23 December 2008

Spot checks

For the last few months I have been staying with my parents. Its been a fabulous experience. I have not had to worry about food, laundry, rent, bills or cleaning. But this luxury has come at a price I call "spot checks". My parents give me all the love in the world, in the healthiest of doses, which is why they subject my room to spot checks frequently. Recently, my father came thundering down from his office demanding to know why there were two towels in my bathroom. In his honest opinion there should just be one towel. Even one bath towel and one hand towel are acceptable but not two bath towels. He would brook no explanation and just wanted to know which one I wanted to toss in the wash. My attempts to explain my toweling system were in vain because even after going into detail about body towels and hair towels my dad refused to accept two towels in the bathroom. Besides my bathroom, my dad is also particular about the way I maintain my shoes. I have a pair that were black once upon a time but dust and nonchalance had given them a healthy coating of brown. Given his military background, this status quo was unacceptable and, he wanted me to go forth and polish my shoes. This took me back about 15 years when every school night we were punished to polish our shoes. Anyway, Bangalore is such a dusty city that I really see no point in wasting my precious lazy minutes polishing shoes but naturally, such frank explanations have no weight. Ultimately my dad got fed up of my deaf adder routine and just polished my shoes himself!

Then a few days back while I was sipping my morning cuppa and drinking in the Hindu my mother shoved a half empty dustbin under my nose with the loud question, "What is this?" I wasn't sure if she wanted to know why it was half full or if she wanted me to explain the contents of the dustbin but either way she was in red alert and I could not mess with it. So, I batted my eyelids a few times and resorted to the baffled "Howooda." Meanwhile my mother had already launched into a full scale lecture series on public health and the importance of being clean. The whole thing ended with her lamenting that the cleaning lady had already collected the day's garbage so I missed my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have an empty dustbin. All through this monologue my grandma was shaking her head and tut-tutting despondently, "You used to be such a neat girl...tsk tsk"

Occasionally I come back home to find that contents of my room have been neatly stacked into completely unorganized bunches. Basically the size of the object determined its place in the decorative aesthetics. Then I open my wardrobe, the only place where I have a strict filling system for items, to find that my night clothes are all mixed in with casual pants. Turns out that on such days instead of giving me a look and a stern invitation to clean up, my mother just decided to take things into her own hands. This prolonged visit also ends up with her re-making my bed because I don't have the sheet tucked in just right.

If all this tension weren't enough, Astro stops by sometimes when he wants to sleep on my bed. He first examines the room to make sure there aren't any undies or socks or other light weight clothing items that he shouldn't just grab and scram. After a through sniff to make sure I am not eating biscuits in private he whines till I give him a heave-ho to climb the bed. Once on top he normally stands and checks out the terrain before plonking himself on exactly the spot I was sleeping on. Then, he proceeds to gather the sheets about him all the while lightly drooling. And my mother wonders why my sheets are not properly tucked in...

My parents also feel that I have a particularly bad sense of dressing. My dad thinks I dress like a bhangi (indian hippi?) and my mom thinks I deliberately wear mismatching outfits. So every time we have to go out as a family there are endless conversations on what I should wear. I thought I solved the problem by just throwing open my cupboard and asking them to pick the outfit, but to no avail. They pull the you-are-29-you-should-know-how-to-dress card and soon enough I am pulling my hair out trying to get the right combination for tonight's evening number. The tragedy of this story of course, is that no matter what I wear, it's below par.

These are but the few instances of insanity I have to live out in the name of luxury. It's not a bad deal really, but once in a while, I wish I could determine how many towels I should have in my bathroom!

P.S. This is an update. I have now discovered that on the garbage incident day my mother also threw out the paper bag I was collecting all my recycling waste in. Great! How long can one live with such atrocities? sniff.



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