She – Name sir?
Me – Abraham.
She – Full name, sir?
Me – M. P. Abraham.
Blank stare from her.
Me – The M is for his village name.
She continues to stare. I oblige.
Me – Mangalatakulathil.
She – Kya, kya, what, what?
Her eyes twinkled, as she locked eyes with me asking permission – my eyes shone back giving it – go ahead, laugh. I lead the way, flashed my molar off whites & she joined in. We laughed, a little at first, then louder, as much as we could or what we thought would be appropriate.
The echo of the laugh stayed in my body as I walked back from the billing counter. My email flashed, I checked it – the hospital bill – the echoes vanished.
Still, it felt good to laugh. I didn’t realise how much I needed it. All because of dad’s name.
As I sat in the room outside the operation theatre, I kept whispering his name and smiled to myself.