Fall on deaf ears
By Priyangwada Perera Ceylon Today Features
“Amma, can I go for Dimuthu’s birthday party?” Isha asked her mother. Isha, Roshi and their mother were walking in the garden at leisure.
“Oh, you said this time Dimuthu is having something really exciting as her birthday part, is it not?” Roshi was the one to speak before their mother.
“Yes, yes. She is planning to have a sleepover at her place. I am so excited about the whole idea,” Isha continued. Her excitement was visible in her shining eyes.
Before her mother could say anything, Roshi asked again. “What exactly is a sleep-over?”
This interference made Isha impatient. “Roshi, could you please let Amma and I finish this conversation before you jump in?” Isha gave Roshi a fierce look.
“Amma, it is okay for me to go, isn’t it? Please say ‘yes’, please say ‘yes’,” Isha pleaded.
“Stop making such a big fuss, child. I think it is better if Thaththa decides this,” Amma said.
As soon as she heard this, Isha shouted. “Oh sure. I will ask Thaththa and get permission in five seconds.” Isha who considered herself quite the daddy’s girl, was certain this would work in her favour. Mother said nothing and she went ahead with her work.
As fast as Isha disappeared to go in search of her father, she reappeared. Her face no longer had that smile. Her eyes were shining, but this time because of tears. Their mother took her eyes off the potatoes she was peeling and noticed the difference of Isha’s face. “Oh, your face tells me that the news is not good,” she said.
“Yes,” muttered Isha. Her eyes were now full with tears. “Amma, my request fell on deaf ears,” she said and her mother realized Isha was fighting her urge to cry. She quickly put the potatoes aside and walked to Isha. Little Roshi sat there, one unpeeled potato in hand, watching the whole scene.
“I am going to my room,” teary Isha croaked.
“Don’t worry. I will talk to your father. I promise,” she said.
Amma came back to the table and sat down with a heavy sigh. Then she realised Roshi was also in tears.
“Oh dear, no what is the matter with you, Roshi? Why on earth are you crying? Akka is in her room, crying. Thaththa is in the living room lost in the newspaper. My head is in a whirl trying to decide how to handle this and make everyone happy. And here you are. What are you crying for?” mother asked.
“I am crying because Thaththa is deaf. Are you not sad about it, Amma? I am surprised at how strong you are to take this news with such calm. Even when Thaththa is deaf, you still worry more about akka’s sleep-over. I am both impressed and saddened,” she said.
“Hey, what are you talking about, kid?” a very alarmed Amma asked. “Where did that come from? Akka is crying because Thaththa did not agree to send her for the sleepover. That is all. What is it about Thaththa being deaf?” she asked. But just as she said all this she realised why Roshi was asking this.
She confirmed by saying, “Why, akka said all her pleading fell on deaf ears. Now, Thaththa will have to wear a hearing-aid the way Seeya did,” she said as tears rolled down her cheeks. “Roshi, no, no. Please do not cry. Thaththa is not deaf. He is perfectly fine,” she assured.
“What Akka meant was that no matter what she said, Thaththa did not respond to her the way she wanted. It was as if Thaththa was deaf to her requests and pleas. Isha did not mean that Thaththa is deaf. But since Thaththa did not agree with anything akka said, it was as good as speaking to a deaf person,” Amma explained.
“Oh, really? That means Thaththa is fine? He can hear everything?” she wanted a reconfirmation. Amma was nodding her head furiously. What a relief it was for Roshi. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand. “Now, let me go and speak to your father. He is anxious to send your sister out for sleepovers because we still have to be cautious of COVID-19. We will discuss what we can do. Hopefully, this time my words don’t fall on deaf ears,” Amma said and both the daughter and the mother laughed at the misunderstanding.