Chapter 23 - House Move

The Prime Minister of Tawa — 23

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Judy and Heather had gone to Urushambo’s house to have lunch with Barbara and her children.  Judy was not sure if it was a good idea to tell Barbara what was happening. The only other option she had, was to get Mash to talk to a psychiatrist. But that was too risky. Even assuming that Mash was willing to talk to a psychiatrist, there was no guarantee that the psychiatrist would keep his mouth shut. It wouldn’t do to have word leak out that Mash was having nightmares about General Naranin every night. But something had to be done. It couldn’t go on like this – for Mash to wake up every night in a cold sweat or shouting his father’s name.

‘I really don’t know what’s to be done,’ Judy confessed to Barbara after they had finished dessert.

‘You’re saying that he used to have these nightmares even when you were in England?’

‘Yes, but it was never so often. Maybe once or twice a month. After coming to Tawa it became a lot more frequent. And after we moved into the Residency, he has had this nightmare practically every night, sometimes more than once. He can’t possibly carry on like this for long.’

‘Do you mind if I tell Urush about this?’ Barbara asked. ‘He may know what to do. After all, he knows Mash quite well.’

‘Why not?’ Judy said after a moment’s hesitation. Barbara was very likely to tell her husband in any event.

A day later Barbara called up Judy to give her an idea. ‘Urush says that Mash should move out of the Residency.’

‘But how can he?’

‘Urush thinks that the Residency should be converted into a museum. Since Seleem-raan lived in that house, it ought to be made available to the public. A museum dedicated to democracy or something.’

Judy was sceptical, but passed on the idea to Mash. ‘So you did tell Barbara about this, did you?’ he asked, looking none too happy.

‘I had to do something honey. You could not have carried on like that. You’ve been talking to yourself in your sleep every night. And then you wake up at two o’clock practically every night. Do you think Urush’s idea might work?’

‘It might, I don’t know. Let me think about it.’ Mash wearily walked off.

The next day when he put forth the idea to the bureaucrats in the Prime Minister’s office, they all thought it was a brilliant idea. ‘We’ll first build an equally big house for you to move in, Maheshdas-raan,’ they said.

‘Nothing doing,’ Mash responded, a germ of an idea in his head. ‘We are a poor country. We cannot afford to waste money on buildings for politicians like me. My father would not have approved of it.’ He had them look for a decent house which was as far away from the Residency as possible. They found a five bedroom bungalow owned by a Chinese businessman who was planning to put it up for sale and go off to Singapore where his children had settled down. It was around five kilometres inland and did not have an ocean view, though the Quaree River did run close by and one could see the boats in the river from its terrace. It was only one-fourth the size of the Residency. Mash had the government buy the house and moved into it in less than a month’s time. The process of converting the Residency into a museum began almost immediately.

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More by :  Vinod Joseph

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