If your stupid alarm goes off again at 4:45 AM, not only will I break your stupid clock, I will also get up and lock you in this room from the outside so that you can’t possibly get to the TV,’ there was menace in Didi’s voice.
Didi was often unreasonable.
‘But it is the Sydney Test. The first test match of the year,’ surely she will see the point.
‘I have told you what I will do.’ Adamant. Unreasonable.
‘Sachin? Rahul? Lee?’ I thought one will land. She liked all three. There was hope.
‘I will break your alarm clock right now,’ she said calmly. My intervention was clearly counter-productive. This was escalation. Nothing in her history made me think the threat was a hollow one. It was a crisis. There was, indeed, the Sydney Test, and there was indeed, Didi.
During evening cricket in the park I shared the conundrum with Saurabh. Saurabh was a little bit older and a fair bit wiser. He smiled knowingly. He was working hard on developing a smile like Shahrukh and I thought he was making good progress. That though is another story.
‘I can tell you what to do, but it will cost you Rs.10!’ This was new. Never before had money been brought into our conversation.
‘Money? You will tell you for money?!’ I was getting quite annoyed at his Shahrukh Khan project.
‘Yes. Only Rs.10.’
I did the math. I could afford it, in two instalments. There was no other option. The deal was structured.
Later that night I did not set the alarm.
‘I am not setting any alarm at all,’ I announced to the room whose only other occupant was Didi. She seemed confused briefly before rolling her eyes and returning to her book.
I followed the advice I had paid good money for.
Whispered into the pillow, ‘It is 10:00 PM,’ three times.
Whispered, ‘I have to wake up at 4:45 AM,’ three times. It was important that both current time and intended time to wake up are whispered three times, Saurabh had said.
Didi got up at 7:00 AM. I was watching the match. Let me not share the score because that is another story and not a very happy one, as the more cricket-purist readers will have figured. She looked at me. An expression of ‘HOW?!’ Passing across her face very briefly before, well, the eye-roll!