Cradle of Love

As I paced down the flyover on my bike, I saw two policemen following me, on the rear-view mirror. One on the pillion waved his truncheon and instructed me to stop. I twirled the accelerator, taking no notice of his actions.

"We can't escape. Stop….Stop! " Carlos echoed from the pillion

As I decelerated and pulled over, my phone blared and my body shook in a shudder ending the reverie. From where do dreams creep into sleep, I wondered, opening my eyes to the bright daylight.

"Aaah….what a way to be pulled out of a Sunday morning nap!", I groaned, as I grabbed my phone and swiped the screen left.

"You in town?" -  Balu's voice inquired on the other side

With the intoxicating tinge in my throat and my head cracking, I said, "Yes"

Come down, I am coming in a couple of minutes”, Balu ended the call

"Were you sleeping?" his face broadened in a smile, as I descended the stairs in a sullen mood.

Balu stood there in his orange capri trousers and white shirt, sporting a paunch. He appeared a perfect representative of the middle-aged, middle-class men folks of Tamil Nadu

"What's the matter?"

"We have to pick up a cradle, I just got that on OLX"

"Why ? You don't get sleep on the bed, that you have to be rocked into slumber!" I asked irritated

"It's for my little baby. Come, lets go. It's getting late"

I climbed on to Balu's bike, it groaned to start like an agonizing animal. Balu stood there listening to the sound in rapt attention.

"What are you waiting for ?" I asked impatiently

"The bike has to be accelerated from rest  atthe sweet spot when the engine noise dips. Otherwise the ride becomes rough, even worse, the engine goes off suddenly"

It took a couple of attempts before Balu could hit the sweet spot and roll the wheels down the road.

"Also, never apply brakes on this part of the road, you will bite the dust" Balu offered his road wisdom pointing to the gravel on the road side.  

"How long are you going to battle with this bike, Balu. Get another one" I said as we passed the liquor shops on our right.

"It gives 75 kilometers. I don't want to change it now. Let me see"

Balu took a nuanced and calculated approach in life, accounting for all the subtleties without fail. From job to  marriage to having a child, he did it with the precision of hitting the bull's eye.

We cruised along the lazy Sunday roads, as Balu indulged in his usual thought provoking conversation.

"You are not working today?"

"Today is Sunday, Balu"

"As a hard worker, you should be working!",  Balu broke out in a boisterous laughter, teasing me.

I remained silent.

"What is your opinion on the recent developments in our office ?"

"I am an opinion-less idiot" I said 

"It's like a circus. Though there are a lot of adventurous shows with unbelievable twists and turns, what stays in the mind, at last, are the buffoon’s acts" Balu philosophized

At the post office, Balu took a left and moved on  the street leading to the Perumal temple. He negotiated a sharp right turn and entered a narrow street where construction materials were dumped at the center of the street.

Parking the bike near the gutter, Balu climbed the stairs of the house painted white pulling up his capri trousers, and returned holding a bamboo basket that looked like a large soap box.

"We may have to make a couple of trips. There is a stand too"

Balu brought a structure about six feet high, which had hooks on sides of the frame. Once placed on the hooks, the cradle can be swayed into a rocking motion.

"We can take both at one go. I am getting late" I urged

Balu sat with the huge setup facing the back. Two old men smoking beedis on the construction site prepared themselves to render help  anticipating our downfall.

I ignited the engine and waited for the engine to hit it's sweet spot. I slowly turned the accelerator and the wheels rolled. As the bike  thrusted forward, Balu lunged and lost his balance. In a split of the moment, Balu dropped the cradle and staggered along the street landing on his palms.

The two men, their predictions proved right, rushed towards us happily. I sat on the bike, enjoying the scenea perfect revenge for spoiling my nap, I thought in  satisfaction.  

Balu stood up and tapped the dust of his Capri trousers.

"I have none to blame, other than me for calling you", Balu muttered staring at me

We did two trips and transported the rocking cradle to Balu's home. As we finished the task,  we stood in the corner of Balu's street.

"A new one costs 2000, and I have got this for 1300. Now, she will sleep better" Balu's eye glowed in fatherly love

"Next, I'll have to make arrangements for building a house" Balu glanced at the sky in hope

"Come to my home for lunch", Balu's voice turned kind

"I'll come some other day"

"Why? Come today, there is crab and fish"

"I am reading a bit. I feel like continuing it for  some time" I smiled

“Reading or drinking”, Balu winked

“Both offers a new perception of life” I winked back

I ascended the stairs to my home to catch up the lost sleep. In the afternoon dream, I saw, Balu’s unnamed daughter sleeping peacefully in her father's cradle of love.
Cradle of Love Cradle of Love Reviewed by Naveen on 21:36 Rating: 5


  1. The subtle details have been captured well.👌🏼

    "Reading or drinking - both offers a new perception of life..." 😂 💯
    Already a fan of your style of narration! 😎

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