A patchwork blanket rests on his shoulders. There are ten, maybe fifteen minutes until his hot water bottle will need a top up. He bides the time by checking his emails.

There will be good news today. He can feel it in his bones. The news will fill his terraced home with light and long-missed luxuries! When was the last time he  wore a polka-dot tie? He cannot even remember.

A joyful call comes from the kitchen, “Dinner is ready, puttar!”.

He carries his laptop to the dining table. Maa won’t mind if he compromises on dinner etiquette today; she will be much too ecstatic with the good news.

Smells of delicate spice, and Maa’s sweet perfume envelope the entire downstairs. It seems that Maa is frying samosas today (her samosas have made staying at home far more enjoyable).

As spoonfuls of tarka dal is being served up, he clicks on his one, unread email.
It begins with the word “Unfortunately”.

By now, Maa has sat herself down at the dining table as well. She wastes no time in making a cheerful racket with her bangles, and the kind of laughter that makes the ground vibrate. The sound of her laughter, and each morsel of tarka dal is familiar.

And there is something very comforting about the familiar.

Maa’s dear eyes glance over the laptop. In that instance, she proceeds to tell her son exactly what he needs to hear -

I’ll get you some more roti, puttar”.

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