Rolu and Polu were invited for a business meet to an island resort in the Phillipines.

I, suspicious as ever, say to Rolu: “What kind of a business meet is that? Why are they paying for your air ticket? And Polu’s as well?”

I say: “You know, anyone can set up an impressive web page. Or get a journalist to write nice things about them. But will you call up a few people and check if this company really exists? That it’s not a front?”

I say: “Empty all your bags, check them thoroughly and then re-pack them, before you come back. What if someone slips in a packet of drugs in your bag when you are not looking?”

I say: “What if the person you are going to meet asks you to bring back something for him? What are you going to say then, haan?”

Rolu says: “I won’t accept anything unless I open the package and see what is inside.”

I say: “Will you please not wander around at night? It’s a strange place, after all. A strange country.”

I say: “And don’t drink too much. Better still, don’t drink at all. If you have to drink, come back to your room and drink, OK?”

Dhanno says: “Rolu Mamu is not a kid, Mama.”

I say: “Yes, I know.”

He’s taller than me, bigger than me. Presumably, stronger than me. But to me, he is still that puckered up, dark, ugly little bundle lying next to my mother, whom I was taken in to see at the hospital, as a little girl.

Teja, chivalrous as ever to the women folk in the family, says: “If you are so worried, ask him to go alone. Not take Polu. That way, if anything happens, he can leave, fast.”

I say: “No, if anything happens, and he is alone, he’ll panic. Polu is more careful.”

I say: “Can you at least make a list of some references there? People you know. People you can call in case of an emergency.”

So, duly fortified by more advice than they needed from me, Rolu and Polu left for the Phillipines, last week. And they will soon be back. Without having been drugged, robbed, or assaulted.

20 years ago, I would have packed my bag, and said: “Can I come too?”

But some pretty severe punches on the face by none other than Life, and having Dhanno, have made me into a real worrier. Oh well, the way my mind works, I can always get a job in TV news reporting.

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