I wake up late. It is Sunday after all. As I open the bedroom door, my thoughts are solely about the cuppa that will shortly be in my hands. Yup, without imbibing the elixir that uplifts, my day can never ever have a start. I am listless and hopeless too, literally balking at the day ahead until and unless the system is appeased with the brew that cheers, chai.
As soon as I step outside the bedroom, Luci who has been waiting patiently jumps up to greet me. That peps me up for a while. It is amazing how dogs make you feel by their enthusiasm on seeing you. My face lights up in joy, and I chirrup to her, my lethargy forgotten for the moment. Strange indeed are the ways of showing affection. In Bollywood they break into a song and do calisthenics. Luci on the other hand shows hers by jumping up and trying to topple me over. If she can, she packs in a few nips too.
I make it half way down the stairs and then sit down to have a serious cuddling session with Luci, who is still excited about the fact that I have survived the gruelling sleep session at night and am back with her in one piece. That is when I look down and notice that the sitting room looks all spruced up. Wow, someone’s been doing some cleaning up. No prizes though for guessing who has been at it with broom and duster. Obviously it is not I because I have only just woken up. It certainly is not Luci either. Her job is to litter the room as much as possible and thus keep her ‘slaves’ in shape, not that it is helping any in my case.
Anyways, that leaves the L & M as the only choice. It is indeed he who has been up, with the lark, and been quite the busybody. There is a stack of ironed shirts and trousers on the dining chair to prove how industrious he has been. Luci’s bowl has milk in it though she herself has forborne to touch it. Oh man! I think to myself, the guy is giving me a complex (Sunday after Sunday) and me a homemaker too. Why can’t he emulate others and laze on a Sunday and thereby let me laze too?
What I need is an excuse, a nice shiny, smooth, solidly strong and plausible excuse to not only get myself out of work but also feel good about it. Tall order, I know. Tea, tea! scream my cells. No use attempting thought before downing the cuppa.
“Good morning! Good morning!” says the Colonel on espying me dragging myself down the stairs with a prancing Luci in tow. She rushes to Dad wagging her tail furiously (where do Labradors get the energy for non-stop tail wagging?) as if to say, ‘Look, look! She is here safe and sound. The Night Monsters didn’t gobble her up as I had feared. Phew!’
“Chai?” I ask him.
“Of course, chai!” says the L & M who has already downed one and is now looking for his second innings.
Chai is made and had. I wait patiently for it to course through my system and throw up that much needed excuse for shirking work today. Without fail (what did I tell you?) chai comes up with an infallible and safe one. It will suffice for today.
“Darling!” I say in dulcet tones, “I have something to write today. Can we get biriyani from outside for lunch?”
“Why not?!” says the L & M. “I will go at around 11-30 a.m. and get it.”
I sigh with relief. There will be enough left over for dinner as well. My day is saved. It is the perfect pretext to not put the clothes for wash or do any other work around the house. You see how easy it is? Blogging has immense benefits. It is the best excuse to get out of the day’s work. Try it and experience the results for yourselves.
Disclaimer: The author is not answerable to any untoward incidents that may happen or resultant damages thereof from trying out the suggestion prescribed above.
The prompt: “Write an excuse for not working today”
Recently someone remarked on how alike we sisters looked. That’s not something new; we both do hear a lot of it from absolute strangers. Anyways, this particular gentleman after saying how the nose, lips, eyes, forehead, cheeks and also everything (now here is where I register a formal protest and insist that said gentleman visit an optometrist at the earliest) seemed ‘cast in a single mold’ went on to suggest that what would clinch the thing would be if I wore the same type of glasses like hers and also if I ‘gave a break to the hair dye’.
Give a break to the hair dye?
WHAT THE HELL.
Until unless he was the one who applied dye on my hair I don’t see how he can make the assertion. And believe me, he has NOT. So what makes him, a COMPLETE stranger at that, an authority on MY head of hair? Is it the fact that my sister has gray hair or that people of my age group mostly have dyed their hair black?
Ha, don’t I know the fixed belief we have: people in a certain age group ought to behave in such and such a manner, have only particular interests (You should have seen how an older cousin of mine by marriage indiscreetly laughed seeing me with a camera, and that was only a point and shoot one too; yup it seems interest in photography is ‘funny business’ for someone of ‘my age’ and especially ‘gender’ which he made clear when he said photography as a hobby would have been fine for a man, not for me), wear “age-appropriate” clothes, speak and carry yourself in a manner handed down to us via some stupid preconceived notions, cluck like hens around grown up children, have no life and not let others live…
And of course have gray hair suitably dyed black.
What puzzles me is how people can ASSUME that my hair has been dyed black and matter-of-factly state so without knowing facts. Not that I have ANYTHING against people who dye their hair. YOUR hair, do with it as YOU please, is my live-and-let-live policy. Though it seems a remote possibility as of now, I myself might take to applying dye at some future date if I so fancy it. BUT I resent it when total strangers (and sometimes relatives and friends too) make ASSUMPTIONS here and now.
Some years back my sister introduced me to someone she knew. We were meeting for the first time. This is my elder sis, she told him. The man’s jaw dropped, but recovering quickly he said, “Oh she dyes her hair!” with the pleased look of someone who in the nick of time had easily cracked a difficult one.
Some years back I realised that some among the general public were unduly interested in my hair and its color. The hair on my temples has always been brown. I had to endure a lot of, “Oh your hair has started graying!” said with glee skilfully sugar-coated with concern. Well, to use a phrase that I happened to hear recently in a different context, I am no spring chicken. I recognize obvious glee even if it comes packaged as concern. What they did not know was that I have special ears to hear what goes unsaid, “Gotcha there. You Madamji, are coloring your hair to cover your grays and you thought we wouldn’t know!” A few times I tried to correct such people; I have always had this brown bunch of hair on either side of my head.
Why did I even bother, some of you might be thinking. No reason other than my inherent love for accuracy and nature of making things factually clear. But I gave up doing that. Some glints in some eyes can NEVER be erased whatever the truth may be. It is a fact of life that MOST people believe what they want to. It takes courage to get out of that scene. Tell me, how many have that courage?
Just a decade back, a pompous cousin of mine declared that it was impossible to believe that my hair was naturally black when my sister had begun graying. I wonder why he was addressing the question to me and not taking the matter up with his Maker. I mean, I am not the one who made the rules of graying or even the one who turned them topsy—turvy. Right? If not the Maker, he should have sought the help of science at least. Being still the goody-goody girl back then I did not give him any suitable reply. More’s the pity.
What took the cake was what came next. Some of the (female) residents of the colony started sounding the girl who came by to oil my hair and also apply mehendi. “Does she really have no gray hair at all?” they asked her referring to me. Yup, they had caught the right person to ask the question. I couldn’t hide my gray hair from someone who oiled my hair even if I so wished, could I? Indeed it was news to me that there existed ladies in my colony interested in getting insider-info regarding the color status of my hair. I mean what the heck is it to them anyway? Isn’t it enough that they pay attention to their own crowning glory and dye it in whichever shade they prefer it to be? How does my hair, gray or black, or multi-colored, affect them in anyway? Come to think of it, I have never once checked on whether they had dyed hair or naturally black hair. Why would I even want to know? We were certainly not competing for first place in any Who Has The Naturally Blackest Hair Of Them All event, were we?
Anyways, I have started feeling that now I should begin putting up bulletins on the status of my hair. So for the benefit of those whom curiosity is killing: Rejoice, though it may not be so evident as such, yes, I have started graying at the temples. As of now, at a conservative estimate, the salt is at approximately 5% as compared to 95% of pepper. It will not be long before they exchange places, but you gotta be patient till such time as they do. I certainly am not going to hurry things up. You can put in your efforts if you so wish. Just make sure I don’t turn the tables on you.
And now to the most important question of all: NO, I have NOT started using dye as yet. Rest assured when I do I will certainly send out a circulars, emails, post blogs on it, tweet and facebook it, publish the fact in the gazette and also take out ads in all the national dailies so everyone knows. May be I will also book a slot on TV to be aired midway through the dreadful soaps. Hmm… Or better still, I will go the old fashioned way, simply hire a mike and go cycling around the countryside announcing the fact to each and everyone. But till then kindly hold in your horses.
Tito (who is Luci’s fan numero uno), would have my hide for saying this. But, since he is away honeymooning, it’s safe for me to say this out loud. Luci is one crazy dog. You want to have proof? Just yesterday morning, she pinned me to the sink and started barking in my ear. That in itself is a crazy act. I mean why would a dog do that to her Momma?
There I was, a peace loving woman, minding her own business, thoroughly engrossed in washing the veggies prior to cutting them, with only feelings of love for all of humanity (and animals) in her heart and thoughts of what to make for lunch in her mind, when all of a sudden Miss Crazy goes into her crazy act. Standing behind me with her paws resting on my shoulder, she leaned her full grown Labradorean weight on poor old me and had me pinned to the kitchen counter. As if that was not enough, she did the unpardonable of barking shrilly into my sensitive ears at such close quarters that it is a wonder that my eardrums still function. Adding injury to this insult, she started pawing my back urgently.
LUCIIIIIIII, I screamed at her, GET OFF ME, NOW!
Her voice being louder than mine, she could naturally not hear me at first, in spite of my best efforts …or maybe she was just pretending to be deaf. She kept up her barking disregarding my yells, but I deftly managed to unpin myself from her hold.
You see, Luci had seen a lizard on the opposite wall and being a Lizard Hater Dog was beside herself. Hmmm… Sometimes I do wonder if it is dislike that spurs her on to bark or something else because in between she whines and whimpers. It sounds like a request: “Hey Lizard, please, please, PLEASE, PLEASE come down. PUH-LEEEEAAAAAASE!” It is as if she is almost begging the lizard to come down and play with her. But the ferocity of the barks that takes over leaves no room for doubt as to what she has in mind once she has lured the lizard with false promises of playtime: murder the damn thing and dance on its dead remains. Some dumbo lizards have fallen into her trap and ended up going off on that journey to meet their Maker rather faster than they would have thought they had to take.
My yells and her barks combined got my Knight minus Shining Armour aka the L & M come rushing out of his den, probably thinking his dear wife was getting murdered. Relieved that the dog hadn’t made a meal of me, he chased the lizard off and Luci soon calmed down. It is my suspicion that this particular lizard has started enjoying harassing Luci by calmly sitting on the wall, looking slyly at her and singing, “Catch me if you can!” May be that is what made Luci so mad yesterday. Anyways I don’t know who I am fed up with more, Luci or the lizard. But then I have my ways of getting back at her too, Luci I mean. And I am glad I can fearlessly make the confession here while Tito is away.
It is easy actually. First I tell her there is a cat outside the gate. She runs to the gate and looks out. Then I tell her the cat is sitting on the wall. She runs to the wall, jumps up to see if it is there and finding the wall devoid of cats comes rushing back to the gate. By now she is totally into her cat-chasing mood that she decides to run around the house for good measure and on my part I am doubled up with laughter and thoroughly enjoying myself.
By the way, what when Luci actually encounters a cat or rather a pretty little kitten? Watch for yourself how this little Jhansi ki Rani handles herself around Luci.
Me: Stop it right now!
Wall 1: Stop what?
Wall 2: Spinning?!!
Me: You are all spinning
Wall 1: Excuse me. We are not doing anything of the sort.
Me: You are too! And making me nauseous!
Wall 3: Gee… Wouldn’t that be fun?! I wish I could do what she says. Go round and round and round….
Wall 4: Shut up! Going round and round indeed! All we ever do is stand in one place. And that’s all we’ll do till the day we die. (looks morose)
Me: Stop it. Stop dancing the shimmy you lot.
Wall 1: There she goes again. What has come over her?
Wall 2: Dancing the shimmy indeed. Solid, respectable wallizens like us! (rolls eyes)
Me: OMG. Someone make them stop. I am gonna throw up if they don’t.
Wall 1: (in alarm) Not on me, you won’t!
Wall 2: We don’t even have that darn paint on us that Saif Ali Khan is promoting. Just wipe it off and all that…
Me: OMG. OMG. OMG.
Wall 3: Geee….. She has turned a wonderful pastel green. I wish I could be that green.
Wall 4: Shut up! What’s wrong with the color we are?!
Wall 2: (pityingly) She has started seeing things. I knew she’d go off her onion one day.
Wall 3: (tearfully) Me? Do you mean ME?
Wall 2: I am talking of the lady, not you! (rolls eyes)
Me: I hate you guys. I don’t know why you are doing this to me. Please, please, please stop. I beg of you. Can’t you stay still?
Wall 1: (rolls eyes) Lady, we know you are crazy. But we never knew you were this crazy.
Me: (sobs) Please anyone, make them stop. I can’t take this any longer! I will throw up!
Wall 2: OMG she has turned quite pale.
Wall 1: OMG OMG OMG. She has puked all over me!
Wall 3: Oh no no no. Oh my pretty wall face is all ruined!
Wall 4: Shut up!
Wall 2: Do you think she could be right after all? Have we been moving and tormenting her?
Wall 1: OMG, could we have been dancing the shimmy, as she called it?
Wall 3: Geee….! What fun! Shall we try again and see it for ourselves?
Wall 4: Shut up! We have done nothing of the sort. She has vertigo. She needs a doctor.
Me: (looking suitably chagrined) OMG! That’s what it is! My sincere apologies, Walls 1,2,3 and 4! I am off to see a doctor.
We moved to a new (rented) house in June this year. The setting up of the house this time around took longer than it normally does in our case. Usually, the L & M and I are quick in settling down at any new place. After all we are veterans of many moves, and not being the sort to sit back while helpers do the work, we have the required experience as well. In this matter of moving house, I even have a slight edge over the L & M since I have been hopping from place to place since the day I was born whereas he got onto the act much later, only after joining the army.
In spite of being these experienced personnel, we took longer to settle down in the new house. It was evident to us that age was catching up. We got tired faster and would wind up work for the day not having accomplished half as much as we wished. So it was that the L & M happened to notice The Chair only later on when we finally got around to setting the room upstairs that I had chosen as my room (or rather our bedroom, both are the same anyways).
I had come upon The Chair the very first time I had given the house a once over. The owners of the house, friends of ours, had left quite a few things in excellent condition too, for our use. I am sure though that they meant to discard The Chair, which looked quite an old and much used one, but had forgotten or hadn’t got the opportunity to do so. I am so glad of that. As soon as I saw The Chair, I decided it was going to be mine. It would make a perfect reading chair. I could just see myself ensconced in it with a book of my choice. Ahh bliss.
Did I tell you about how I chose the bedroom itself? Through the window panes I saw the trees outside. That was it. I love trees. The one thing the previous house did not have was trees of any description outside my bedroom window. I often cribbed to the L & M about the gray wall of house next door that I was stuck with which was such a creativity-killer. Entranced by the sight of the greenery I could see through the window panes in the new house, I walked over and opened the windows. Immediately my nostrils were assailed by a sweet and soothing fragrance. It was the creeper (Japanese Clematis) in bloom just below the window. Wow
In this idyllic situation the only extra prop I needed was something comfortable to sit and I had already found it in The Chair. By the time the L & M had a chance to lay eyes on The Chair, my decision had already been made. When I found him eyeing The Chair I could read his mind, so I jumped in to stake my claim. ‘This chair is mine, my reading chair!’ I said with as bright a smile as I could muster. The poor man did not stand a chance. So from that day on-wards The Chair has belonged to me.
Or so I mistakenly thought.
Unbeknownst to me, there was someone else eyeing The Chair and the way I relaxed in it with my feet propped on the cot, a book in hand. That someone thought it was the perfect perch for her to chew on her smelly bone. No smiles, bright or otherwise, would work with her. Oh well, I will just use The Chair when the someone is kind enough to let me. *sob sob*