Saturday 22 August 2015

Cats, Real Estate and the Importance of being employed.

“Percy! Where is that good-for-nothing, lazy, gormless, useless son of mine?”

“I’m right here, mother. And I’m your only son.”

“And I have lived to regret it, God knows. Where were you?”

“Sitting in the window. Anyway, what’s the matter?”

“Take a look at this.”


“On the laptop, see that mail.”

“Looks like your pension slip. Your Bank must have e-mailed it to you.”

“They never e-mailed me a pension slip before.”

“Which…makes this a good start?”

“Ok, what’s the figure there?”

“That’s the gross amount – here on the right side we have the net amount that gets credited to your account. At least I hope it does.”

“Not bad, is it.”

“Yes, mother, as you’ve said roughly a hundred and fifty times since you retired, you have a very generous pension.”

“I make more than you do, don’t I?”

“Not when I was working, of course! I’ll have you know I was a highly-paid…”

“Didn’t Shobha Kamath’s son-in-law make much more than you?”

“I don’t know how much Shobha Kamath’s son-in-law makes, mother.”

“No, but he bought a house in Pune and then one in Thane.”

“Shobha Kamath’s daughter earns well too, mother. I suppose between them they can raise a lot of money in home loans.”

“But you have to earn well to get a home loan.”

“And I could have got a home loan too, mother, but seriously - only a mug would invest in real estate in the current scenario.”

“You keep saying that, but Kersi Dabhodiwala’s son sold their flat in Vikhroli for over a crore!”

“Good for him. Not so good for whoever bought it. He’ll be lucky if he makes a rental that’s half a fourth of his EMI.”

“Ok, ok. You and your ideas. Ok, what is that figure there?”

“Annual pension.”

“How do they know my annual pension in August?”

“They take the monthly amount and multiply it by twelve.”

“But it will increase this year, no? And then arrears and…”

“A software prints this, mother. It applies a mathematical formula.”

“But that looks so less!”

“It’s a lakh, not a thousand.”

“Oh yes, that’s right! Not bad, is it?”

“Yes, mother, as we have now established beyond reasonable doubt, you have a very generous pension.”

“Why don’t we put some of our savings together and buy a flat in a distant suburb?”

“And what do you define as a ‘distant suburb’? Santa Cruz?”

“No, no, I meant like Mira Road or something.”

“Mother, we could never live in Mira Road.”

“Not to live, I meant as an investment.”

“Were you not listening to anything of what I was just saying?”

“Yes, yes. Ok, ok. No real estate.”

“Anything else you needed?”

“No, no, it’s fine. It’s not like I can expect you to want to just sit and talk to your poor old mother for a while.”

“Didn’t we just establish that you have a generous pension?”

“Arey that is fine, but I’m still poor in spiritual matters because my son won’t even spend a few minutes talking with me. Such days I am seeing at my age…”

“What age? You were crowing just last week about how you walked to Wadala Market and then walked back with five kilos of fish in your hands. You’re sprightlier than girls my age.”

“How do you know that? You weren’t here!”

“I have you in my Facebook friend-list, mother. If you put up these gloating updates on social media, they will be noticed.”

“Ok, ok fine. Mister Percy is all smart and stuff. Never thought I’d see the day! Such talk-backing you do now. You were such a sweet obedient child!”

“Not really, you called me some pretty nasty things even then, so I must’ve been rather a pain to you.”

“Meh, that’s true.”

“Fine. Let me know when lunch is ready.”

“All you do is eat and sleep!”

“I’m writing, mother.”

“Yes, yes, fine. But what are your plans exactly? Will you be looking for a job or will you be trying to do some bizness-vizness?”

“I got published too, you know.”

Acha, in that magazine thing you were posting about on Facebook?”


“See, I see you on Facebook too. Why didn’t you show it to me? Give me a printout.”

“Why would I show it to you? Anyway, if you really want to read it, the download link is in my post…it’s quite a good story, a lot of people have been saying really nice things about it – strangers, at that, complete strangers have been praising my writing, you know! Let me tell you what one of them said…”

“Yeah yeah, that’s all fine, but when are you going to start looking for a job? Are you going to look for a Bank job only, or…?”

“Mother, I left a Bank job because I had begun to hate myself more than I hated the job. I think I’d rather not jump into anything right now…”

“How long will you explore options? What do I tell people? Pernaz Vakil was asking just yesterday, what is your Percy doing? And so was Sylloo Udwadia. What answers will I give them? As it is they look down upon me because I am not pure-Parsee like them.”

“Tell them I’m a writer.”

“Ugh no, they’d laugh me out of the rummy club!”

“Mother, what does it matter…I’ll manage. I’m not asking you for money, am I?”

“I don’t know WHAT I am going to do with you.”

“Would you rather I moved out?”

“Where will you go? You won’t buy a house, so where will you go?”

“I don’t know, probably Bogota.”

“Bogota? What are you talking about? What were you involved in in US? Did you – what was that girl’s name? Anjali?”

“Angela, mother.”

“Yes yes, same thing. Is she a Colombian drug dealer’s moll? Were you a drug dealer?”

“Does anyone actually use the word ‘moll’ any more?”

“Answer the question, bloody idiot.”

“No, she wasn’t a moll, to the best of my knowledge.”

“Because if she is, I forbid you from talking to her!”

“She is not, and you can’t forbid me from talking to her. This isn’t the nineteenth century and I’m not a minor.”

Arey, then start behaving like a grown-up. Get a job!”

“I’m going for a walk instead.”

“It’s raining outside.”

“Good, maybe I’ll catch pneumonia.”

“No you won’t, if I know you at all. But you should buy half-a-kilo of onions, a packet of kasuri methi and two hundred grams of green chillies. Make yourself useful!”

“Yes, mother.”

“And feed the cats.”

“I am NOT going to feed the cats. Get Dilbur to do it!”

“Dilbur has a job. She’s gone to her lawyer’s office.”

“Fine, I’ll feed the cats too.”

“Well, go! Don’t sit here and waste my time. I have to Skype with Kernaaz in Boston.”

“Good bye, Mother.”

“Aren’t you gone yet, you useless, good-for-nothing…”


  1. Half the time, I was imagining Boman getting the tongue lashing in Happy NY, and the rest of the time I had to stop myself chuckling until my sides hurt. Keep writing, Percy?

  2. Must have read this four times already. It's not just that the dialogues are funny, you have written them in a way that makes one clearly imagine the frustrated yet calm expression on your face as you say them.

    Funny, yes. But sad at the same time. :)

  3. Ha Ha Ha. This was just too good.

  4. Hahaha! Percy - THAT was fun; and sort of resonated also at the end with the people close to you ignoring your writing bit :) For me, without the consolation of perfect strangers... :)

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