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We are like this only…

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.

*fiction

 

Weird and weirder

Pinggg………. the intercom went and I was jolted out of my power nap. And I leapt to pick the intercom.  ‘Vellam Venno(want water)?’, asked the sweet water delivery man.

‘Venda’, (no)I said and looked at the clock. (yes, people, now I speak the second national language of Bahrain)

The clock showed 11.45 and I leapt. The father and the son would be arriving by 1.00 pm, and I had to make the meal ready. Normally cooking a meal does not take more than 30 minutes if everything was ready. But that day it was special. Special because I was making Rice, dal and gobi Manchurian. Now you can wrinkle your nose at the combination but then we are a family of weirdos and we have a list of weird combos too. So people don’t get all disgusted at SRK gobbling dahi-noodles. We at our place have even weird ideas though I am yet to try dahi noodles.

So it is dal and manchurian for us.  Who does mind if there is no fuss at the dining table.

But I am told that I am a mother hen too. No, not with my son but because I gather people around me. And so when we go out I get a namaste here and a salute there, the Boss raises an eyebrow and I grin sheepishly.

‘So why did the cold store guy salute you?’

‘Err. I gave him some idlis’

‘And the other fellow?’

‘I gave him sonny’s old jeans for his son…’

And so I am called a mother hen.

I have an uncle too. Who comes in about 10 am to rummage in the dustbin just across our lane. I don’t know whether he is unsound or whether he is a runaway or has his family abandoned him. We just smile at each other and exchanges notes..on the weather etc.

But then it runs in the family- the giving I mean. My brother used to buy books which he seldom used but distributed. My mother would employ teenage girls and then teach them while doing ‘their’ work. My father in law had a cow which refused to eat unless he offered her the first morsel of his plate. My mother in law as soon as food was ready would rush to feed a blind boy (the son of a domestic help) ignoring her own hungry children.

And my better half is not better. Whenever we need a medicine, it is never at home. Because it has already been given to the newspaper boy/ the car cleaner/ carpenter etc.

And still I am called a mother hen.

By then I had finished cooking. The duo arrived and it was sometime later that the husband entered. I could see that he was thoughtful.

‘What happened?’. I asked.

‘A pair of my shoes are missing.’

Alarm bells rang. A week back I had been chatting with uncle and I had seen his broken shoes and his heels bleeding and I had rushed back home picked up a pair of shoes which had not been used for some days and had given him.

It was a Friday and we were going out in the morning. Met Uncle, he and me waved at each other. As he passed by, the hubby shouted, ‘Chor’ (thief)and then realization struck and he turned to glare at me.

I was busy explaining the features of a Volkswagen Beetle standing close by!!

Truant!! :)

I know I just disappeared; but we needed the break. The chicken pox had worn us out and we needed the change.

Remember this post? well it was sonny’s fifth birthday this year and the last time when we would be doing his aarathi. All the elders in the family wanted to be a part of the celebration and so we decided to celebrate his birthday in Mangalore. While I flew down in the third week of March to India, hubby followed just before the celebration. And so all the organizing fell onto my shoulders which scared me initially but all went smoothly.

Each successive visit to Mangalore/India surprises me with the escalating costs (and exhibitionism). The previously simple aarathi ceremony had included games for kids (which I think is necessary for kids to be engaged or to be happy whatever you agree with) some years back but now there is an MC too. I met a few MCs but their attitudes (and their price tags) completely disgusted me. I searched for alternatives and then two enthusiastic teens of our family came forward to do the needful and were so innovative and charming that their exuberance charged the event. The end result the invitees had fun!! And the Host was pleased. Which makes my life easier. 😀

Although I miss family I am glad to be back home. The heat was unbearable this time and with no rains in sight; there is already water shortage in Mangalore.

So right now enjoying the luxury of power, water and……my own bed !!

POX’ed

What would you do if you discover some tiny red spots somewhere on your kid?

Heat Boils, the father said and I agreed. Why I agreed, was because that is what I wanted to hear. Though my mind, my instincts screamed Pox, yet I agreed because that is what I wanted to hear.

But when the scabs decided to erupt wholeheartedly the next day, I took charge because you see the whole night my mind had prepared me for it.

And I tell you it was not easy.

The fever, the crankiness, the itching; nothing is glamorous about chicken pox. The most difficult part is keeping a five-year old boy occupied and divert him towards something other than itching. And the questions, those are the toughest:why do I have this, am I a bad boy? Why didn’t my friends get it? Why can’t I go out to play? Why are you giving me these steamed vegetables and what are you eating by the way? I tell you people it is difficult to keep patience with questions.

At the end of the 11 days hibernation, we both had forgotten that a world outside the four walls of our home exists.

But then all is fine now and he has resumed school and exams. I have learnt a few things:

  • You can survive seeing just two faces in a day 😀
  • Steamed vegetables are tasty too 😛
  • When a kid is cranky a mom can devise new games and stories in seconds 😛
  • Blogging can revitalize you. Really people stuck at home with endless questions and endless chores, blogging gave me a much-needed breather.

And now that things are back to normal, should I take a break? *Thinking, thinking*