On Day two, impossible as that sounds, New Girl bettered herself. She rang the doorbell at 2:30 pm, something that immediately shot her to the Red&White Bravery Awards shortlist. Yes, she disturbed the nap of the only person whose sleep matters in this household. What is it, what, what, what, I demanded of her over the din as I saw her standing at my doorstep, why do you have a death-wish? Oh, I came by to tell you that I won't come in tomorrow, she said. Gah, said I, you have barely started work, how can you take leave. She grinned some more and informed me that all kaam-waali-bais are entitled to two days leave in a month. Well, all that is fine, I said, showing remarkable amounts of patience for someone who actually wanted to shoot herself, but this is like taking a coffee break first thing in the morning. My logic did not deter her and she availed herself of the first of what she warned me will be at least two days off. That was Day Three.
I thought about her behaviour and worked myself up into quite a rage while she was away. A combination of factors has ensured that I am not my usual angelic self these days. I am going to tell her off when she comes in tomorrow, I told myself, let her see my dark, evil side too. Well, New Girl came in to work on Day Four and I put my plan into action. Look, this won't work, I said sternly, all this leave-taking business will leave me in a fix, I said, what is so urgent that you can't wait for a bit. In response, New Girl looked at me and informed me that her husband has cancer and TB and is currently at the hospital. She needed to take a day off because she needed to shift him.
I shrank to about half of my 5'7" frame at that point. I guess if she can literally grin and bear her misfortune, I guess I can put up with a bit of impunctuality and inefficiency too. New Girl is not so bad after all, I have decided. If nothing else, she will teach me a few lessons in humanity and kindness.
Edited to add:
To be honest, it never occurred to me that she may be lying. After I read the comments I did google a bit. Apparently, TB can very well precede or follow cancer. I reproduce here some bits I found on the net. The doctors/experts among us, please feel free to elaborate. Well, what can I say? It can be our GK for the day!
"Fact: Lung diseases that cause scarring of the lung tissues, such as tuberculosis, can increase the risk of developing lung cancer."
"TB can develop more easily if the immune system weakens, as happens with malnutrition, AIDS, diabetes, cancer, or treatment with immunosuppressant drugs..."