Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rest in peace, mon amie

It's been pouring incessantly. And with it the temperature dipping. Mornings I peep from under my cozy cover and see a dark overcast sky through the curtains and promptly sink back under the warm duvet. Next moment I am up groaning and rushing to let in my chirpy smiling maid.

We watch the rains together for some time till I get into the shower and she gets the kitchen going. All this while, the man sleeps with a silly smile at the corner of his mouth. Probably dreaming of partying in Ibiza. I usually let him be and rush to work.

I like the feeling when I am out on the road heading farther away from home and there's a howling storm chasing me. When umbrellas overturn and little unchaperoned children are almost flown away. I hold my bag closer and watch the world.

I love the rains. I love this city in the rains. It took me two years to feel like this again. Two years to be able to look at blurred sheets of rain and feel the warmth.

On a stormy night, two years ago, a pretty young girl jumped from her 5th floor bedroom window and fell in a heap of broken bones. Life still hovering.

It was a Thursday night. Pasta and baked potatoes night. Yes, every Thursday when the mother skipped her meals, she made the family their favourite dinner. And joined them for dessert later. This night was no different. The daughter got home from work picking up sweets on the way.

After dinner, mom settled down for the sitcoms, dad took the dog out for a walk and she got busy with phone calls.

It started raining hard and dad hurried back. In the dark, he noticed a girl lying and realised she had fallen and was badly hurt. He rushed over and took her in his arms shielding her head from the rains. The dog was barking wildly. A few people gathered and an ambulance appeared. They scooped up the mangled body, which was still breathing and zoomed off in the dark stormy night, sirens blaring. It all happened in less than 5 minutes.

Next day, while the mother cried in my arms screaming at me "why couldn't you save your best friend?" and neighbours and relatives looked accusingly at me, the father said he'll never forgive himself for not recognizing his own dying daughter when he held her in his arms before they took her away. But how could he? I shrieked at myself. It was dark and raining cats and dogs and he has poor eyesight. And how could he possibly think of his laughing daughter upstairs when he sees a woman's broken body lying? And she had changed her clothes too, for god's sake!

Anger seethed in me when I watched her grieving parents. How could she be so selfish? How could she do this? And for the rest of the year and the year after, the rains made me feel miserable. I couldn't even pass her house or her street without nausea taking over. When the sky turned grey, depression took over me as I smelt death everywhere.

This year, it's different. Maybe the change in residence helped. Maybe other changes helped. But I am back to enjoying the beauty of this lovely weather. I am ready with my scrabble board and calorific food and all set to cheat the hubby in a fair and square game. Ready to grab the first and last hot pakora off the plate. I am truly happy as I welcome friends with steaming mugs of coffee and spicy rolls as we settle down to watching movies at home.

And at last, I have dug out pictures of my friend and laughed at the memories. The parties we went to, when she wouldn't eat the whole day so that her tummy sinks into her sexy dress in the evening. She wailed when I laughed at her. At last, I have accepted that my friend must have had a reason. I wish she confided in me. I don't know if I could have helped. It shouldn't matter any more. But I am praying she is at peace. Because I finally am.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

End of problem 2

I have a Tamil housemaid. She works part time. A short, peppy woman with chocolate skin and sparkling teeth. She loves talking, sharing her large and extended family's life and times with me. Though I understand not much as she mixes Tamil with her Hindi and a bit of English. Between these 3 languages, my house is cleaned and we get cooked food to eat.

She calls me Bhaaabi and my man Anna. Weekdays I am thankful as she gives Anna his bottle of warm water, which he gulps down first thing in the morning and then serves him tea in bed. And I peacefully leave for work while he gets a hot breakfast and I get a packed lunch.

And sometimes in between her stories she says, "Anna told me, no need to cook today. I am going to cook!" And I feel proud of my man. She then proceeds to peel potatoes and knead dough and I tell her, "He probably plans to cook something else. Forget the chapattis." She answers, "I usually help him with the washing and chopping." And I begin to wonder.

I go in search of my man and purr, "So honey, what do you plan to cook today?" And my prince who abhors domestic drudgery, growls "Why should I cook? Hasn't that woman turned up? What's wrong with her now? We pay her enough to cook for the neighbours too!!..."

I cover my ears and rush back to the kitchen, "When did Anna tell you he was cooking? He isn't, so get on with the chapattis!"

"What?? Ohh, Bhaaabi?! My husband, Anna! He's cooking at home today."

"You call your husband Anna??? Big brother???"

"Yes." She smiles shyly and I wonder how the equation works in her head.

Then there was the time when Anna said her kids education should not be stopped at any time for any reason. Yes, that's more like my man! "No, no, my husband said that," she grinned, white teeth blinding me.

And then one day, Anna told her 'not to come to work tomorrow' and I said 'okay' since we were planning to go visit friends the whole day. The night before I ask what time were we leaving and hubby says "Didn't I tell you, I have a recording tomorrow and then those other clients are coming home for dinner?"


"Why would I do that?"

Of course it was the other Anna at work.

I was lost for some time. Till I found the perfect solution.

She is no longer allowed to use the word Anna unless it's prefixed by "your" and "my" and she also has to make sure I understand whose husband she's referring to. So now she points forefinger at me and goes "YOUR Anna said..." and points thumb at herself"MY Anna did...". It's really funny but life has suddenly gotten much simpler.

Aah, end of a genuine problem!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

His turn!

Those who know about my lost cell phone will understand perfectly why I HAVE TO mention about hubby losing his second in 6 months. During this weekend! Trala lala la!

I am guilty of not feeling as bad as I should have. Over the fact, we are losing phones with alarming regularity. Instead there was an unconscious relief. Hah!

The difference is he upgraded and replaced the lost with the latest nokia in the market while my guilt had got me a sorry excuse of a phone. I am kicking myself hard.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Want a spare cane?

And there is my little nephew, okay, he's no longer little, who has been such a terror for the entire family. My cousin's kid. When he was indeed little, we would scram the moment we heard him anywhere in the vicinity. I remember the little monster climbing up to our terrace and sitting on the edge with his tiny legs hanging and his hands in the air mocking "Look people, no hands!" And if anybody dared to crane their necks, shade their eyes with a hand and actually look, he threatened to jump.

I secretly kept a cane handy to smack his hide if I ever got a chance. Unfortunately I didn't.

Once when important official guests were over, the poor parents cajoled him into playing in the guest room and quietly latched the door from outside. Surprisingly he never made a racket nor chewed down the door. And when the guests left, the parents opened the door to find him grinning widely, his bottom naked. The next moment they were seized with stench so terrible, they had to cover their noses and scoot. But not before they had a glimpse of the collage on the walls. Of poop. The monster crapped and used his pants to smear the walls, without dirtying his hands, mind you. Eeeww!!!

And over the years, the stories stopping coming, we heard he was reformed, civilized. Hard to believe. He lives in Bangalore now. We hear he got a job recently. So the example-of-perfect-son elder brother with wife goes to meet him. They wait, they look around for him. A slap on the back knocked the wind out of him, and big bro turns around to find himself looking into the face of... his little brother, of course. Except the face itself had about 7 piercings with horrendous rings hanging from them! When he spoke, 2 more studs gleamed on the pink tongue!

9 piercings just on face! No jokes! The kid has some balls! And I am suddenly proud of him. He's living a full life compared to his goody-two-shoes cousins!

Now, I am officially letting go of the cane, which I have been carrying in my mind!

Presenting my 'passionate' fren...

Sometimes I am amazed at the intense passion some people exude when they talk about something close to their heart and mind. And one of them is my friend, Mukta, who creates magic talking about the most ordinary things. And I am left wondering if I missed something...

Her latest passion is Randeep Hooda. The "D" guy...

If our dear Sush happens to read this, she would wonder if it's the same man she's supposed to be seeing...

Monday, June 13, 2005

End of Problem 1

When you have a seven and a half feet guest roaming around your house, would it be unfair to ask him to clean the fans and clear the cobwebs off the ceiling?

My house has lot of light and the light allows even a naked human eye a great view of all the dust and grime. So it's a task to dust and dust and wipe and wipe. When we agreed on white walls, ceilings and curtains for the house, it was also agreed that we would share the polishing and scrubbing equally and the compliments, if any followed. I am a fair person, you see.

Now much later, tables, chairs and walls within reach often get the duster treatment from me. But for the higher ups like fans and corners, I need to plead, cajole and bully the lazy man in the house. Whose helping hand is no longer extended or even given a glimpse of. Mostly it's tucked well between knees while pretending to sleep or crossed firmly over chest or engaged in punching the poor remote out of shape.

So, every time I have our tall friend around, I think of all that he can do with just a sweep of his hand. It struck me when the other day, while walking out in a hurry, he hit his head on the huge lamp hanging from the ceiling. The same one, I have been piling chairs and tables over to climb on to clean. At the risk of breaking a leg.

I have given hubby the option of moving his ass and wiping the fans and lights clean regularly, or I would call for his new friend's services and use his god given asset. Ah, problem tackled, such bliss!


What do you do when your friend is sleeping with a married man? A man she believes will leave his wife with whom he had two kids, and marry her? A man you know will never leave wife or family or anyone for that matter. A fact you explain to her as wrong to even wish for. Given there are innocent kids in the way.

A pretty common story. But it involves a woman who was once my closest friend. We drifted apart for other reasons but I did try to talk sense into her when we were still friendly. This is a woman who gave the best advice to other people with emotional baggage. Who has the most sensible opinions on the most outrageous situations. And yes, she has set up her own flourishing business.

But where her personal love life is concerned, she allows herself to be emotionally tortured. She's not even happy cause I have seen her weeping pitifully, roaming about like a zombie, and promising to have 'a talk with him'. But the moment the creep calls, she forgets everything and shamelessly goes to please his needs.

I just cannot understand what drives her... I just cannot understand why...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Women of another world

M was a wizard. She whipped up bizarre stories and planted herself right in the middle. My young mind loved it and learnt to follow suit.

So the women in the asylum were born. I did go to the mental asylum at Thane, Pune, Tezpur, Ranchi... or did I really go?

I clearly remember this woman who felt her head was too heavy. She couldn't even take the weight of her hair. So she was shaved bald every day. Even if a day's stubble was left, she would faint with the weight.

There was Meenaxi who decked up and sat like a coy bride every day. She waited for her husband to come and take her. She had forgotten what he looked like and kept asking everybody if they remembered.

Mataji, I think, was a painter. With strokes of her brush, she changed men into women and life into death. She gathered the women in the ward and told them the world was going to end but they needed worry. She would save them. She loved everyone but was scared. Whoever she loved always died. So she pretended to hate the women and pulled their hair and slapped them hard.

The scar on Tulsi's body told tales of bride burning. With her one good hand, she kept digging up imaginary pots of gold and ran to give it to anyone in sight "You wanted gold! See how much I got you. I'll get you more. Take it or else I'll burn you."

The most moving character was Ranibai. Stories floated that she was born at a railway station. She thought she was a railway platform. She hissed and puffed and waited patiently while trains came and went. She was there for every train. She couldn't take time off to eat and sleep for fear of causing an accident. She would grab a quick bite without taking her eyes off the imaginary railway tracks. Her station was too busy and so she had to be awake. Sometimes, in between trains, she caught snatches of sleep. "It's a hard life. But I am happy". She sighed.