He didn’t like the way his name sounded. Blaskovich.
It was too drab.
So, a little while back he decided to change it.
He put a tiny bolt of lightening above the ‘v’, so that there was some sort of stress on it. You had to say it by slamming your fist on the counter. BlaskOVIch *thunk*.
Blaskovich was tall, broad and ruggedly handsome even for his 80 years. He was wearing a white shirt, even whiter hair and eyes with little stars in them.
And he wanted to talk.
He spoke about his days in the Air Force as an airman, about how he met his wife for the first time, “I had a friend who was going out on a date and he said that his girl had a friend, and maybe I should come along, so I said yes. We reached a little early and were waiting for the girls at the back entrance of this club, and that’s when I started to panic. What if she was fat? Or not at all nice looking? I was only 21, you know. And then I saw her. Standing in front of me. And I just knew she was the one”. He married her, but only after two years of living on separate coasts and not seeing each other for sometimes as long as 9 months. He quit the Air Force, moved to New York, became a fireman, had children, then moved to a small town and opened this shop which I had walked into after seeing an aeroplane hanging in the window outside.
We struck up a conversation because he asked me my name. When I told him my name, he asked me where I was from. “Bombay”. “Isn’t it Mumbai?”. I said sure, but I like Bombay better. Then he decided to break it down for me, why Mumbai was better. It had more strength of character, it was bolder. That’s when I asked him his name. And he taught me how to say BlaskOVIch *thunk*.
Mina doesn’t like the tea I make.
She doesn’t like the way I keep my books stacked either.
She likes to rearrange my furniture every few weeks, to ensure that my aneurysm keeps going strong.
My apartment is as much hers as it is mine. She’s been with me ever since I moved out and I’m certain I’d crumble without her. She’s calm, collected and quiet. We’re like chalk and cheese.
The other day it was her idea to send all the upholstery for laundry because I was having one of my sneeze attacks, where after a point, my head rolls off of my body and lies on the floor staring at the rest of me in disbelief.
So we were doing that. Ripping off cushion covers, folding them, and then going for the curtains.
I don’t know why, but I asked her why she hadn’t gotten married again. I knew she had lost her husband when she was very young, but she’s 31 and all kinds of amazing, so why not get married again?
“I didn’t feel like it.”
So I said “Ok.” hoping I hadn’t upset her.
But she hadn’t finished.
She said she’d met him when she was 14. And they fell in love. Their families decided they should get married when she turned 17. They did. It was perfect. She was young, completely in love with the man who she was going to spend the rest of her life with. After 4 years, he got diagnosed with cancer and was gone in a few months. Her heart broke. And she has not wanted to fix it.
It took a lot of strength to not cry, because she was talking very matter of factly and didn’t seem hurt. She had stated a fact. I was afraid to say anything, fearing my voice would quiver. She added that some people go through their entire lives looking for that perfect love, and she had already had that, for a little while, and she was happy with it. She wouldn’t know what to chase even if she tried.
The wisdom of black and white.
Of young love being bottled in a jar for 17 years….. and counting.
“His plane was called Glamorous Glennis, after his wife”
We were talking about Chuck Yeager and his X-1, with which he broke the sound barrier in 1947.
That’s the thing about my father. He remembers everything…… if it interests him.
“What subject did I graduate in?”
Ask him that.
But that is my business, and he really doesn’t have much to do with it. He has a precise way of storing information. And my graduating in Psychology doesn’t fit in there.
He has the reflexes of a ninja, but leaves his shades at ATM’s, cinema halls, cabs, hotel rooms, banks, hospitals, offices.
It took a while for me to become friends with him. He was always flying when I was young, so I barely saw him. Then I think we both grew up, I got to see more of him, and hang out with him, and he’s a star. I’m sure every daughter says that about her father. But, fortunately for me, the sentence holds true.
He’s the sorts to ask me what I’d be doing on a particular day, I’d say “Working.” and he would proceed to gloat like an archetypal villain and tell me how he will be deep sea diving somewhere near Zanzibar, and how on that miserable Monday when I’ll be in Marol Naka, he will watch the sunset, cradling a beer.
He hates tattoos, but has always said “That’s pretty”, every time I came back home with fresh ink.
All eleven times.
I could almost see him cringe.
He has only always called me ‘pet’ or ‘sweetheart’. If he ever called me by my name, it would mean one of two things.
1. I failed in school
2. I failed to file my taxes.
He likes Leonard Cohen so much, that the rest of the family hates him.
He believes in road trips, leaping off trains, surprises, music, the sea, aircrafts, a good movie, ancient ruins, rum & coke, mirror finished aviators and ordering the worst food at a restaurant. He’s the perfect dad.
Three stories I can’t stitch together.
Three people who said things which I will always remember.