When he returned to his room she was waiting. The hammer was still going, somewhere in the building.
"You broke the rule, Pappa, you went without telling me."
"Sorry. I forgot."
"I need to do number one, I could have gone first. Now I must sit in your smell." She paused. "Never mind, get dressed. They'll arrive any minute and blame me for not having you ready."
He held out the new shirt, his distal tremor making it seem as though he were shaking a flag. "The buttons are difficult."
It was a long-sleeved shirt, and she helped him with it. He inquired about the source of the persistent hammering.
"Edul Munshi downstairs, who else," she said, fastening the cuffs. "Only one maniac handyman lives in Chateau Felicity."
The doorbell rang as she buttoned the front. Nariman's face lit up: Roxana and Yezad and Murad and Jehangir, at last! His eager fingers tried to help with the shirt.
She brushed them aside and raced through the last few buttons, skipping a couple at the end, flustered about things still to be done in the kitchen. The Chenoy family always had to come on time, she grumbled, even in a heavy downpour.
Excerpted from Family Matters by Rohinton MistryCopyright 2002 by Rohinton Mistry. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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