This weekend began with me hurting my knuckles at kickboxing. I didn’t think much of it because I was too tired and it wasn’t paining much more than a scrape. But I got home, fell into a heap on the bed, and went off to sleep with my mouth wide open. (Working title of sequel to ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ Really, it’s true. Nope. Actually, it’s not.) And when I turned, my hand felt sore and bloody. I looked and the patch where the skin had peeled off had turned into a throbbing magenta and vein-blue crater. Strangely, my head felt hot, my throat felt sore, and my tongue felt thick. I wondered if I had also got bitten by a monkey in the bargain. (I read somewhere monkey bites are dangerous.)
I was still feeling sweaty from the work-out but the thought of having water touch and singe my wound put me off completely. I have been uninjured for so long that I can’t bring myself to look at a bruise. I am also squeamish, that way. Every time, I am stranded in a bus for long, I keep praying that no-one delivers a baby. Or if they do, there’s a bona fide doctor around and I don’t have to be around a bleeding woman. I’ll assist in the miracle of life by planting flaxseeds or something.
Then there was the sore point of coming to office on Saturday afternoon. This brought my resistance level down further. The anal Saturday meeting meant that I couldn’t go to Mumbai and be with family (I miss them a LOT now.) General joi de vivre plummeted further and I practically said goodbye to good health for the weekend.
I was really counting on being in Mumbai. Or actually, I was counting on being with my parents. Sure, my dad would be busy in office. Every afternoon, he’d call me up to tell me how nice it is to have me in the house and I should quit my job and ‘rest’ at home. (He has been saying that ever since I started working. My father is in the wee minority who thinks that I am unduly hard on myself all the time.) My mother will lovingly inspect my limp hair and tell me I look shabby and ask me whether I am using all those Garnier shampoos to attract pigeons. And then my sore knuckles reminded me how long it has been since I pounded my brother. I felt weepy. Every night I go to bed thinking how quickly time seems to be running out. Only a matter of time before I get married and leave for Delhi and then, visits home will become even more scarce…..unless I get a really incredibly paying job or something. Then I can probably visit Mumbai every weekend. Or have my folks visit me.
So, I promise myself that I will talk to Ma every two hours. She’ll get irritated and snap that I have nothing better to do, but I like the fuzzy fondness with which she calls me a useless lout and such like. (She means it all, by the way.) Other things will be discussed. We have a new dhobi who also runs a cycle shop. Ma likes enterprising people and this bloke has earned Ma’s respect enough to be served tea in the nice glass instead of the ordinary, scratched glass.
There is this hierarchy of cutlery in my house. Who Ma likes gets served in spotless china (last brought out when my girl-friends have come over - Anumita and SS, among noteworthy recipients.) The people who don’t quite make the cut get other, slightly marred cups and saucers. (Many of my brothers’ pals get served in this.) And the ones she absolutely hates get served in badly colored ceramic cups. (Much of Papa’s colleagues have sipped tea from here.) For her own friends, of course, there is a collection of Belgian crystal that Ma has cleaned and polished and zealously guarded over 25 years.
My mother is such a cute snob.
She also tells me that there is this party I have been invited to next weekend. I hope it’s one of those parties where my brief theatre experience is not recalled. I was Humpty Dumpty when I was in KG. And I was such a fraidy cat that I didn’t even fall down convincingly. I just stepped down gingerly and lay there until the other actors came and splashed rose water on my face. (My school took quite a few liberties with classics.) Embarrassingly, this incident gets mentioned at least once at every dinner. Seriously, why even bother building up self-esteem?
Now, my hand is hurting really badly.
To distract my attention from the wound, I finish the last few chapters of ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. I would recommend this book as mandatory reading for everybody. It is such a frothy, innocent, simple book. There’s humor, there’s depth, and there’s a refreshing humility about one’s path to spirituality. Very engaging read.
Finally, duty calls. I drag myself out of bed, get dressed and go to office. Meeting is cancelled. I glumly sit in the rick for the ride back home.
Sun has set. No exciting prospects for a Saturday night and the ache for being in my pink and white room in Mumbai is getting unbearable.
I decide to talk to Ma but find that I’ve lost my phone.
My will to have a decent weekend comes crumbling down.
All the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men…..