Diwali is a magical time of the year at the Shenoy homestead. This is the time when the missus suddenly discovers that the house is in a mess and has to be cleaned out.
What is magical about it is that I don't die. Every year, there comes a point in the proceedings where I am conviced that it is all over and she is going to stab me with a sharp instrument. And every year, that moment passes without her actually doing it.
Of course, as my elder son pointed out, this could merely mean that the probability of this happening is increasing. They're learning the basics of probability in school, you see, and for some reason he is fascinated by it. I mean, come on. Probability used to be THE most boring subject when we were younger. There was a time when I had to learn the Income tax Act and even THAT was more interesting than probability. But I digress. Coming back to the res (it IS res, isn't it, Jeeves?), the Great Cleaning of the Shenoy Cupboards had begun.
It started off innocuously as usual. The children's cupdboards are still under the direct overlordship of her highness, so she knows exactly what is there in them. More importantly, she has the complete rights of high middle and low justice, and the kids can only whine in a muted fashion when they behold their favorite outfit going out to meet its maker on the grounds of looking like a gunny sack.
Kids are resilient, however, and with a philosophical shrug they went back to playing computer games surreptitiously, under the pretence of collecting project information.
"Guys, please study. If your mom catches you playing games on my laptop, I've had it", I implored.
"Relax, annie, she's doing cupboards. You know what that means! Whole day, easy!" said younger son.
"Hah! Half the evening too, if she finds that Archie comics collection of yours" said elder son, with a snort.
I stumbled out in a lost fashion. The thing to do when these kind of clandestine activities are happening is to put as much distance between yourself and the crime scene as possible.
Well, the kids' cupboards got done in a day. There was a bit of head shaking and mumbled can-you-believe-the-state-of-this's but no serious melodrama and you would have been convinced that a workshop on meditation was being conducted on the premises. And no, the rascals didn't get caught playing computer games.
The heavy stuff started the next day, when she got to my cupboard. You see, I lke to think myself as a sort of a polymath- a man of a multifarious personality. A bit like Leonardo Da Vinci. Though I must confess that when I attempted to paint Mona Lisa, it came out like a South Park character and made the wife and kids nearly choke (that's an interesting anecdote I must tell you one of these days).
Not that it detracts from my talents. The way I see it, if Da Vinci was an 'n' sided personality, mine would be a '(n-1)' sided one, that's all.
Digressing again. What I was getting at is that, being a multifaceted chap and all, I end up collecting a good deal of 'stuff' that is potentially valuable, though at the present moment the exchange value would be 2 rat droppings. The missus has this ruthless "live for the present" streak in her and wants to throw the whole bunch out.
"What is this", she asked me, holding up an old PC motherboard.
"It's a motherboard", I said
"I know that". She learned Computer Science in college, I kid you not, though she hates the subject with all her heart, which is another story I have to tell. Relax, I won't tell it today.
Where's the CPU and the Memory?"
"Er, there's no CPU and memory"
"Throw it out then. What's the use of keeping ..." and petered out into a diatribe on pack rats.
I tried to explain that I was planning to use an old CPU from another computer and try to get it running on linux but I could tell it was no use. The lady had taken a personal dislike to it. No amount of reasoning could convince her that I would ever get around to using it. She was right, of course, but it was the principle of the thing.
She gathered her attention to a pile of books on philosophy that has been her steady target for years now.
"Naren, you have NEVER read a single one of these. Please PLEASE at least NOW throw them out."
"Sweetheart, in the intellectual circles that I roam about, Satre and Kafka are essential reading"
"Nonsense. None of you bunch have ever read anything further than the labels on those ridiculously named single malt whiskeys. Laphroaig! Sounds like French for 'frog'.
"Excusez moi, garcon," she said, in a falsetto "esker vouz avez La Froig?" and I bet your keister he'll come back with something that had been a tadpole a few weeks earlier".
The missus can be quite sarcastic when she feels like it.
(gotta go now. taking the brood out to dinner. stay tuned though. Part II follows)