About to enter my building, I met an acquaintance, ‘Hi dear, how are you?’, she asked. I blinked and then adjusted. You may wonder why. I had met her just twice before, so I did not really know whether I was really dear to her or not.
We spoke for about five minutes and then I went to my apartment. As I sipped on my lemon juice, I decided to check on my whatsapp. ‘Darl, how are you doing? Long time no see’, read a message from a school friend. I racked my brain for possible explanations for darl until it stuck me that darl was a short form for Darling. I know I am a Dumbo. But then I am quite daft. Neither is my English that good nor am I good in my vocal skills. And that’s why maybe I am being used by my family. ‘Rekha, can you please type my report’, says the hubby. ‘Ma, please check my time-table and see if I have missed out on something’, that’s the daughter. ‘Ma, wake me up at 8 sharp tomorrow I have football practice’, says the son and so on. I have become a maid for everyone in the family and only because I don’t speak this ‘hep’ English and throw my weight around. NOT ANYMORE. I had to be this modern woman like my friends, who know what to speak and where and who looked just perfect all the time.
‘Ma what have you made today’, screamed the kids when they came running from school in the evening and stopped short on seeing me. I was in my jeans with makeup and hair loose with my nails all painted.
‘Oh my dears, how was your day’, I said while hugging them and kissing the air.
‘Ma, you are fine na’, asked the son.’
‘Absolutely, baby’, I said.
‘Baby which baby, I am eight years old’, he quipped.
‘What is there to eat’, asked the daughter.
‘Hmm you can munch on some cookies or have some chocos’, I said.
‘I don’t want those, ma prepare some bhajias na, ‘said she.
‘Sorry darling I can’t. If you want though I have some soup mix, you can prepare some and have it’, I said.
The children shocked, settled for some chocos and milk.
‘Rekha, compile some data for me tomorrow’, said the hubby.
‘Sorry luv, I am busy’, I said.
‘What are you doing’, he asked.
‘Well our colony women are going to the nearby slum to distribute some old clothes’, I said.
‘That will take you the whole day’, he asked.
‘No, after that I have to supervise the maid, read the newspaper and follow the election news on TV’, I said.
He got the shock of his life.
And while I navigated between the darls and dears and luv’ the other three fumed. I heard the daughter saying to the son that I was going through a mid-life crisis and then I also heard her asking her father whether I was menopausal.
And while my skin glowed and the nails shined, the home looked as if a hurricane had hit it. Books were thrown here and there, clothes were lying in a heap.
‘Rekha, don’t you think you should do something about this’, the hubby said pointing to the devastation in the children’s room. ‘Darling, it is their room, let them be as they want’, I cooed.
‘Rekha….errr. this darling business looks a bit odd. I mean we are married for about 17 years now. …’, said he.
‘I thought you liked it’, I said.
‘I do …in our room. Not in front of the children or when we are in a gathering’, he said observing me closely, checking my reaction.
I just fluttered my eyelashes.
It was a Sunday. I had not been able to sleep the previous night. The result a splitting headache. The children were playing some loud music and I felt as if my brain would pop out. No body heard my pleas. I darled and deared but ho one heard until I could not take it anymore. I barged into their room opened the door and screamed, ‘Can you shut that music and what is this. is this a room or a hog house, clear everything in five minutes or you are gone’, and then I banged the door shut. The boy hopped and skipped to his father, ‘Pa order some food, let us have a party, ma is normal again’
No we are not refined people we belong to the dark ages, you might have guessed that by now.