Cart It Back

At India Cash and Carry on De Anza Boulevard this afternoon, I thought Diwali had arrived. The line bled into the vegetable aisle. I waited for about 15 minutes to reach the counter.

When I walked towards the parking lot with the groceries in my cart, I noticed people loading their bags into their vehicles; after they did that, they simply let their cart stand wherever it was. So some carts languished near Vanity Beauty Salon ten doors away where women will pamper themselves for hours, feet in warm water and head under steamers. A few carts lolled around outside Saratoga Plumbing Supply, an upscale store where salesmen look high and mightily from behind their Toto low flushes. Others rolled around by a massage place called Happy Feet.

As always, I remembered my father, the late, principled old Daddykins. “Put back the cart where it belongs,” he would say to me if I failed to push the cart back into its home outside a store. “You’ll wait ten minutes at the counter but you don’t have half a minute of discipline to put something back where it belongs?” On every visit to a grocery store, Daddykins religiously returned the cart to its home. It was the principle of the thing, to be considerate and unselfish towards the store as well as the next customer.

Take Me To Jaipur

From February 16 until June 4th, I called my father’s home every day. Vinayagam would hand the phone to Daddykins who would ask me two questions. The same two questions. For 108 days.

“When are you coming here? Will you take me to Jaipur?”

My answer would always be the same: “On June 6th. Yes, Daddykins.”

By the time I landed in Chennai on June 6th, nine days before his death,Daddykins declared that he was too weak to travel to Jaipur. “You do not have to take me to Jaipur anymore. I cannot do that,” he said in a feeble voice. Then he paused, inhaled heavily and volleyed one that I will never forget. “But you do need to take me to Singapore. For two days.”