Friday, January 23, 2015

Here's looking at you, bag.

People who know me would be aware that I am in a constant race against my laundry bag(s). The concept of the laundry bag, incorrigible and sophisticated as it is, was not familiar to me until a decade ago; those days, clothes did not know how to pile up so much. Or else, they were someone else's problem.

As a wife and mother and house-maintainer, I am conscious of the goings-on in the different laundry bags around the house. They have a way of attracting clothes to them when I am not looking. Just when I think I have half-emptied one, it shows me that it is half-full. And when I think I have finished washing, the washed pile sits there, waiting to be folded.

And if, on an exceptionally busy or sick or otherwise-engaged week, I fail to track their status, they fill, overflow and the family is left without good socks, good shirts or even bedsheets.

You would wonder what the big deal is, when the entire washing is done by a machine which works tirelessly without complaining, every single day. But I would gently point out to you that even those with a dish-washer in the house find it tiresome to pile up the dishes into it. Every effort, however minuscule, is an effort. When everything becomes machine, we find joy in whining about the tiniest exertion.

As time passes, I realise painfully that this is not a task that is ever going to end; of all the projects I have undertaken in life (and career), this is one of those assignments that come under the title of “ongoing support” which translates to “NEVER-ending” work. However much you work on them, however well you meet your deadlines, however brilliantly you manage your time, however appreciable you consider your results, tomorrow the bag is going to be full again. That part of your life becomes a constant, whirring Pile-Wash-Fold-Reload cycle.

In that endless race, I find that my laundry bag and I are equals trying to inch forward towards the chequered flag that does not even exist. I might fall by the wayside, but the darn laundry bag would continue to go on.

And on a grey, dreary day, I wonder what I would do if it were not for this laundry bag and its annoying desire to keep me engaged.

Here’s to my laundry bag. And to our everlasting friendship, rivalry, race, love.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The ten-year-old

The ten year old was unusually quiet during dinner that Dad had to ask. Ten-year-olds, especially those like her, did not sit quiet during dinner until they were yelled at.
“Anything exciting happen today?” he asked.
“No,” she said, thoughtfully examining a piece of roti before allowing it to vanish in her mouth.
“Tell me about your day.”
She paused for a long time and said, “It was as usual.”
“All the actors and extras behave themselves?” he tried to prod her. She nodded.
This was curious – it was evident that something was occupying her mind, but she was not willing to share it with him. For as long as he could remember, there was nothing she did not share the moment it happened, in excruciating detail. His little girl was growing older, and learning to keep secrets. In a few years, she would be so good at it that he’d not even notice she was concealing something. He rambled on for a while about other matters, about his work and about the people he met, pretending not to notice her silence. It was at bed time that she finally decided to disclose her thoughts. He was sitting by her side with an unopened story-book.
“I saw a child while we were shooting,” she said. “This girl was peeking out from between the crowd while I was saying my lines. I almost forgot a couple of words when I saw her. She had the largest eyes I have seen, and she was staring at me as if I were some… some…”
“Well, you are a celebrity,” said the Dad, trying not to let his pride show. 
“We had to take that shot five times before I got it right, I was so shaken by the apparition,” she continued as if he had not said anything. She had a way of gesturing and raising her eyebrows while she spoke and using words too big for her that reminded him dreadfully of the characters she played in her movies. “Anyway, after it was done, I looked around and did not see her. I was just asking Geeta for a juice-”
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