Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Curious Evening

Dear Readers, 
I thought I would share one of my recent real life letters with you (while bemoaning the fact that hospitality has gone the way of the blockbuster movies - all fluff and very little substance, but I suppose there are some people who want this otherwise it wouldn't sell).  As I have often felt, truth is stranger than fiction.
A cheery weekend (and month end) to all!

Dear Sanjay, Amar, Nitash,
I was just thinking of you after a somewhat weird dinner that Rags and I had this Sunday.  Do you remember the trek we took together?  The one where Sanjay got a large number of thorns embedded in various parts?  (In fact, each time I read out. Dr. Seuss's book, which says "No Pat, No.  Don't sit on that!" I remember this).  The one where Amar got red in the face and sat down saying "I can't do anymore.  I'm going to die," and refused to budge.  The one where Rags confidently said, "This is the path" and led us to a dead end barricaded by a tall wall that we had to climb.  (Nitash wasn't there but this is such a Nitash story that I'm quite certain he was hovering somewhere in spirit, probably behind Sanjay's shoulder, saying, "Saale,..")

Anyway, that was the one, after we which went to Sanjay's hotel to spruce up.  That's where this tale begins.  I can't recall much of the place except that Sanjay's room was weirdly done up all in black but otherwise seemed quite normal.  Anyway, Rags was offered a discount card to eat in the same place, so off we went last Sunday.  It was a rather strange experience, like entering a series of Bollywood sets.  The dinner itself was okay except for Nayan's high chair.  This was a chair in which he could do pretty much everything, such as twist, stand, dive down to the floor etc. but he couldn't reach the food as there was no tray.  As he now insists on eating on his own when we are eating, his food had to be handed to him, which he would eat grain by grain.  All in all, a fairly time consuming affair, which got more and more surreal as time went by.

After dinner I had to walk Nayan while Rags was paying the bill and we went to the swimming pool area.  Far from being tranquil, this seemed like a hot spot for a seventies Hindi spy film.  The kind where a man sits down and pulls out a paper which says NO17 (I don't know if you remember this terrific movie).  There were disco lights and remix music and smoky air and a gushing multicoloured fountain and really strange, shifty looking characters standing around, smoking and drinking. Fortunately we didn't have to walk very long and I was quite relieved when we were leaving.

The night was still young though.  As we reached the valet parking area, we realized that the security guys had not given us any receipt; they had been in too much of a hurry to shoo us out of the way of the big cars.  Of course, they hotly denied this and glared suspiciously at us, as though we were a bunch of car thieves. Our appearances, sadly, did nothing to help.  Rags looked nothing like his ID card. He was dressed in his best lab attire (the kind he wears on Sundays).  I was wearing dark brown trousers with grey patches at the knees (from crawling with Nayan) and a crumpled T shirt.  Nayan's attire was fine but he was in seagull mode at that time.  He always gets very excited at seeing cars, and being close to a parking lot had him flapping his hands and screeching each time he saw a car.  To top it all, neither of us remembered the complete car number!

Anyway, they took down all our details and eventually fished out the car.  Fortunately it was not a red BMW but a small grubby yellow thing with a baby seat at the back.  So we were finally allowed to drive off.

Discount card or not, I swore never to return to the hotel.  But I have changed my mind.  I think it would be a terrific place to have a party - the Hare Krishna Hare Ram or Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (Hindi films of the seventies) kind, when you all are here next.  After we are done with scaling walls and walking into thorny shrubs and so on.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Snakes, Strains and Silver Linings

What a whirlwind of a month!  I have barely had time to catch my breath and my resolution of writing more often has been scattered to the winds!  Perhaps this is the peak of the chaos and things will settle down!  Perhaps...

It began with strained nerves of all kinds.  My old maid, whose work seemed to be deteriorating as days went by, began resenting my continuous harping.  I tried to redivide the work so she would do less (hopefully better!) but this didn't work and she just announced suddenly that if I wasn't satisfied with her work, I should find someone else more suited to my requirements.  Well, when things reach this stage, it's hard to turn back or pretend that one hasn't heard.  Somewhat reluctantly I set out firing her.  I felt a little guilty as she had been working here for six years and things are not easy for maids.  There is also the gnawing doubt about whether they have changed or you, and how reasonable or unreasonable each one has been, and so on.  But things took their course and a new silent and efficient maid took her place.

The old maid was bubbly and cheerful and I thought we would all miss that.  But I find, at the end of a few weeks that a new kind of peace has taken the place of all the sound and that I am greatly relieved as my house is cleaned first thing in the morning and I have the rest of the time to myself.  At the moment, a kind of spring cleaning is going on, with masses of dust being cleared, and it feels good, both physically and mentally.

Soon after this episode, my husband had to travel and the day he left, I began on a toothache.  This grew progressively worse and I eventually couldn't chew without distress.  Quite by chance (and not for the first time) I had been reading a thriller at the time- 'Nerve' by Dick Francis.  This helped pull me through a painful week, by realizing that I was not being trampled upon by racing horses or being hounded by fiends or maniacs, and that I would survive the pain!  Once my husband returned to babysit, I visited the dentist who grimly said, "There's nothing there but pus.  The nerve is completely infected.  A root canal is required".

The procedure itself was all right but once the anaesthesia wore off, the pain almost knocked me out.  Not being able to take any strong medicine at this time, I lived on crocin, which cut down the pain by a mere fraction.  I called the doctor to tell him I was in a bit of pain and he said, "It's not going to be 'a bit of pain', but 'intense pain' for some time".  Strangely enough, once I knew that, I was able to handle it.  No real silver lining to this story, only a zirconium one!  But this tooth has been troubling me for many months now and I was glad that the infection did not erupt while I was away in England.  I go back tomorrow for my final sitting and hope that it's all done.

After this, it was time to deal with the new milkman who was supposed to deliver organic milk.  One morning he just didn't show up and after calling, he appeared one hour later.  "Madam, I came this morning but I saw a snake here.  A very big one near your house.  So I got scared and ran away."  "Big snakes are good", I told him.  "It must have been a rat snake, not a cobra or anything venomous."  "Beside," I added, reassuringly, "No one has been bitten here in the last twenty years or so."  Then I crossed my fingers and hoped he would be back the next day.  And he was!

So, all in all, I can say that I and my house are now in better order and ticking along more efficiently than a month ago (I hope)!

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