Arun Kumar- that’s a generic name, thought Arun Kumar.
The kind of name that might be given to the lead character of a soap opera about a young man caught in the wrong marriage or about an innocent young man who gets killed when he accidentally gets caught up in gang warfare.
Arun Kumar was writing his name on an assignment he had to submit the next day at the college when these thoughts passed through his brain. Not that this was the first time that such thoughts happened to him. Many were the times when he wished his parents had named him differently, if for nothing else, at least so that he could introduce himself to some chick with more gusto. Somehow “Hi, I’m Arun” never struck him as as cool as “Hi, I’m Niranjan” or even “Hi, I’m Adarsh.”
“Arun, there’s call for you!”
It was his mother calling from his parents’ bedroom. The only land phone in the house was in that room. People rarely called in that number anymore, what with the cell phones making lying down almost anywhere and talking extremely practical. And when humans are given a chance between lying down and sitting up, no prizes for guessing which one they would opt.
Wondering who it could be who might be calling him on the land phone, he walked to the other room, not before slipping the stack of assignment papers into the blue file which he kept on the table, right beside the Bluetooth speaker which his dad brought for him when he cleared the exams last semester.
“It’s Kalpana! She said she has been calling your number for a while!” his mother said before handing the phone to him. Kalpana was his mother’s younger sister who lived just four doors away from them.
“My phone is in silent mode, I suppose,” he mumbled before taking the phone from his mother. “What’s it about?” he asked his mother even though he would soon find out from his aunt.
His mother shrugged but said, “She said something about a snake.”
Snake. The word sent an immediate shiver down Arun’s spine.
Though he would never admit this to any of the chicks he tried to bring into his ambit, the fact was that he was rather afraid of snakes. There was no particular reason for this- he has never had a nasty encounter with one of them creepers as a child. He was just afraid of them. He has noticed that the people who share this apprehension of snakes usually belonged to the oppsoite sex. Not wanting to come across as weak in any way, he has kept his fear of snakes to himself.
At least, ever since he has been old enough to enjoy the pleasures of masturbation.
But there was once, before that, when he was just 10 years old, when one night he had a pretty nasty dream involving him being chased down by a snake the size of a two storied building. The next morning, he had a slight fever. It wasn’t unusual for him to have dreams featuring snakes slithering after him, but it was the first time that a dream had put so much fear in his heart that it gave him a fever.
His parents asked him whether he had sneaked out to play with his friends in the harsh sun. Was that how he got the fever?
He told them about the dream. They didn’t have any reason not to believe him. They knew only too well how much he feared snakes. Parents always know the things that their kids fear the most and love the most. It’s just that there’s a whole spectrum of things in between which makes the kids develop tastes vastly different from their parents’- making them drift apart as they grow up.
To ‘remedy’ the ‘snake-fever’ as they called it, his parents sought the service of a Hindu priest who claimed he knew the secrets of the universe that you wouldn’t even begin to imagine.
The priest, after consulting with the boy for about a minute- looking closely into his eyes and listening very closely to the answers to his question- “How often do you have snake-related dreams?”, “Do you fear them when you see them in television?”- proclaimed the reason for the boy’s fear of snake with as much confidence as a late night telesalesman ssuriung you about the usability of a vibrating couch.
“Snakes are the only creatures that Brahman has made which could exist in multiple frequencies.” These words of the priest, spoken in a heavy yet subdued tone didn’t make much sense to neither of Arun’s parents. They didn’t pull themselves back from showing the bafflement either.
Frowns and creases appeared on their face soon enough. Seeing this, the priest added, “There are different frequencies of existence. Our plane is just one. The waking plane. Then, there is the plane of sleep that comes with dreams and also the plane of dreamless sleep. There is one more plane which is not necessary for you to know for the present purpose. Suffice to say that in all the planes that I just mentioned, the snake could easily move from one to the next.”
Even though Arun’s parents nodded, they weren’t sure if they understood what the priest said. Not completely anyway. But still they were satisfied that there existed an explanation for their son’s fear of snakes, even if the explanation wasn’t as crisp as the reasons for photosynthesis.
As for Arun, seeing how his parents got confident after their visit to the priest, he too assumed an aura of confidence- at least, outwardly. “See what the good priest said? There’s nothing to worry about having snakes show up in one’s dream. It’s only natural!,” his mother told him that same night as she had the boy sit on her lap.
Then why is it that not many people get snakes in their dreams as frequently as I do? was one obvious question which happened to Arun. But he didn’t raise it, not least because he was busy feeding on the yummy ice cream he enjoyed sitting on his mother’s lap.
As he grew up, such questions progressively abated from his mind.
But as he presently brought the land phone to his ear and uttered “Hello” he felt the questions surface in his mind again.
“Hello, how long have I been calling you!” his aunty began screaming into his ear immediately. Kalpana was his favourite aunt- the one who took him to the circus and the movies when he was young, the one who used to try out her hair styling skills on him- something which stopped once her divorce proceedings started.
“My phone was in silent mode,” he explained though he had a feeling that she may not be listening to him. She was never one for listening to explanations. She just wanted to let others know what’s on her mind- that’s all.
“There’s a snake in my backyard!” she said immediately. “At least, it was some ten minutes ago when I saw it peeking out from one of the water vents. I think it’s a baby snake but I couldn’t be sure.”
“Baby snake? Are you sure it wasn’t a chameleon or something?” Arun said hopefully.
“No, no, I am sure that it was a baby snake. At least, I think so…” It sounded as though she wasn’t as sure of it now as before. “All the same, I would like you to come and check it out. If it is a snake, just kill it!”
Just kill it! That made him almost laugh.
Not the words themselves but the way in which they said it. As though she wasn’t asking him to confront one of his worst fears in her backyard.
He gulped(making sure that he held the phone a little away from his face so as to ensure that aunt Kalpana didn’t hear it).
His father wasn’t around. He didn’t know where he went- probably to one of his friend’s places to drink- he did that sometimes when domesticity became too much for him to bear.
He wished he were around- that way, he could causally inform him about the snake problem at Kalpana’s place. He wouldn’t ask him to come along- that would be unmanly but once he told him about it, he would surely come along.
Sighing, bringing the phone back to his ear, Arun said, “Okay.”
Though Kalpana’s home was close by, Arun took his time walking over there.
He looked more like he was going over for lunch than with the intent to kill a snake. In fact, if it were lunch, he might have walked faster.
But there’s only so much time you could take in covering a distance of 200 meters.
Thazhuthala wasn’t the most developed place in all of Kollam-which in itself was among the least developed districts in Kerala. But one thing that has to be said about the sleepy village was that the roads were pretty decent. This made it even harder for Arun to slow his pace as his feet were carried easily over the well paved surface on the edge of the road.
Why don’t they make roads filled with more holes than road so that I could trip and fall over? I could then claim that I twisted my ankles! he thought angrily as he pushed open the gate to Kalpana’s home.
Kalpana’s was one of the most luxurious houses in the entire village. Three storied and having enough marble to make one wonder if the occupants had a marble fetish, the house’s front yard had a fountain, a statue of a dancing girl and a small lotus pool(which was devoid of any lotuse at the moment). Usually, there’s a sense of entering another part of existence which Arun got whenever he went there- entering a world that was filled with luxury and ease as opposed to his own home which, even though wasn’t exactly poor was nonetheless modest.
Nothing of that sense came to him now as he moved closer to the porch. In fact, the closer he came to the house, the more a sense of dread spread through his body. Before he reached the front steps, the door opened and Kalpana came out.
He was relieved to see that she didn’t look too disturbed or worried. At least, one of them should have the presence of mind in front of the snake, he thought.
“You took your time!” Kalpana said even though she was smiling. “Come on. Let’s go to the backyard. I just can’t sit peacefully in the house when I know that that thing is back there!”
Beckoning him with her hand, she walked towards the back door which was directly in the line of the front door. They were passing by the kitchen when she said, “Do you need anything?”
Arun thought she was referring to coffee or something. He was beginning to shake his head no when she added, “Maybe a knife?”
That’s when he realized that she meant a weapon that could be used against the snake.
Though a long and sturdy stick would be better than a kitchen knife, he thought a knife would still come in handy. He nodded and moved towards one of the drawers where he knew she kept the knives. Pulling open the drawer, he picked one of the biggest and the sharpest knives he could find. The knife probably hasn’t cut through anything more dangerous than a rotten avocado but it felt good to be holding it in his hand.
“Is there a stick of a wooden pole or something like that?” he asked.
Kalpana, business-like, nodded. “There’s one stick that I use to drive away stray dogs. I keep it in the backyard. You would find it right around the right corner,” she said, pointing in the general direction.
She didn’t move to open the back door. Instead, she took a step back, giving Arun the space to do that.
Though Arun liked the idea of having a stick to fight the snake with, he wasn’t too keen on stepping out into the backyard to get one. To do that, he would have to step over the water vent which Kalpana had mentioned on the phone, the one out of which the snake had peeked.
“Are you sure it wasn’t a chameleon?” he said, smiling as though saying he would totally understand if she had over-reacted. After all her nerves must be fraught- God only knew she had a lot to think about. A lot of emotions to tackle.
Kalpana, still business-like nodded her head. “Yes, I think so.”
Seeing that there’s no more stalling methods left at his disposal, he took a deep breath and opened the back door.
Three (marble paved) steps led down to the backyard. From where he stood above the first step he could see the water vent in question. It was just beside the steps with just a thumb’s width of distance between the side of the steps and the vent. The iron grill that covered the vent had panels with not even half a centimeter of distance between them. This gave him hope- surely, no big snake could come out of such tiny spaces?
As he moved his right foot over the vent, he had a sudden vision of a giant snake, springing up from the vent like a jack in the box, hissing violently and getting him on his foot with its giant fangs. Though the vision made his heart beat faster, thankfully enough, it didn’t manifest in reality.
Reaching the corner that Kalpana had mentioned soon enough, he found the stick which was more a wooden pole than a stick. With the stick in one hand and the knife in the other, Arun didn’t feel any more confident than before.
Gulping again, he reached back at the backdoor. Kalpana held the door as though she was ready to close it at the slightest sign of disturbance. Arun thought it would be a good idea too- if she closed the door, it would prevent her from seeing how scared he got when he actually came face to face with the snake.
“You can close the door. Stay in until I knock,” he said, trying to sound brave.
Though Kalpana nodded, she didn’t do anything of the kind. Instead, she just looked at the vent, as though directing Arun towards it, as if he has forgotten the sole reason for which he came over on a Monday afternoon when he was getting ready for lunch and siesta.
Knowing that the moment of reckoning had arrived, Arun bent and using the knife, prodded the iron grill open. He moved the grill further away from the vent with the knife’s edge.
Nothing happened yet. He could discern no movement within the vent.
A couple of moments passed without incident. He feared that the sound of his heart beating insanely might be heard outside his body. He looked at Kalpana but she didn’t give any indication of having heard anything, keeping her wide open eyes steadily on the vent, expecting the creeper to come out any moment.
And when Arun looked down at the vent again, the snake did come out.
It was, as Kalpana had said, a baby snake- hardly longer than the length of Arun’s palm. It was blacker than any snake that Arun had ever seen- including in his dreams and there appeared to be small grey lines that crisscrossed its body. The greyness of the lines wasn’t pronounced enough yet-he assumed that it would stand out in sharp relief once the snake was grown enough.
He remembered that his mission here was to ensure that the snake never grew any longer.
He felt a rush of adrenaline come with the thought and immediately brought the knife down. For a snake, the tiny thing was moving rather slowly. Its body had barely come out of the vent completely, the tip of its tail still coming up from the lightless black of the vent.
To his surprise, Arun found the knife slashing right across the snake’s body, slashing it in half. An even more surprise for him was how excited he felt about it. Instead of the paralyzing fear that he feared would overtake him once he confronted the snake, what he felt was a strange elation, a thrill at the idea of killing something potentially dangerous, something that may even kill him.
He wasn’t sure if this particular species was poisonous and if it was, whether a baby snake would have enough poison to injure him fatally. But it certainly looked dangerous as it swiveled its head and hissing furiously- too furiously for such a small thing, bit on the knife, which was in its baby eyes, the attacker.
At that moment, Arun felt both amazement and sadness in equal measure. Amazement at how furious the little thing looked as it fought for its life, sadness at how helpless it looked, clamping its under-developed jaws around the knife.
The mouth came detached from the knife soon after. And not much later after that, the upper half of the snake fell to the ground, where it lied like a strange shriveled vegetable stalk.
Its lower half lied a few feet away, closer to the vent. Spasmodic movements animated the lifeless piece, making it pounce from one position to another, as though it was trying to make its way back into the water vent.
To prevent just such an eventuality, Arun hastily covered the vent with the iron grill.
He watched fascinatedly until the spams died and both the pieces of the snake’s body lied still, ready to be burned.
Though he has scrubbed his hands thoroughly for about five minutes after burning the snake and burying what’s left of it, he still couldn’t help but feel a little yucky whenever he saw his fingers clasped around the coffee mug.
To prevent this feeling from ruining the drink, he concentrated on the content of the mug rather than his fingers whenever he brought the mug up to his lips.
It wasn’t coffee that was in the coffee mug. Instead, it was hot chocolate.
Hot chocolate was Arun’s favourite when he was a little kid- much to the chagrin of his mother who wanted him to have such nutrient-rich drinks as Boost or Moltova. But Arun wouldn’t hear anything of it, even crying if that’s what it took to get the hot chocolate when he reached home from school.
His mother blamed his father for the boy’s habit. It was Arun’s father who one day when the family visited the supermarket thought they would buy a box of hot chocolate powder, just to see how it tasted like. He had never tasted host chocolate until then and so got curious.
Upon reaching home, he fixed hot chocolate for the entire family. After just two sips, Arun’s father concluded that hot chocolate is a global conspiracy for it tastes just like shit. As for Arun’s mother, she wasn’t as severe in her judgment about the drink, she only said that “There are far better drink powders to be had from the supermarket.”
It was Arun who was flabbergasted by the taste- in a good way.
He too had his first drink of hot chocolate that day. He was expecting it to taste like chocolate, because it’s called hot chocolate, duh. But when the frothy liquid hit his tongue for the first time in his life, he found that it did taste like chocolate, but it was more than that. At the time, he was just 8 years old and therefore lacked the sufficient vocabulary to explain how it felt like. All he could articulate was that it tasted nothing like anything he has ever tasted before.
And from that first cup itself, he knew that it was a drink he was going to enjoy until the end of his life.
That particular realization turned out to be wrong. For he did get over his intense affection for the drink- when he was about 17, right around the time when he discovered another drink which was way more fun and which he discovered along with his other friends- beer.
But aunt Kalpana apparently didn’t know that he got over hot chocolate years ago.
She kept on making him hot chocolate whenever he came over to her home. Even now, when he was a 21 year old sexually experienced dude with a moustache that was his pride, she still made him the drink.
Not that he was complaining. For one thing, aunt Kalpana made the best hot chocolate that he could get around these parts. Not because of any particular skill on her part but because she brought imported hot chocolate powder, the really expensive kind.(what his parents brought him when he was younger was the Cadbury one which, while it’s not bad, couldn’t compete with the imported variants).
Arun let himself sink into the plush cushion of the sofa as he enjoyed the drink. Kalpana turned on the radio in the kitchen- when she cooked, it was her habit to cook to the soundtrack of the music from the radio. She wasn’t going to cook now. She was done cooking, she has told him.
Now, the music was to serve as the BGM for their conversation. Aunt kalpana loved to talk. Especially with Arun who was her favourite nephew.
She walked from the kitchen to the living room with a broad grin on her face. Notwithstanding her age, Arun often saw how she could look so much like a little girl when she smiled.
“Now that that snake is gone, I am feeling so peaceful!,” she exclaimed as she took a seat on the sofa opposite to Arun. She moved the magazines(an issue each of Vanitha and Grihalakshmi) on the coffee table as if to arrange them more neatly even though her re-arrangement didn’t make much of a difference. In fact, if anything, they looked even more haphazardly arranged now.
This was something that Arun has noticed in her since the divorce- she would rarely keep still. She would always be pre-occupied with something or the other. Even when they talked, she would sometimes be doing something with her hands, like knitting.
“I hope that the mother snake is not also around,” she said with a smile, as though it were utterly funny to think about a full-grown snake hanging around in her backyard.
“I don’t think it would be. Were it there, we would have seen it by now,” Arun was surprised by the confidence in his own voice. Not that he was sure about the veracity of his proclamation. But it did sound logically right.
Kalpana nodded. Arun wondered whether it was a response to his statement or was she keeping time with the new song that came on in the radio.
A Malayalam film music program was on. The RJ mentioned the names of the song and the film before the tune came on. Arun recognized neither the song nor the name of the film- he wasn’t much into Malayalam film or music, his taste veering more towards the American hip-hop music.
“You will leave only after lunch, right?” Kalpana suddenly said.
This was one other thing that Arun has noticed in her since the divorce- her proclivity to make statements unrelated to what she said just before.
There was a certain earnestness in her question, even a tone of pleading in her voice, which made Arun almost say yes. Almost.
But he refrained at the last moment and shook his head. “Mommy has already prepared lunch. I couldn’t possibly let it go to waste.”
Kalpana nodded understandingly. She lowered her head and continued nodding. This time, Arun was sure that she was keeping time to the music. The song had a rhythmic beat to it which was just a notch lower from a dance rhythm.
The fact that his mother had made lunch was not that big a deal. She would surely understand if she skipped lunch at home to have it at aunt Kalpana’s. But he was pretty bad when it came to dealing with people who were having emotional issues. And he knew that staying with aunt Kalpana for long would be asking for it.
“Would you like some more hot chocolate?” she said, seeing how his mug was almost empty.
“No, I would need space in my stomach for lunch,” he said with a smile.
Kalpana smiled back though the smile didn’t reach her eyes.
They made small talk for a while. Mostly about Kalpana’s kids. She had three girls, ranging in ages from 6 to 13. Once they all went to school in the morning, Kalpana didn’t have much to do at home, until the evening when she would begin to prepare some snacks for when the kids returned.
“Some days I would sit and watch the cartoon shows all day long. The ones that are Apurva’s favourites,” she said with a sad twinkle in her eyes.Apurva was her youngest child. “You know, the cartoons are way better than anything for adults. I used to watch the news but then it’s all so depressing. Cartoons- they are colourful, filled with joy. After a while, you could forget all the worries in the world and begin to just enjoy yourself, laughing at the ridiculous antics of a deer with an underwear caught in its horns or skateboarding giraffe.” She laughed, but the laughter was a couple of notches higher than was natural. As though she were laughing in a dance bar when she was tipsy and the song too loud.
The sound of the laugh made a bell ring in Arun’s head- one that said: Dude, it’s probably best that you leave now! There’s a good chance that things are gonna get even more emotionally weird from now on!
Arun acknowledged the wisdom in the bell. And he was ready to act on it immediately. Only, Kalpana began relating to him about the tribulations of having to bring up three girls on her own- Not the sort of monologue which he could break easily, saying, ‘Oh, that’s all good and well. But if you’ll excuse me now, I shall run home as there’s lunch waiting for me there!’
So he listened- somewhat. He has heard different variations on the theme multiple times before.He nodded at the appropriate places in the narrative, or at least, what he assumed to be the right places.
He was nodding when she abruptly broke her narrative mid-way through a sentence.
For a second, Arun wondered if it was something that he did which made her do this. Did something in his expression give away the fact that he was giving only partial attention to what she said? Did he nod at an inappropriate place? Maybe she said, ‘You are not really listening, are you?’ and he nodded immediately? He looked up to see tears forming in her eyes, making him believe that that was indeed what happened.
But she wasn’t looking at him. She was looking towards the kitchen. He followed her gaze to see nothing. Nothing out of the ordinary, that is.
From where they sat, they had a clear view of the back of a counter chair in the kitchen.
Sure, the chair’s backside was peeling paint and it didn’t look the most polished. But that was hardly reason to cry.
But then, Arun became aware of something else- a change that has happened recently: A new program has come on the radio. This one featured old Hindi film songs. And the first song of the program was the very famous ‘Thujhe dekha to..’ from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. It was while the first verse of the song came on the radio that Kalpana’s eyes brimmed with tears. Arun wasn’t aware of this but once he became conscious of Kumar Sanu’s sonorous voice filling the space, he had a feeling that aunt Kalpana’s sudden emotional dip had something to do with it.
He looked at her to have his suspicion confirmed. For the more the song progressed and the more Kumar and Lata breached into an emotional soundscape, the more she cried. So much so that there came a point when her entire body began shaking with the violence of her crying.
Arun was petrified, unsure what to do. He felt like an oaf just sitting there watching his dearest aunty break down like this in front of him. But then, neither did he feel comfortable moving to her side and patting her on the shoulder.Or something.
As an only child born and brought up in a micro-family, he has never in his entire life had to console a woman in times of her emotional distress. No sister whose husband scooted with another woman. And his father has been always loyal to his mother(except for the times when he drank a couple of shots more than he promised her).
He thought of calling his mother and asking her to come over. But then he remembered that he left his cell phone back home. He did the next best thing: he prayed to god for the goddamn song to end.
Thankfully for him, by the time the song was half-way over, Kalpana started getting herself under control.
Her convulsions subsided and even though the tear drops kept coming, she kept rubbing them off with the back of her hand, as though determined to show them a fight. She snorted a couple of times but she never audibly cried again.
And once the song came to an end, the last note merging with the voice of the RJ, even the tears ceased completely.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like to have lunch?” she said. The new song on the radio was a really old one: ‘Roop thera mastana.”
Apparently, the track didn’t affect Kalpana the way the previous song did. Arun wondered why that was. After all, this latter song too was a romantic number. More so than the first, you might say.
As though reading his mind, she said, “That song used to be our favourite. When the movie came out, we used to play the song at least five or six times a day, every day. And when we went for a drive or something, we would play the song in a loop. It took five or six months for us to finally get weary of it.” She smiled as she spoke. And this time around, Arun could see that the smile did reach her eyes, making them sparkle with memories of love-soaked moments from a life she would never have again.
It was the first time this day when he saw a genuine(read non-paranoid) smile on her face.
Looking at him, she asked again, “Are you sure you wouldn’t stay for lunch?”
Arun nodded in the affirmative.
Reaching home, the first thing he did was take a bath, though given the afternoon bath, it wasn’t probably the best time for a bath.
The thing was he still felt a little ‘dirty’ from the snake-killing that he did.
His father was home by the time he reached home. He looked positively proud of the fact that his son single-handedly murdered a snake. “Oh, it was just a baby snake!” Arun tried to downplay the case.
“But baby snakes could be dangerous too,“ his father said.
Arun nodded gravely, as though thinking, Oh, how absolutely reckless I was! He wondered if his father would give him some cash to reward the manly thing that he accomplished. He would like to have a whiskey party with his friends.
His father didn’t give him money. Instead, he said, “Come, let’s have lunch!”
The family sat together in front of the television for lunch. His father has spent the preceding couple of hours at a friend’s place drinking. So, his appetite was ferocious. Meaning, he ate a lot and ate fast. Understandably enough, after lunch he went straight to the bed to sleep.
After lunch, once the dishes were cleared away, his mother came back to watch some more television. A reality show was on. Arun’s mother was a sucker for reality shows. This one was a contest to pick the coolest singer. In fact, it was a re-run. The original show, his mother has seen the previous night. But you wouldn’t know that from watching here expression. Not only did she look happy, there was a look of anticipation on her face as though she didn’t know what was going to happen next.
Arun hated reality shows-whether they included songs or not. The way he saw it, such shows existed purely because reality- the real reality- became too much for the people to bear.
But having nothing better to do, he took a seat beside his mother and sat watching the show, letting it numb his mind.
He didn’t feel like going to sleep yet. His mind kept whirring- thinking about how easily Kalpana broke down and cried, thinking how fragile she was.
He wished he hadn’t bunked classes today. He did so because he wanted to finish an urgent assignment. On hindsight, he saw how he could have done that even if he were in class. (He was a backbencher and the teachers rarely walked down all the way to the back bench. He could have written an entire epic porno poem if he so wished without being disturbed).
But then again, if he weren’t home today, he couldn’t have killed the snake. Thazhuthala being a village with paddy farms and all, it wasn’t that unusual for someone to have to send a snake to the afterlife once in a life. But this was the first time that Arun has had the honor!
But though he was pleased for helping Kalpana out with the snake, he didn’t feel all that pleased about it now. In fact, he hardly thought of it anymore- as though the episode happened a couple of years ago instead of a couple of hours.
Instead, the memory that kept coming to his mind was of Kalpana breaking down at the sound of a song. And his subsequent inability to do anything about it.
He could still feel the sofa’s armest under his fingers as he had sat their petrified.
Arun Kumar- you’re useless! he admonished himself silently. He thought how silly it was that, earlier in the day he thought his name as the silliest name in the world. There was no reason to worry over a name- no matter how silly it was, well not unless it was as silly as Dick-chick Coc-klazer or something, which his name certainly wasn’t.
Really, there was no reason to worry over such simple things, not when life could make you cry by just popping a song on the radio.
Along with his mother, he sat watching the reality TV show for the next hour. And another one after that.