Monday, September 14, 2015

A long break, a book event, keys, closed doors and the resident engineer

In the interim I travelled, spending time with the older son and his family, which includes my grandchild, who is now a delightfully busy and playful toddler. After spending just a couple of days with the RE's sister and her family, I hopped across the pond and visited the English side of the family, which includes another delightful infant, now all of seven months old (my late brother's grandson). I had a wonderful time with family and friends, and came home to jet lag, an aching wrist, and a stye on my left eyelid. (It's less swollen now, but still a bit painful).

These woes, however, are minor when I consider the trauma inflicted upon me by the spouse this Saturday evening. Saturday was one of those rare days when I had stuff to do on my own, stuff that was not really of interest to the RE. I made breakfast for both of us, prepared lunch for him, and left the house, carrying my front door key, just in case he happened to be out when I returned. ( In case you are interested in earlier key stories of our lives, do click on this link and the links in the post).

Saturday was not an easy day for me: it was my late sister's birthday, the first since her passing.
It was also her daughter's birthday. I spent the morning with my niece, and then went on to have lunch with the inimitable Aneela and the wonderful Kiran Manral,who was in the NCR to launch her latest book, All Aboard. ( See post below this one). After a delicious lunch, (and some truly awesome dark chocolate) we went to Meher Chand Market for Kiran's final book event on this trip, where a good time was had by all. Finally caught up there with Devapriya, who was too late to have lunch with us, but who is a dear friend whose delightful vagueness in real life belies the brilliance of her writing.   
( I almost drowned in nostalgia at the sight of said market, which is now full of very hip and happening shops and restaurants, a far cry from the innocuous little local market it was when I was a youngster who lived right next to it from late 1963 to mid-1976).

Our present accomodation is on the third floor, with a single entrance: we have a wooden door, beyond which is a metal grill gate covered in wire mesh, which has a giant key. ( I once went crazy hunting in my handbag for said giant key as soon as we'd left home on a long-ish trip to Delhi, and was so worked up by my inability to find it in the bag that I asked my daughter to send her driver across to make sure I hadn't left it in the front door, and on our return journey picked up the spare key from her place just in case I had actually lost it. I hadn't: it was lurking within stuff in the same inner pocket of the handbag in which I had kept it. I do live. My only excuse is that this was quite soon after we had moved, and the key's aura wasn't yet in harmony with mine).

I got home around seven, exactly as I had planned to. The house was dark. I tried inserting the key in the lock, but it was not locked, merely bolted from the inside. I phoned the man on his mobile. I phoned our landline, which has a LOUD ring. I called several times. I rang the doorbell too, several times. I was quite sure that the man had fallen asleep with the air conditioner on and the bedroom door closed. BUT I WAS STUCK OUTSIDE THE HOUSE WITH NO WAY TO GET IN, AND I NEEDED TO USE THE BATHROOM, especially after the several cups of tea I'd had with Devapriya and Aneela after Kiran had left to catch her flight. I also call my older daughter, who says they'd been out together, but had dropped him home around 5.30 p.m, and he'd said he had some e-mails to write. (I had taken our car).
There are four flats on each floor of our building. Next door neighbour's house was dark, also, my front door isn't visible from there. The people diagonally across are relatively new. The flat across from us is where I need to be. It helps that they have a full time help who knows me. Both the little boys are there, watching cartoons on the television. I tell them the situation, and they are as hospitable as can be. I use the bathroom! I ask for a telephone charger, as I need to keep calling home and my battery is running low. My older daughter calls, asking if she should come and pick me up. I decline, as I'd rather be close to home. The minutes keep ticking by. My phone grows warm in my hands from the constant calling. The mind starts playing tricks- the RE always answers his youngest sister's calls- I am tempted to call her (she lives in the US) and ask her to call him, just so that he picks up his wretched phone. The mind, useless worrier that it is, then goes into full fledged worry mode, imagining all kinds of dire possibilities. I am getting more and more jittery by the minute, although I am absolutely sure that the wretched man is snoring away to glory, and all my fears are heedless. After almost an hour of this nonsense, he FINALLY answers the landline! I call the older daughter, who tells me that she and her sister are at the colony gate and will be with us in a couple of minutes.

Nobody yells at the man. We merely express our anxiety, and describe the various solutions to gain entry into the house that we had thought of. Of course he had planned on having just a ten minute nap, or he would have locked the grill gate from the inside. If he hadn't been so sleepy, his cell phone would have been with him, instead of being charged at the point near the front door. He used to have a charger plugged in near his side of the bed. Why has that vanished? We think that a self-locking door, as we had in Kolkata, might be useful. (Though the risks of him getting locked out are very high with such a system). We decide to get a loud doorbell installed in our bedroom (though we haven't done it yet). The RE feels we should employ a full time help to be there as a permanent door opener! (With my luck, that person would probably be a modern day Kumbhkaran). Rather bitterly, I say that he obviously doesn't want me to go out on my own. I recall the zillion times I've woken up at all odd hours to open the door for him when he's returned from his travels.
The younger daughter and I have to go out together on Sunday morning. The girls suggest that I lock him in, and hide the spare key! I do lock him in, if he's asleep or in the bathroom when I need to leave, but the second key is kept very visibly and prominently near the main door, as I'm quite paranoid about leaving anyone locked up. We tell him that we will lock him in, and the key will be right there, but he should be a good boy and not unlock the door for anybody.

The next day, as we unlock the door and let ourselves in,  the RE calls me on my mobile phone just to let me know that he's awake!!!!!!

1 comment:

Lakshmi said...


And ha ha ha!!!