I was awaiting my flight from Mumbai to Bangalore, that gets delayed invariably these days, when my cell started singing “Bachkein kahaan jaaoge…”(loosely translated it means ‘you can run but you cannot hide’) This being the tune assigned to the better half I immediately picked up the phone. I know in cell phone times the term picking up the phone is incorrect. So let’s say I pressed the green button.
“Hello, listen, there’s good news for you.”
In the cell phone era, the old world niceties of tele-speak have disappeared, but then it does leave more time for business talk.
I was rather taken aback. You may ask why? Well consider the case. We have been married for the last twenty-five years and have two grown up children. And to hear the Missus say, “I have good news for you” especially to a person brought up on Bollywood movies, there is only one news that’s announced in this manner.
“Bbbut…but how could this happen….and at this late stage of our lives…of course I am happy ….err was it the Goa trip?”
“What are you babbling about? Oh no! Idiot!!”
I know I know….but she is the only person who I have allowed to call me that….after my school teacher, my father, my cricket captain, the numerous girls I declared my undying love; oops the list is quiet long.
“Oh ok then! What’s it?” I asked relieved.
“I have been awarded my PhD”
“Oh wow!” I said. “Congratulations Doc.”
For a few moments there was absolute silence on the phone which is rare when we are talking on cell phone. (This being a throwback to the days when even incoming calls cost eight rupees per minute) But it was a joyous silence where we both tried to digest the fact and appreciate the achievement.
Memories flashed through my mind. The very first was that of her late father suggesting a topic for research and then of her writing a credible synopsis that would be accepted by a very well-respected Professor who would agree to guide her. The heart burning process of navigating through the bureaucracy of the University for registration; convincing recalcitrant industry managers to let her see the food facilities provided to their labour force as it would ultimately help the industry; collecting huge data and then trying to make sense of it; selecting modes of data presentation so that a credible thesis was evolved and submitted; getting papers selected for presentation at international conferences and then attending them… The list is long.
Now someone may say; “What’s so great about that? Anyone who wants a PhD has to go through all this!”
I would agree with him/her. The thing is Asmita completed her thesis while successfully bringing up two children, combining it with a career where she was founder principal of a college, then had to chuck that job and start a career in a new city away from her family and last but not the least helping her husband keep his sanity through two business failures. Now won’t you agree that she has done a great job?
“Hats off to you Asmita” I said breaking the silence. “I am canceling the trip to Bangalore and coming back to Nagpur by the next flight.” and rushed to do the formalities.
“Don’t do that you nitwit!” was what I heard the cell phone saying.
I didn’t mind and pressed the red button. Nitwit is more lovable than idiot…don’t you think so?