Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Non application of mind.

I am often accused of a very serious crime: Non application of mind.
Take this for example…..
One morning when I was busy with yet another mindless crossword, I get this call: “you know ML Roy?” without waiting for a reply he continued, “the shop near triangular park.”
“Yes, yes,” I replied, I didn’t want to sound like a fool.
“Can you go there and find out if they have a rain shhhr shhhr…….” The cordless crackled.
“Eh, can you say that again?”
“you know a rain shrrr shrr…crackle crackle…shop…..”
“Eh”, only I said it in Bengali and as any Bengali will tell you its impossible to reproduce in any language, much less in a limited language like English…
“ok, don’t bother, I can see you are not thinking…I’ll do it myself.”
“no, no, you tell me once more, I can’t hear you”
“it’s ok,. You don’t have to do anything, I will manage…”
So I call my husband and narrate the conversation.
I learn that ML Roy is a renowned sanitary ware shop. (I had no idea, it’s not like I go running about buying commodes everyday…..)
And I was told:
“rain shower, cant you understand rain shower? Couldn’t you figure it out? You just do not apply your mind.”
“so should I go and get one?”
“Do what you want, don’t disturb me, I’m busy.”
So I look up the yellow pages, call up some sanitary ware shops, find out if they have a rain shower and arrange to pick it up and have it installed.
Now if anyone asks, I am a minor expert in rain showers, they have an arm and can be square, round or rectangular. The sizes vary too. And the water falls like big fat rain drops…hence the name.
The more I live the more I learn.

Or take this instance. My mother calls.
“you don’t talk to me anymore……you know the other day I called the girls and they just returned from school and they were having curd and rice…can you imagine, only curd and rice.” (Sure, Ma, on a hot day at 3 in the afternoon, it’s a crime) “they need nutrition, they are not getting enough nutrition, you want them to be tall…and when you were small I always ensured you ate fish curry and rice, it makes your brains open up” (no Ma, didn’t work on me, either the height or the brains) “and they should have eggs, have you seen what proteins they have and you don’t buy any fruits for them, when will you learn about a balanced diet and you give them that worthless maggi blah blah blah ….” I resign myself and listen…words beget words, so I shut up and listen…or continue with whatever I am doing with a few mumbles, then my ears perk up “…..haven’t been paying the rent”
“Whoa, stop, what rent, who has to pay?”
“Obviously the tenant, you think I’m talking about the girls, you just don’t like to think.
Ah. There we go again.

Or take this.
We’re at this fancy shindig party and everyone is busy kissing everyone’s cumulative backsides….we have to attend these social dos a lot. And I spy some friends in a corner, and make a beeline for them. On the way I have probably ignored the chief guest and looked through the host but I am undaunted. I have my drink in my hand and turn with the latest gossip that I heard on the way to the party, “You know, X’s wife ran away with her gynecologist…that old pervert ….” I feel a hand on my arm. I hear silence. X is standing next to me pretending to admire some flowers. My friends take me away. My husband says “you just don’t look around you and you don’t think.”

So the next formal do I go to, I resolve to be quiet. But what does a gal do when she’s decided to shut up? She drinks. One thing I’ve been blessed with is a strong constitution when it comes to alcohol. I can put away amazing quantities and not appear drunk. I am a quiet drunk. So I quietly sms my husband, skip dinner, or forget all I have eaten and go home. Only in the privacy of the car do I admit I may have had too much. Hubby grunts, drives home and sends me to bed. I lie in the dark and think I’ve escaped this one…….
Oh no. Next morning I’m looking at life though a jar of Vaseline, my tongue feels like it has been scraping paint off the walls and a marching band is playing in my head and my husband says, “you were drunk last night” (Bingo!) “ at these formal places you have to act like the other ladies and chit chat in the corner…you don’t think about these things.” I groan and say I’ll fight about it tomorrow; I’m just not in the mood today. Thankfully, sweetly, he gives up.

At the Bar Library, I’m the last to understand the bawdy jokes. I’m the one who gets kicked under the table when I launch on yet another embarrassing story and the one who’s glared at for speaking out of turn.
I believe I am at an age when I can say what I want and get away with it…because by now anyone who knows me knows what I am and the ones who don’t can go hang themselves for all I care!

A lost cause? Or just guilty as charged?

Monday, July 5, 2010


“Ma, Ma, can I not have my egg today? And there’s ‘shor’ in my doodh…yuck…and I said I don’t like Complan…can’t you get Milo? Please Ma. And Ma, Suhasini wants to have a dog, can we get one too? At least a kitten? And you know Suhasini’s father said he cannot teach her Sanskrit…I told her that you once got 3 out of 100 in Sanskrit. …do you think Miley Cyrus wears baby dolls to bed? When will you get me those socks, Ma, you know the ones I wear have become too small. Ma, you are not listening…I said I need bigger socks…Ma, Amisha is sleeping at the table. And I need chartpaper, don’t worry I’ll take six rupees from the tray and buy it myself in school. And Ziggydidi said when Amisha’s friends come on Sunday I can go and watch ‘Legally Blonde’ with her because Amisha’s friends are sooo naughty and VERY irritating and I do not want to be here… and you know all my friends are afraid of Amisha and her friends, you do like Selina Gomez, you remember her, the girl in that movie we saw at the hospital…and Ma, yesterday Amisha and Subhika made Ziggydidi chase them in the rain..do you thing Ziggydidi has a cold today? And NOBODY scolds Amisha,, even you don’t tell her anything…I AM eating…and you need to get another toothpaste, something minty. I like minty. And where’s my badge, AMISHA where is my badge, oh yes, it’s in my yesterdays uniform. Ma, do you think I can also call Tatjana and Suhasini on Sunday? Hey, have I taken my Arith CW book….ah there it is….And you said I could have chewing gum, so where is it? And my friends loved your cake, can we have brownies? Yuck you gave me sandwiches again today……Can I watch TV when I get home……..”
That’s Isha for you in the morning…a non-stop prattle jumping from topic to topic that goes on and on till she’s out the door. I just grunt in desperation while Amisha sits and groans and wishes she was back in bed…But a thousand grunts or shut-ups cannot quell my elder daughter’s tirade…. Not being a morning person, I stumble to the kitchen to make their tiffin and save for a few “shut up"s and “hurry up"s, bury my face in the morning Sudoku and wait for the storm to pass….In the 50 minutes it takes for them to have breakfast, get ready and leave for school, I am a wreck, praying for quiet…. Amisha sits at the breakfast table staring at the food and willing it to disappear until one yell from me gets her moving…Then she wants to jump back into bed and pretend it’s a Sunday….
I growl. I grunt… I yell. I resolutely tie their hair, pin their badges, ensure that they have brushed their teeth (Amisha’s the slacker) and mumble a quiet “bye”. They leave and peace descends…..softly, and I have ten more minutes before my day begins……..