At the breakfast table my mother, father and I sat. Father was busy reading the newspaper while mother buttered the toast.
Suddenly, my father said, “Let’s buy a grandfather’s clock.”
“What!” my mother asked. For the first time she looked up.
My Father repeated , “I said; let’s buy a grandfather’s clock.”
Mother again turned her face down and continued her buttering. She said, “Why, we have a perfectly usable one left?”
I added, “Besides that, where do you think we are going to put it?”
Mother said firmly, “Oh, shut up, we are not buying one.”
Father became insistent, “Yes, but we can buy one, can’t we? It will be a very grand clock. And we do not have space problem as it can be added beside the wardrobe.”
Mother asked, “What the heck has come into you? Why this sudden interest in clocks? Do you think you will take up a job as a watchmaker somewhere?”
“Oh, don’t be ridiculous! I was just…” Father exclaimed.
And that was that. Father had got one of his fancies here. He gets them sometimes. In each one there has been a disaster in the end. Usually mother is stubborn but father ends up achieving what he wants. This quarrel would go on and on. I don’t mind and I really won’t be surprised if father did buy a clock in the evening.
Last time, he found the ringing of a church bell quite melodious to his ears. So, without informing anyone he actually bought one home. Mother was furious but she couldn’t do anything as father had even arranged for a man to tie up the huge bell from the ceiling of the dining hall.
Unfortunately he was a bit lousy that day and that night as we were sleeping the string broke and the bell crashed to the ground. One can imagine the horrendous noise it made. It actually brought Mr. Kunal to our house and he lives three doors away. That was unfortunate for father’s peace of mind as mother pestered him in a loud voice about this for days. I would just like to see how this one ends.
Today, was my holiday so no school. I eagerly waited for father as I was sort of sure he would bring a whole grandfather’s clock. But to my dreadful annoyance and to mother’s happiness he did not bring one.
But still a hope lingered deep down. When he and I were alone I went up to him and asked, “Father, no clock?”
He looked shocked, “Why, what made you think that I won’t bring it. You don’t suppose I’m going to carry it with me when I am returning from office. A delivery truck…”
Just then the doorbell rang. I and father dashed to the door to open it in case mother opens it and shoos away the delivery people. Mother looked at us suspiciously for it was rarely that we opened the door. Father attended to the details and with each word they said mother’s brows seemed to knitting themselves into a tight knot. She pursed her lips as she could not say anything in front of the delivery boys or else father would have had it.
Father and the boys set the clock up and mother opened her mouth for the first time, “You are sure that this would not fall or crash or something of that sort.”
“Oh, no doubt about that”, the boys assured her and after father had signed the cheque they went away.
Mother then said, “Well, do you have any sort of explanation to this? I told you at least ten times not to bring it in the house.”
Poor mother, did she not understand that father was not the sort of man who was going to listen to any amount of lectures she gave. It was a pure waste of energy.
Father said, “Ok, all right but see what a beautiful clock it is. It’s so grand. This should make up for my so-called foolishness.”
And it did. Mother also liked the clock very much but put a last issue, “Who do you think is going to remember to wind this clock every day?” Father also dismissed the thought saying that he himself would attend to the needs of the clock. So all was left to him and we went on with the regular routine. Mother did not talk to father although it was evident that she liked the clock. I however, was interested in what disaster would happen with the clock. But something very uncommon happened.
Anyway, all that I can say for now is that we were not used to the sounds of the clock and it was so loud to us that every time the clock struck an hour we were startled. I knew that I wouldn’t be getting much of a sleep with this clock. Anyway, we slept. Now, the next part is mostly mother’s version. I was sound asleep then. Initially I was having trouble but then sleep overcame all of the sounds.
Mother says that at night she slept well. But during midnight when the clock struck twelve, the twelve ringing sounds woke her up. She was decidedly irritated at being woken up that way. She was quite sleepy. But soon enough she realized that there was also another noise apart from the clock, footsteps. She got up from the bed and went at the dining room. To her utter horror there was a man there. She was quick to gather herself up and she shouted with all her might, “Who are you?”
The man was so surprised that he turned, broke a china plate and dashed out of the house. The noise of the crashing of china plate and her mighty scream woke father up. As he rushed into the dining room and saw the mess. He also gave a little scream but a heavy sleeper as I was, didn’t even wake up. They cleared away the mess and it was the next morning at the breakfast table that I got to know what had happened during the night.
Father said, “The clock saved us from potential danger, didn’t it? The thief seemed to be interested in a lot of things to have brought such a big bag. Didn’t I tell you that it was a lucky clock?”
All in all, it did save us. Maybe it is one of the very few things that father bought and was not turned out the next morning by mother!