Hi! I’m Daniel. At 36, I’m a famous actor. Much sought after. An eligible bachelor definitely. You’d think I get lots of proposals every day. Actually, I do. But I live with my mother and she keeps me on a short leash. In her eyes, no one’s worth me. She’s not wrong entirely. What can you do when you’re perfect! But naturally I can’t let this hinder my prospects of starting a family of my own. I don’t mind compromising a little. But not my Mom. She neither compromises nor would she let me.
It’s not like she doesn’t want to see me settle down. She tried to set me up with some dates a few times. Nothing transpired. I didn’t like the arrange dating concept. I simply walked out and that was that. She wasn’t mad though. She just sighed a lot after that.
I tried to tell her that I’d fall in love when I fall in love. But I didn’t need to, for she understands. Actually, we’ve a very strong bond. We read each other well. No one would say I’m adopted. We’ve a tremendous rapport. We’re compatible I’d say.
But all that changed when I saw Rose.
Rose (sigh). She’s a beauty. Fair hair. Big eyes. Petite. Rose (sigh). She’s the one.
I saw her at the set of a movie. I had just given an important shot and was relaxing in my room. Mom was discussing the next shot with the assistant director. My Mom’s my manager. (No points for guessing.) So, there she was just outside the room. And there behind her was the most magnificent creature I’d ever laid my eyes on. Rose. I didn’t know her name then. I didn’t even know my name then. That was how much she had affected me!
I leapt out of the room and headed straight towards her. Who would you think blocked my way just at that moment? My Mom. She led me inside my room forcefully. And she wouldn’t listen to me. She was quite anxious by the looks of her. She was a little distraught too. I sensed all this despite my own anxiety. As I said earlier, we’re a team. We think like bees in a hive.
My Mom held onto me and shuddered a little as she narrated my next shot. I was supposed to jump off a burning building while saving my mate. I understood her queasiness. I perform all my stunts myself no matter how dangerous. No body doubles for me, thank you. I assured Mom that I’d be alright. That was the truth. It wasn’t my first risky stunt anyway. I’m a seasoned actor. Been in the industry for a while now.
With the shot preps commencing subsequently and Mom hovering in the background, all thoughts of my dream girl evanescenced. You see, a rush of adrenaline makes you chase the action, not the girl. I complied with my bodily needs of the moment. I had the added duty of being safe for Mom had made me promise that I come back to her in one piece. Oh the fuss! I wanted to scream. But I didn’t. Moms don’t deserve being shouted at in public. Neither behind closed doors, I believe.
So I performed my shot with finesse and left the studio. It was quite late by then and there was no one around except for our unit. I was disappointed as I got in the car and drove home.
The next couple of days were treacherous. I was hardly aware of what I was doing. Of course, Mom and I went for our regular joggings at the park. We kept our scheduled appointments at the salon. We read the scripts. (She read the scripts and commented while I feigned mild interest.) I was distracted. And as the days bled into each other, I started to notice that it was not just me, even Mom seemed a little lost. She wasn’t her usual chirpy self.
Not even when Rob came to visit us. Rob, or Robindro Ghosh as he’s officially known, is Mom’s ex-husband. My sort-of-Dad. Mom adopted me after they separated.
Usually Rob brings with him a cheerful and enthusiastic gust of fresh air in our house. Mom perks up every time he visits us and I too enjoy his company. He’s a great man. So why did Mom and he separate? A likely question I know. It’s a little sensitive. Not to us, but may be for others. But we don’t care. The three of us are a closely knit unit. We are friends for life, fending for each other any time the occasion arises.
But right then even Rob’s presence did little to alleviate our private sorrows. He did try to ease Mom with all earnestness. And I had the feeling that Mom would share her thoughts with him if I was not around. So I left the two to their devices and went out for a stroll.
I was right. When I came back, Mom’s mood appeared to have uplifted a lot. At least one of us was happier. I took heart in this and did my little to help Rob as he worked feverishly in the kitchen to whip up something delectable for dinner.
The following morning brought about a drastic change. Mom roused me up from my fretful sleep. She was hyperactive. The air smelled of coffee. She must have guzzled several cups of coffee for the caffeine to have affected her thus. And this was a first. I can’t remember her waking me up in the morning ever. It’s usually me who brings her the morning paper and a sloppy kiss to get her out of bed. Something was up I was sure.
She hurried me through my morning rituals and kept me on my toe. From her disjointed statements I gathered that we’re going to the studio. There was some change in the script and the director wanted to get my shot accordingly.
I perked up at the news. What if Rose was there like the last time? I felt my mood soar. Mom and I hurried and reached the studio in record time. We chose the shortest route to reach our designated section.
There was a flurry of activities around us. Usually I stop a while to savour all this. But not today. Every second I tarried seemed an eternity. I sensed a similar kind of urgency in Mom. She must have picked up my feelings without me having to declare my love for Rose.
Finally we were at the studio floor. Mom dashed towards the waiting area. Another first. As a rule she met the director first thing after reaching the floor. However, I didn’t get time to accost her. My attention was otherwise captured.
Rose was at the set. Just like I had wished for. It seemed the universe too was conspiring to get Rose and me together!
She looked even more beautiful upfront. I didn’t dare go too close to her for fear of making a fool of myself. But I kept close. She was wearing a Swarovski choker. And her eyes shone like two diamonds. Sigh. I wanted nothing more than to be next to her.
It was then that Mom intervened. She was nervous I could see. Simply not her usual self. I couldn’t figure why because my shot was an easy one. It was a chase scene where I had to run behind the villain in a car. Easy-peasy.
I noticed Mom give furtive looks to where Rose was. Could she have read my feelings? Did she know? It didn’t make sense. Even if she knew I was interested in Rose, why would she behave the way she did!
I didn’t get time to decipher the mystery as I was called for my shot. The scene was shot without any hitches and the director wanted us to do the next scene. This would be a love scene, he said.
I was taken aback. I do action. I don’t do romance. I tried to decline by turning my back when I caught an unfamiliar but sweet scent. Like roses. I turned and my jaw dropped. Who do you think was standing right in front of me? My Rose, of course. Not bad, Mr Director.
A lady came and stood beside Rose. So did my Mom. She stood beside me and the two women picked up a fight. I don’t know about the other lady, but Mom was mock-fighting. She was contradicting the lady in whatever the other said. I was sure Mom was deliberately doing this. In case you didn’t know, Mom can be very assertive if she chooses to be. Something was up.
I brought my attention back. The two of them looked like two different poles. And I thought of the case of lateral inversion of mirror. I know it’s not the correct analogy, but that’s what came to my mind when I saw these two standing side by side.
While Mom was petite, the lady was tall. Mom’s hair was like a flowing river, hers was clipped close to the scalp. Mom wore pastel, her colours screamed riot. You get the picture? They were opposites. Hence, the lateral inversion analogy—left for right and right for left. Opposites! (I know need to work on my analogies).
After a while, the director interrupted. Mom flashed her disarming smile. The director was disarmed. So was the other woman. She literally took a step back and looked down. Rose took this moment to step in front and cast a look at me. I was disarmed.
Amidst all these disarming, we somehow managed to pull off the shot and packed up. Rose left the set with the lady. Mom told me that the lady, Myra, was Rose’s mother slash manager. And we’re going to follow them. I stared at my Mom in utter speechlessness. She definitely knew what I desired. Love you, Mom!
We followed Rose and Myra to their house. They lived at the other end of town. It took us over an hour to navigate back to our end and an additional half hour to reach home. I was tired to the bones. So was Mom. But we’re happy once again.
The next morning Mom and I got into our jogging gear and got into the car. We were not going to the park apparently. She took some turns and we reached our destination. A park where Rose and Myra were doing yoga.
You guessed right. This became a routine until Rose spotted and recognized me. She was demure in her approach. No words needed to be exchanged between us for our souls had gelled. We fell into a pattern. Some days we visited their park, other times Rose and her mother joined us at our park. It was the best days of my existence and I gulped these moments like an air-starved man does once he breaks out of an air deprived space. (I really need to work on my analogies.)
The lovely days became lovelier still when Rose and her mother started coming to our place. They would drop by every now and then and together we would go out for our various appointments. All of a sudden we had become one big happy family. It was all so good that I started freaking out. Life couldn’t be all roses! (I also need to work on my puns. Rose doesn’t like my ‘rose’ puns.)
So, I was right. There was something fishy about the whole situation. Mom had admitted Rose and Myra into our lives but she hadn’t said anything about my relationship with Rose. It was like she was oblivious about us. She neither acknowledged nor denied our closeness. She was…. she was…. indifferent!
It was Rose who told me what was up. Everything that I thought Mom was doing for Rose and my benefit was actually meant for Myra and Mom’s benefit! Rose pointed out the obvious to me.
Myra and Mom. Mom and Myra. They were dating! Our moms—Rose and mine—were dating! Nothing ever could get worse than this. What was Mom thinking! What about Rose and my soul-gelled love story? My Mom was trying to make us siblings! Oh horror of horrors! She needed to see the truth of the situation for God’s sake.
I wanted to confront Mom. She couldn’t be so selfish. She had to be shown logic. Okay she had finally found her partner, but so had I.
I knew Rob would be no help. He was happy for Mom. I had heard him say so to both Mom and Myra. He had even given them his blessings and joked that he’d be the best man at their wedding. (Rose said it wasn’t a joke. She knows better about these things.)
Wedding! Mom and Myra’s. I couldn’t let that happen. It would mean the end for me and Rose.
A few days later I dragged Rose with me to the master bedroom. Mom and Myra were having a moment. Rose blushed. So did I. But I stood my ground with dogged determination.
“Do I need to adopt Rose?” Mom asked when she saw the two of us.
“I don’t mind. If you want I’ll adopt Daniel. Or whatever. It’s all the same. They are ours and we are each others’,” Myra said as she kissed Mom on the lips.
“You’re right. Actually I’d like the two to take a liking for each other. Is that incest?” Mom queried as she adjusted herself to the contours of Myra’s body.
“No silly. Dogs and humans have different constitutions. At least that’s what I think. You know you’re right. It would be nice if Rose and Daniel bred a litter of cute puppies. We’d be grandparents, no?” Myra said as she squeezed Mom.
We took the signal. We had been ordered to leave the room.
Rose and I left the bedroom and retired to our shared kennel in the adjacent hall. I was happy. We weren’t going to be siblings. So what if Mom married Mom? So could Rose and Daniel. I gave a mighty woof as I settled down with Rose to create some babies.
Sigh! A happy ending, no? Of course. When the soul gels, there’s only love and happiness. And the four of us have gelled. We’re soul-gelled. (Rose says I need to work on every aspect of my narration. She knows better).