My eyebrows scrunch together, a sign of being bothered. Meera, my wife who has put up with me for 48 years of our marriage, shushes me instantly.
“Let it be, he’s already bothered,” she says, urging me to stay quiet.
“I was just going to suggest him to take EMIs,” I say a little loudly, hoping my voice carries.
“Baba, you really think I don’t know all this?” questions Satish.
“In our times, …” I start. I see Meera shaking her head.
“In your times, vehicles were cheaper. Even EMIs were manageable,” he retorts.
“Arre bala,” I say, “Salaries were lesser too, the ratios are the same,”
I see him fiddling with the laptop. In an irate manner, he pulls his sleepy 8-year-old Ridhu upright in front of it. Ridhu settles down zombie eyed.
Task at hand complete, he quips, “In your times, cars were made locally Baba, you didn’t have to import from anywhere. Obviously, they were not this expensive.”
“Good times, good times, Ford, Hyundai – such good times,” I reminisce, “Senior Automotive Engineer with Tata Motors for 38 years, bala,” I say proudly, my now bony chest swelling with pride.
“And what’s the point of being that today? What did it pay? Where are the jobs?”
Next to us, on the computer table, Ridhu slacks and hits the table with a thump.
“Ridhu, straight up. I am paying huge bucks for this Python coding kiddo, come on!” Ridhu whimpers.
I look at the father pushing his child to learn computer coding at the early age of 8. The answer to his question is right in front of us.
“And whose fault is that?” I murmur under my breath, as I walk back to the rocking chair. Beside me, I watch Meera go from slight reproach to outright rolling-her-eyes.