There's something very comforting about waking up after a dream. I'm not talking about the dreaded cell phone jingle bursting my sweet slumber. No, that doesn't count. I'm referring to the dream that runs its course, taking its delicious time, and when it comes to a pleasant close my eyes open slowly. I stretch my rested joints and lay in bed some more, immersing myself in the folds of the cotton sheets.
Time is irrelevant. It could be 7 in the morning. It could be noon. When my body is ready, I get up. It's a sweet laziness, drugging me into lethargy. I chew on a slice of banana bread, moistening it with chilled milk in my mouth. It's good. Around me, Mammi is a blur of activity. She does the dishes. She cooks chicken for Srajan to take back to UTSA. I realize she's showered when the scent of incense teases my nose and I hear a murmur of prayer from the mandir room. Should I help out? She asks me to clean the kitchen floor. I unexcitedly pick up the broom, brushing the linoleum with long, absentminded strokes. Old Hindi songs on full volume blare from my laptop, taking me back to childhood.
It is a time of audio cassettes. Papa is slathering his fuzzy cheeks with thick foam, rattling his brush in a plastic 'magga' filled with water. Mammi's working on a culinary experiment nearby, evidenced through the orchestra of spices overtaking the shaving cream's perfume. It's a time of audio cassettes. After a TIPS Series pitch, the music resumes. What song is this? I don't remember the movie but Sunit Shetty was in it. Was it raining in the song? There was definitely a forest involved.
A tune from the Bollywood classic, Umrao Jaan, ends gracefully. Mammi has left to get pizza. What's the occasion? We are going to eat as a family today. I don't have a single worry creasing my mind. Outside, the sunlight has filtered through the rain clouds. It reaches the window as a gray brightness. I smell shaving cream. Some things never change.