BOOK TALK: YAMMY BOY … by Riddhima Bagwe Pednekar

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative–

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talks and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

We have squeezed the entire book in about ten pages for your assimilation–You require only around half an hour to run through the book.

    One cloudy night when it was all, thundering outside. And appeared as if it was going to rain, when, it actually wasn’t. Just around then, somewhere in Mumbai in a lovely duplex house. One sweet senior retired couple beyond their 70s was relaxing after dinner at around eight in the evening.

    They were Mr Dumbledore (DD) and his wife Mrs (DD), leading, a happy and relaxed retired life. They had only one child by the name of David who was in the US. He was happily married there with his wife and kids. His visits to India were rare after going to the US some ten years ago. Therefore, Mr & Mrs DD as grandparents saw their grandchildren only through Skype. Most certainly they were Hitech grandparents!

     But Mrs and Mr DD didn’t feel sad about it. Because, the grandchildren, were, only born in their presence. And they were happy with that. They had a simple funda in life—live and let live.  Because, higher the expectation, more the trouble. So, they had made it very clear to David. We have brought you up. Rest you look after yourself. But yes. A trip to the US as a gift from David was assured every year.

    They were that typical, liberal independent parents. Who were smart enough to manage on their own. Their duplex house in Mumbai was in crores and still belonged to Mrs and Mr DD and not David. DDs had worked in good companies all their lives. David too was doing well and didn’t need any of their funds as he was self sufficient.

    DDs house was one simple but a marvelous piece of work. It was white in colour. They loved white. But it required maintenance. And it wasn’t the responsibility of Mrs DD alone. Rather it was the responsibility of Mr DD too, to maintain it.

    Mrs DD was clear since the very beginning. All work needs to be divided. Where, even David was taught to clear his dishes. When, he started understanding life. As Mrs DD was also working, so she couldn’t have been everywhere.  Therefore, this white and simple mansion had no servants. Which Mrs and Mr DD had intentionally planned, so that they have tasks to do the whole day. Or else, how will their period of retirement pass?

     Well by now, you must be thinking they had no real fear. And they were satiated to the core. But truly speaking that’s impossible. For everyone has a weakness a fear or even an insecurity in life. Mr and Mrs DD feared losing each other. This indeed was their biggest fear. Though, they were nearing God’s doors. They didn’t want to die separately. As not only did they love each other immensely. They shared everything together and that included fights, tears, happiness and joy.

    On the health front both had BP and where Mr DD even had a little diabetes. But he did not have a sweet tooth. Though, he had a high temper as his blood was hot when he was young. The after effects of which, he was bearing even now. But old age doesn’t guarantee you any alarms before death. Do they? Perhaps, sometimes they do.

    So, there they sat … Mr and Mrs DD, killing time. Mr solving crossword and Mrs reading books. Every day they retired at 10 pm and got up at 5 am in the morning to go for a walk together. Cooking was Mrs DDs duty. Meanwhile gardening, watering the plants was Mr’s duty. Then dusting, arranging household stuff, cleaning of vessels was Mr DDs duty. Vacuuming and washing clothes etc was Mrs DDs duty. Nicely they had divided the work.

   They always prayed before sleeping … ‘that they wake up together, or sleep together forever.’ That was the only wish they had. But then what about this beautiful house of theirs? Well they had already planned for it. It would later be given to an NGO. Who in turn would run it as an old age home, for couples who weren’t as lucky as the Dumbledores.

    Of their savings 50% was to go to the trust, for their grandchildren. But who would get it only in their 30s. And, 50% was to go to an NGO for street children. So meticulous were they in their planning. They had also done a proper enquiry of the NGO beforehand. Wow! So meticulous, nothing could have gone wrong. Well everyone thinks so. By now they were fast asleep. It wasn’t raining. But of course the same thundering and lightning was still going on.

    Krrrrrr! The door bell rang. Krrrrr! The bell rang again. Mrs DD was a light sleeper. She thought the thunders were playing up. So she didn’t budge. But again, third time it went off. This time it was for a longer duration … Krrrrrrrrrr! Mrs got up, a bit shaky. But she was sure. It was still dead of night and not morning and to make sure she even pinched herself. To, check if she was awake and not sleeping.   

    She switched on the night lamp and checked the alarm clock. A lovely piece gifted by Mr Dumbledore to her sometime ago. ‘What! 3 am? Who the hell is ringing the doorbell at this time? She got a bit worried and of course tensed. For the first time ever she hadn’t checked on Mr Dumbledore. Strange isn’t it. And it was for the first time the bell had rung at this weird hour.

       For convenience they had purposely kept their bedroom at the ground floor. Mrs  DD thought of hurrying. But now the door bell didn’t ring again. Which was even more creepy, so she wore her sweater and slowly moved towards the bedroom door. They never closed the bedroom door. She trembled like a tortoise, and slowly moved towards the main door.

    And, she was now, only a few inches away from the main door. When, she decided to move back as the door bell had stopped few minutes back. She was confused, scared and even relieved. At the same time she had mixed emotions.

    So she drew back to return to her bed and there it went again. Krrrrrrr! … krrrrrr! … krrrrr! Continuously, three times. Her face went pale white. In the windy cold night, sweat rushed through her. She gathered all her energy and moved back, and opened the door, with the safety door latch intact.

    What she saw, when she opened the door was like a bad dream. Through the safety door, a huge flood light was as if leering at her face, and that was almost blinding her. She saw a rugged and weirdly modified vehicle standing outside. Yes, there was no one in it. But the vehicle was standing there with those lights on.

    What the hell is that? Is it some kind of a ghost, or a stupid youngster zonked? Who has no work but to trouble others while sleeping?

    Scared and also swearing under her breath. She was about to slam the door. When, suddenly a horrible, weird and a blackish appearing figure was suddenly in front of her. But yes, beyond the safety door so she was safe. He said, ‘Madame! Please open the door.’ Almost in a tone, as if, she was the maid, and he the owner of the house.

    She said, ‘pardon? Almost chokingly. He repeated, ‘Madam, open the door.’ This time there was no ‘please’ and then he started. ‘I am not going to harm you. Get this wooden thing off, between us.’ Mrs DD had no idea about what she was going to do. But then all of a sudden she opened the door. And when she did, she felt like slapping herself hard.

    ‘Ahhhh’ he said with a grin. ‘Madam, you trusted me rather too quickly. The time has come. In another half an hour I will be gone.’ Mrs DD’s head was spinning, as for the first time she was seeing him properly. You call him human, half human or a nut. She asked herself. He was huge. Mrs DD suddenly realized. She was staring at the sky with her mouth wide open. She straightened herself. Person, standing in front of her was a giant. He was pitch black, and surprisingly in the night he was wearing glasses, which were fluorescent green. On his head, there was a cap with horns. Yes a metal cap with red horns. Mrs DD felt she was not in her senses. So she moved back. He was shirtless. And he wore a fluorescent green boxer pants matching his glasses. It was short enough. The sight of which embarrassed Mrs DD. To, look any further. But then she wanted to take a full view of this cartoon. As by now the fear of the person was done away with. He wore wooden sandals, those ‘Paduka’ types. He jibed again, “Madam, are you through, ogling at me? I know I am very attractive. So I repeat. I have half an hour, and your time is also half an hour. Mrs DD almost yelled, ‘what are you!’ Oops she actually wanted to say who are you? By now she was least scared of this nut.

    ‘Madame I am YAMMYBOY!’

    Pardon? Mrs DD retorted.

    ‘Yes! I am YAMMYBOY and meet him. He is my RATH.’

    ‘Who … he?’ pointed Mrs DD.

    ‘Yes he is my RATH, behind me.’ Replied, YAMMYBOY. Waving at the esoteric machine he had got. Now Mrs DD was losing cool. She bombarded. ‘What do you want? You know its 3 am in the night? Why have you come to disturb us?’ Suddenly she remembered and pondered about Mr Dumbledore. Where was he? It’s been long. How come he didn’t hear anything? And howcome she forgot him? Mumbling all this in her mind, she hurried back as if she was alarmed. She opened the bedroom door. And saw … Mr DD was sleeping away to glory. He wasn’t aware of anything. She called out his name, ‘Dev … Dev’ … but he didn’t budge. She tried to wake him up. Suddenly, she realized. Dev wasn’t moving. His flat tummy wasn’t going up and down. Oh Jesus!

    ‘Madame …!’ The voice came from behind. She froze. ‘OMG! I left the door open. O shit that nut.’ ‘Madame!’ he said again. She looked behind, and there he was, standing in flesh and blood in their bedroom, with his wooden sandals on. She nearly screamed. ‘Madame you have wasted my time. By now I’m sure you must have come to know.’

    ‘What?’ Asked Mrs DD and further added. ‘What’s your name?’

    ‘I am YAMMYBOY, Madame’ he said. ‘Haven’t you recognized me? I am the YAMMYBOY. Oh in the oldies language. I am God YAMM! But yes, of the new age. I’m the modified and stylish YAMM. That, no longer ride’s the bull. I come on my YOYO rath.’

    OMG! Mrs DD froze. Everything went silent. Now the puzzle fell in place. He was YAM GOD the courier vehicle for the dead. Now she knew why Mr DD wasn’t moving. Why his tummy didn’t go up and down. OMG! Is this true? Unknowingly tears came out of her old eyes.

    ‘Madame … I have come to take Mr DD. His time has come. Already a lot of time has been wasted. Please move aside. I have to take his soul.’ Mrs DD was shattered. Her only wish, to live together and die together is going to break. She was going to faint. Suddenly she saw the alarm clock on the pillow, which she had left there in a hurry. It was 3.20 am. All this drama was now going on for twenty minutes. But after what he had said. She felt it was going on forever. She said, ‘Sir! You can do what you want. You can do your duty. But please have some tea. I really make good tea. For a moment YAMMYBOY was dumb. Maybe, either he didn’t realise its night time or he loved caffeine a bit too much. He said ‘Madame … I don’t drink tea. I drink coffee. But madame I have to leave now. I have a job to do.’

    ‘No no don’t worry. I will make coffee in no time. Please don’t worry.’ And before even letting him say anything further, Mrs DD held his hand. Yes she held his hand and asked him to come to the drawing room instead. YAMMYBOY felt a tingle in his body. Oh come on. He couldn’t have had hots for an old lady. But no one had ever held him like this. Especially, when he had come to say you are dead.

    He sat there waiting and checking his watch. He still had eighteen minutes. When, Mrs DD screamed. ‘Yeaaaaaaa.’ YAMMYBOY rushed towards the kitchen from where the scream came. Mrs DD was hitting something with the broom. ‘Madame, what happened?’ ‘It’s there kill him, kill him.’ And before he could even understand anything he was hit on his head. BOINK!!

    When he got up he found himself on a chair in the drawing room. He felt it was raining. But suddenly realized it’s not. Someone was splashing water, on him. ‘I’m so sorry. I am so sorry.’ It was Mrs DD’s voice. ‘There was a big cockroach. I had to kill him. But it had wings. So it flew and sat on your head.’

    ‘Madame no problem.’ He then saw the YUMMY cup of coffee, and without any ado, he drank it. ‘Thank you Madame, it was nice. Now my job is calling!’ He checks the time … ‘OMG!! Its 4:30 am Madame. I will lose my job. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. The time for death of Mr DD was 3 am. Now he can’t be dead. You are lucky Madame.’ After saying this he rushed. He didn’t get mad at Mrs DD for what had happened. He just rushed like a moving mountain and while breezing past he said. ‘I will come back after checking on the next time slot, else I’ll be late for my next job.’

    She couldn’t believe it, that she had won over death. Really, did she? OMG … her tricked worked. But don’t know for how long. But at least for today she had cancelled Mr DDs death. Happy in her heart she goes to the bedroom and starts praying to God and smiles while looking at Mr DD. He had shifted his position by now. His Tummy was sideways going up and down. And then something happens when she collapses on the bed, and at that very moment she storms out of her sleep. She sits on the bed. No one is besides her. Where is Mr DD? She rushes out of the room. Looking here and there in panic and gets relief when she finally sees him in the kitchen.

    He waves at her and says, ‘Good morning, you slept late. Hope you’re well?’ Now Mrs DD is not sure. She very well knows it was a dream. But she is relieved, because Mr DD is with her. She goes into the kitchen. What she sees there makes her face white in fear. Mr DD shouts from behind. ‘Sorry darling I forgot to pick up the wooden rod and the dead cockroach. But I am wondering how these things got there.’ Mrs DD is now trembling. When, she catches sight of the cup and the saucer hidden in the kitchen, which, Mr DD obviously hasn’t seen. But wait. There is something below the saucer. A letter, it read,

    ‘Dear Mr and Mrs DD. No I am not a fool to have the coffee and I didn’t faint by the wooden broom. I quickly understood what you were trying to do Madame. So, I pretended. Only because I was dumbfounded, at the love, the longing and the struggle you undertook. Just to keep your DD live. I have so many people today on my list. I wish I had taken their loved ones away. But you were trying every which way, to postpone the time of death. You were smart. You thought of a trick. But you forgot I am YAMM GOD. Therefore, I left Mr DD to live for some more time with Mrs DD. And, as a penalty, I will make sure. I take you both together to HEAVEN. Till then CIAO.’ Mrs DD was dumbfounded as if she had gulped a PUMPKIN.

    WILL YAMMY BOY return soon?


By Kamlesh Tripathi

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