee at the BTH counter, she rushed to the BTH counter. Before Gayatri could ask. The girl at the counter gave her the Keys.
Gayatri thanked her profusely, thanked Muruga her God, happily she was rushing back.
Then it stuck her, Rama never went to the counter, it was she who paid for the Coffee.
Now she began to doubt herself. Alzheimer’s. My God, this is how it comes.
She rushed to the Parking Area.
Gayatri was running up and down, panting, there was no sign of the Professor.
Gayatri was murmuring’ I told him to stay in one place. Where could he have gone? I am sure he must be searching for the keys, Car keys’.
But’ where is the car? The Black Honda City. 9090.’
Then it stuck her, she was searching the wrong floor. The car was parked on -2, not on -1, as she was.
Sweating she ran to the lift.
The lift was not coming.
Gayatr did not know.
The trouble was starting. This was just the beginning.
The lift came. Gayatri was sweating, her hair in disarray. Her nose indicated the agony and the frustration.
She gave the Keys, she did not make an issue of the Mobile that she kept it pending.
The car moved erratically, Gayatri grunted, an emphatic message.
Suddenly Gayatri realized, the utter foolishness of her gesture.
My God, thank God, he is still alive, still moving, driving a car.
What more do I want Muruga?
She held his hand, a soft pressure was sufficient to calm his nerves.
He too pressed her hands.
A gesture of truce, an apology. A reconciliation.
The road was empty. Rama turned back, he saw, he put a sudden break.
“How did she come here?’
‘With difficulty, he managed to take the car to a side and stopped, he looked back.
Yes, she was there, the lady in the green silk sari. She was smiling.
Rama got out, opened the door and asked her to get out.
The old lady smiled sweetly.
Gayatri also got out. ‘What is happening Rama? What is there?’
Rama ’She is there, the lady who gave me 300 Rupees’.
Gayatri could see nothing.
To be Contd… …. ….