Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The 30 minute crisis

While the whole country is rife with speculation as to who will succeed Kalam as the next president, the Chatterjee household is biting nails trying to guess who will succeed PM as the next maid servant. PM quit yesterday and we are at a loss today.

It all started because of those 30 minutes. For reasons best known to her, PM always turned up at 4 in the afternoon even though my mother had made it very clear to her that she should turn up 30 minutes later. In a world where we always turn up late for appointments, we were taken aback by her overwhelming sense of punctuality. The only way the mother sought to counter this, was by switching off the front door bell till 4:30pm and this, my mother did with limited success. Trouble started during weekends when my father who is at home and completely unaware of such rules, admitted her at 4pm. PM started coming at 4pm on weekends and at 4:30pm on weekdays. Slowly, laws of induction started taking their course and she started coming at 4pm on Mondays, then Tuesdays followed, till my mother realised that 4pm was now the rule rather than the exception. Yesterday, when she came at 4pm, there was a minor argument at the end of which PM walked out for good.

At first, we were lost for words. We had got so used to PM, that it was difficult to imagine what life would be without her. Soon however, Chatterjee Junior ahem! Yours truly stepped in. It’s a weekend today and I volunteered to clean the house. Unfortunately, things are tougher for me than for PM and it has nothing to do with the fact that she is experienced in the matters of housekeeping. There are numerous constraints involved when a member of the household tries her hand at work meant for maids. Even though our neighbours know that we are short of a hand, I must not be observed cleaning the house. So, all windows were shut, the balcony was abandoned and the house was miraculously cleaned, seemingly without any human intervention. While I am technologically challenged, my parents are gadget freaks. There is a special mop reserved for use when the maid servant is not around. While PM can have it easy with a bucket and rag, I have to use this special mop (SM) which only my father knows how to assemble and my mother knows how to dismantle. SM consists of a really long pole and a flat blade. A special kind of cloth is wrapped round the blade which is then attached to the pole. As I was struggling to mop the house with SM, my grand father who was taking a nap, woke up with a start wondering what I was doing in his room, with a medieval martial weapon. My grand mother looked on with curiosity, following me from room to room tsching tsching that things had to come to this, that the daughter of the house had to do such menial tasks and I merrily worked, hoping that this exercise would help me lose some calories.

Things are fine for now, but I wonder what we will do during weekdays, when I shall not be around. 30 minutes - cost PM a job and me some calories and my mother - a whole lot of bother. Time will not be able to heal this one!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

What women want

What my mother needs is a nice, docile "homely" disciplined daughter-in-law who will help with the household work effortlessly, i.e. without appearing to slog herself. She will know exactly where the Kashmiri Mirch Masala is kept in the kitchen, without my mother telling her. She will know exactly when my mother is not feeling well and take the reins of the household and then hand it back dutifully when my mother feels Hitlerish again. She will know exactly what to say at the right moments, and act in every way to make my mother proud of her. She must be able to take decisions which please my mother. She must not irritate my mother with simple and silly questions like "For how many minutes should I set the microwave oven when trying to make shahi paneer with combination cooking?" She must be beautiful, intelligent, working in a great job (sadly, the definition of great is not clear - but from discreet circles, it has been determined that a great job is one where you have a cabin to yourself and a peon who serves you tea) She must must must know how to drive a car, operate a demat account, play atleast two obscure musical instruments, know the phone number of every specialist doctor in the country and appreciate Lebanese food.

Interested girls out there may respond to fedupmotherseekstoexchangeuselessdaughter@digyourowngrave.com

There is a small catch: My mother has no son.