As he sat in his reading chair; the light from the window opposite the reading table shone directly into his eyes; blinding him out for a moment. He raised his hand to cover his eyes but then something happened. He began staring into the deep sun light.
Then he fanatically began scrolling and searching through his drawers. There were papers and old books all dusky, he scrolled through them frantically to find something; papers falling on the table, books peeping out of the half closed drawers. Then he sat down on the floor frantically looking at the papers as if trying to find something. But there was nothing there. He gave out a loud sigh and began looking at his wrinkled hand. “I am old aren’t I” he questioned himself. And then started to rub his hands over his face; as if trying to feel the wrinkles or trying to recognize himself? But this didn’t satisfy him.
He got up and began to rush but then he looked at the room. On the front wall was a huge portrait; he couldn’t recall of whose. There was an old Victorian pair of chairs placed below the portrait and next to it was the door. It opened into the terrace where there were two plastic chairs and a table and lots of potted plants. The weather seemed fresh and he could feel cool breeze on his face. He looked around to find another door and there it was on the second wall; closed. He went up to the door; placed his hand on the knob but didn’t seem to open it. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t open it. Was it locked? What was with the door? He sat on the floor again looking with pale eyes at the door; like a little child unable to open a lock.
There was a little mirror on a table besides the door; he picked it up and began staring into it strangely; there was an old man in the mirror with wrinkled skin, hazel brown eyes and white hair. He stared for a long time as if he didn’t know who the person was in the mirror.
He reclined his back to the wall and began staring into the space. Don’t know how long he stayed like this when he heard a knock on the door with someone saying “Baba are you in there?”. He didn’t respond; “Who is Baba” he wondered?
And then a 15 year old boy opened the door and entered the room and began talking to this old man “Baba you are here; God Ammi is looking all over the place for you; here take my hand; what are you doing on the floor?”
And the boy handed over his hand to the old fellow; to help him get up. But the old fellow still didn’t respond; as the boy’s hand touched him, he gave out a little expression of uneasiness and then stood up.
“ Baba you are alright na” the boy asked again and the old man responded in a very unsure way “ye..yes”
“Why didn’t you come out then instead of sitting on the floor”
“The door…. I couldn’t open the door, how do we open these doors?”
And Ali knew what had happened.
“See Baba you hold the knob and turn it right”, did you get it?. “Oh ok ye..yes I get it”
Then The Old man began looking strangely at Ali.
“Baba; you do recognize me don’t you? I’ m Ali, your Son”.
“Of…Ofcourse I recognize you; how can I forget my son?”; and he held Ali’s Hand; still seeming unsure of the whole situation.
The young boy took him into the lounge and helped him settle on the table where lunch was served. The Old man settled and looked into Ali’s eyes as if unsure why he was brought here. Ali nodded as if trying to say don’t worry I’m coming and walked into the kitchen;
“Ammi, Baba is here, please come so we all can have lunch”
“Oh yes where was your baba? I was looking all over for him?”
“He was in the study; don’t worry hes here now”
“He is alright na?” his mom looked into his eyes questioningly?.
“Oh yes ammi come on; he’s absolutely fine, you women are always freaked out”
And his mother gave him a queer look.
But deep down inside he knew he wasn’t alright.
“Time has come when he has begun forgetting usual daily chores; time has come when he has begun forgetting his own family. Time is quiet near when he’ll even forget how to eat or drink and Ammi needs to be very strong for that time”; thought Ali as he looked at his mother happily making fresh chapatis for his father. Then he turned back to look at baba; who was busy making sketchs on the table with the fork.