The renovation work in our new house has started and words like karhiya, mistri, barhai, painter, carpainter (sic, hee) etc have taken place in my vocabulary. All sorts of excel sheets for Project House have been put in place and if the aforementioned karhiyas and mistris knew that their every move is currently being tracked in workplans, I think they could very well be put off their chai-breaks (of which there are plenty, I am told, high-stress job and all that. Not that I ever grudge anyone their tea-breaks. Not as long as they take me along.)
I am not really able to spend any time at at the site though, things at home not being entirely under control. The boy fell ill again and the new maid, Ghajini (short for Gaja Gamini) lives up to the name that I have given her (or borrowed from Vatsayana, it refers to her walk, not her size). Itni bhi kya jaldi hai is her ruling theme in life. Ghajini, you scream, come here at once, Adi has puked in my lap and on my laptop, the phone is ringing, the carpenter is at the door wanting to know if it is alright to do the exact opposite of what you told him to and my script is flying out of the window as we speak. Ghajini throws her hair over her shoulder and slowly begins to walk towards me, gently so as to not hurt the earth, her hips swaying in perfect rhythm as she makes her relaxed way towards me. I am fairly certain that many a street-Romeo had written odes to her mastani chaal but I have little use for it, unless I do a sudden MF Hussain, of course. By the time she reaches ground zero, I have already handled the crisis in my own slipshod way. What do you need, didi, she asks of me. Gah, couldn't you hurry up, I shout. In response, her eyes well up with tears. I clench my teeth and ask her to take her presence away, my patience not being a heavyweight these days. Oh ok, she says and starts to compete with snails again, back to the kitchen.
In all of this, all that comes to my mind is bloody Padma. If she had not abandoned the ship for reasons unknown to mankind, I wouldn't be stuck with the likes of Ghajini. While on the topic of Ghajini, I'd like you, dear reader to know of her voice or lack thereof. While Ghajini can technically speak, she feels it is just too much effort. So if she does need to ask me something, she ambles over to the room where I work and makes some movements with her lips. Aforementioned patience being what it is, I start sending forth streams of smoke from both ears at this transformation of Ghajini into goldfish. WHAT, WHAT, WHAT, SPEAK UP, WOMAN, I snap. Her eyes well up again. I just wanted to know what to make for dinner, she says. (This incidentally is at about three in the afternoon but at Ghajini's speed, dinner will take about that long, so we are good.) I don't know, I want to shout, whatever you want. But I don't. Because I know that elephants can remember.