Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gabru's Gift - A Mothers' Day story from Goa

Gabru's Gift - A Mothers' Day story from Goa

Excerpt from "Goem Mhojem Bhangar" by Pundalik Asnodkar
Freely adapted from the original Konkani by Cecil Pinto

12th May 2002 - 7.45 p.m. - Siolim, Goa.

Zelia coughed dramatically for effect. It was just a
slight cold but Zelia liked to put on a pretense of
being seriously ill whenever anyone phoned or visited.
At the age of seventy two, with five grandchildren,
she felt she had earned the right to put up an
appearance of being more sick than she actually was.
Her eldest son Daniel was phoning from Canada. He
phoned every month to find out how things were.

"Daniel baba, you know what day it is today?" asked
Zelia with an affected hoarseness in her voice.

"Twelfth of May, Mai. Why anything special today?"

"Baba, today is Mother's Day!"

"Oh yes. Happy Mothers' Day Mai. I did'nt know it was
such a big thing in Goa. Here in Canada it is a big
event. You did receive the Mothers' Day card we sent
you though?"

"Card? What card?"

"Doris had picked up this beautiful card for you and
all of us signed it and Ryan and Stacy drew cute
little cartoons for their Grandma"

"But, Baba I did'nt receive any card from you. Must be
stuck in the post somewhere. Your sister Linda sent
one from Australia though. When is she going to have
any children, that sister of yours. Does'nt she want
to be a mother too? She's nearly thirty five. What is
she waiting for?"

"Mai, Mai, we've been through this before. Let Linda
take her time. It is her decision to make and we
should not push her."

"You modern generation with all your modern ideas.
What's the point in getting married at all. Huh?."


"Baba, talking about marriage, your brother Gabriel is
finally seriously giving marriage a thought. I have
spread the word around here. Working in Kuwait for 8
years now I am sure we will get some good proposals."

"When did Gabru last phone you Mai?"

"Just a few minutes back Daniel Baba. Called to wish
me and ask if the flowers had arrived"

"Flowers? What flowers are you talking about Mai?"

"Oh! You don't know? A Maruti van came today morning
and this smart young man got out and asked me if I was
Zelia D'Costa. Then from the van he gave me a nice
tall vase with beautiful fresh flowers, and a
beautiful cake from A Pasteleria, and a gift wrapped
box. Said that our Gabru had ordered this for me from
Kuwait via e-mail!"

"What was in the gift wrapped box Mai?"

"There was this lovely fine china plate with it's own
wooden stand. On the plate was printed 'Thank you for
being The Best Mother in the World - Mothers Day, May
12th 2002'. I have put the plate in the showcase, in
the centre, and I can see it right now as I speak to
you. Oh! That Gabru! He always knows how to do things
in style. Oh my Gabru. My favourite son"

"Mai! I thought I was your favourite son. And was'nt
my family photo that I sent you from Canada in the
centre of the showcase?"

"No longer Daniel Baba. From now on Gabru's Mothers'
Day plate will occupy that place. Theresina Aunty from
next door had come and she was green with envy on
seeing the flowers and cake. And when she saw the
plate she just walked out without a word. Ha! What did
her son send her from Kenya? A cheque maybe. No heart
they have. Ha! Now see my Gabru...."



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