Sunday, May 1, 2011

On the speedy flight of time and other non-specific things

Good heavens! How time flies! It's been more than a month since I inflicted one of my posts on the unsuspecting public. Between you and me, that's a bit of luck for the aforementioned unsuspecting public, but into each life some rain must fall so here goes.

I think I'm going to be rambling. In fact, I think I'm rambling already, an old trick (one which the missus finds intensely irritating) I resort to when I don't have anything to say.

"Which is most of the time"

Thank you Sheela.

As I was saying, by dint of hard work and concentration, I've managed to curb the tendency to drift in thought, and drift aloud at that, but every now and then the old ghosts catch up.

For instance, the other day we drove down to Carter Road, Bandra. It's a fashionable part of Bombay now with the miniest skirts and most heavily mascaraed eyes in town but time was when it used to be desolate and slightly eerie at night. The missus and I were discussing this. And I remembered a curious thing from my youth. Cars parked on Carter Road, would mysteriously start swaying latish into the p.m. Mentioned this to the missus who gave me the look.

"They weren't swaying, silly. There must have been a couple inside"

"What?" I couldn't quite make out what she was saying

"" she repeated, in a voice many decibels below my threshold.

My look of befuddlement seemed to rile her

"Oh, I give up" she said and stomped off angrily. I had to buy her a little string thing with a couple of pearls at the end to hang on her cellphone before she'd talk to me.

"Really, Naren," she said, even after this, "you purposely play the fool to irritate me."

I ask you.

So. Things Have Been Happening. We've been building a house, the missus and I, and I've been squarely getting it with both barrels over my alleged lack of aesthetic sense in all matters related to the beauty of the aforementioned house.

I could write reams about it but it would be so whiny you'd probably think it was literary and avoid my blog like the plague (not that it would be all that bad a decision on your part, objectively speaking, but one does not willfully chase one's audience away from one's blogs) so I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that the process took twice as long and cost twice as much primarily because it had to look nice. Things like what color granite to choose and whether the curtains should have American pleats.

"I'm quite non-aligned in these matters" I told the missus when asked the question "though I doubt they do Soviet pleats anymore", merely as levity, to lighten the mood but it seemed to anger her. She continued the discussion with the curtain maker, leaving me out of it entirely. I got her assesment later, and it was not good.

"Naren, keep these silly jokes to yourself if you don't want to be stamped on your instep".

"And I happen to be wearing heels" she added, ominously.

So I've mostly been in charge of the operational aspects of the enterprise. You know, giving address to tempo driver, getting labour to unload goods, that kind of thing.

And even there, I haven't been very effective. For instance, I appointed an extremely Hegelian or Kantian bloke as a fabricator for my window grills. A decent chap who would develop all kinds of existential doubts and give up his zest for life every two or three days. I sympathised with him of course but the missus demanded that I yell at him and make him deliver the grills in time for the puja.

"These people don't understand ANYTHING unless it is yelled at them" she told me. "Go and shout till his ceiling falls down"

But every time I cleared my throat and prepared to deliver a stentorian outburst calculated to make him tremble in his shoes, he'd come up with an account of an incurable illness being suffered by some member of his family. This would derail my act completely and I would shuffle off from what should have been a decisive and painful meeting with a little pat of sympathy on his shoulder and a little more money by way of advance.

I made the mistake of telling this the first time to the missus and she promptly ticked me off for being a doofus and a gullible buffoon.

"You're being taken for a ride" she said. I doubted it, though I had the good sense to keep quiet, but when the chap tooled around to the site later in the week, the missus reprimanded him sharply. Sure enough, the grills landed up the next morning. The missus has been smirking in a superior way ever since whenever the topic of effectiveness is brought up.

All in all, it has taken its toll of me. I'm a mere shadow of my former self, which itself was a shadow of its former self to begin with so you can imagine what a wreck I've become. I'm trying to rebuild myself with alcoholic beverages when the missus is not looking. It's taking time.