The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, September 21, 2003
Lead Article

Kudos to Kanta bai
Aditi Garg

Illustration by Sandeep JoshiLITTLE did know that a seemingly harmless tiff with my bai would snowball into a major ego problem. She was being unreasonable and she knew it but refused to comply with my instructions. In a sudden spurt of anger, I made the gross mistake of telling her to leave, saying that I could manage without her. And that was it. Off she went, walking a very defiant walk (but not before telling me not to contact her in case I needed her services again). I knew I had blundered but at the same time I could not see myself giving her a princely raise that was unwarranted. I tried hard to look at the bright side. After all, if I would be doing all that she did, I probably would lose all those kilos that just seemed to pile on.

First things first. I decided to pack the tiffins and prepare the breakfast. I have always loved to cook (though not necessarily without some help). I breezed through the vegetables and reached the part I was not very fond of—kneading the dough. When else was I going to use my food processor? I took it out of the closet as I would my most prized possession. Finally, my mission was accomplished albeit, not without leaving me with three times the dough I needed, for I kept getting the proportion of the flour and water all wrong.

Now my attention returned to the dishes in the sink. I made a mental note of using as few dishes as possible in future. With each dish that I cleaned, I regretted having thrown Kanta out. With all the dishes washed and stacked, I looked at the clock , only to realise to my dismay that I had missed a favourite talk show.


I armed myself with a scrubber and detergent and gathered all the clothes. While mentally making a note of what had to be done next, I dumped the clothes in the washing machine and set it to one full cycle. Before I could say ‘another job done’, a lot of foam started to seep out of the machine flap, flooding the light coloured clothes lying next to the machine with coloured water. I quickly retrieved the clothes and opened the flap. To my horror, the detergent was much in excess. Having emptied almost two buckets of soapy water (and having drenched myself) I turned on the machine again. With a broom and a mop in one hand and a bucket of soapy water in another, I left the clothes to do the cleaning. After I was over with the brooming bit, I was pleasantly pleased, to put it modestly. It inspired me to take out the vacuum cleaner which was gathering dust since Kanta joining. I declared a war on dust on all things around me. I was jerked out of my high when it sucked a hundred rupee note. I rummaged through the dust bag to retrieve it before someone got to laugh at my folly. With the retrieved money in my hand, I decided that it was enough for the day.

Not wanting to miss any more serials, I quickly spread out the clothes to dry, some with tell-tale stains of the goof-up. I kept the clothes that had to be ironed next to me and decided to iron them while watching TV. After all, if I coupled it with something I enjoyed, it may not seem such a drudgery. When I actually sat down to doing it, it was as good as I thought it would be. Until I got too engrossed in the serial, that is. With my eyes glued to the screen and my hands deftly working their magic on the clothes, I did not realise when the iron wandered off to the rubber print on the T-shirt. Not only did the T-shirt become unwearable, it left the room with a ghastly smell and chunks of the T-shirt stuck to the iron. I had to send the clothes to the dhobi and spend my afternoon looking for ways to clean the iron of the unwanted residue that charred my heart every time I looked at it.

When I finally got the chance to sit in front of the television set, there was hardly anything to watch.

Talking on the phone has always been a good timepass, but not when I am dictating a list of groceries and vegetables to the shopkeeper. Imagine being bombarded with call-waiting alerts all this while. I had to keep repeating my order till he got the list right (or so I thought). And when I hurriedly put the phone down, the phone mobile ringing.

Finally, when I managed to get through the day without Kanta, I was missing her more than ever. Her unreasonable demands suddenly seemed reasonable to me and I lured her back with the promise of a suit. She agreed but not before telling me to that the suit had better be a new one. I vowed to keep my temper under control, for it had just set me back by a few hundred bucks.