My life has been reduced to a series of events lately.
The scenes unfolding below are the dramatic representation of what is happening currently in my house. I am officially warning every body that this is going to be a long post. Impatient people with no flair for drama can leave immediately.
Starring Role : Aparna, (moi)
D (husband )
Ayushi. ( baffled daughter)
Ishita (foodie daughter)
Anand ( D's friend from IIT)
Lady (Anand's wife)
Jai and Veeru ( aliens who claim to be Anand's sons.)
ACT I SCENE I
It's almost evening. Aparna rigorously cleaning bathroom. Enters Ayushi.
Ayushi - Hi mom, how come you are cleaning the bathroom now? It's almost night.
Aparna - Baba's friend and his family are coming tonight. Just making sure every thing is in place.
Ayushi - What's that roll of paper you are keeping? Is it for my craft?
Aparna - No honey, that's a roll of toilet tissues.
Ayushi - What's that for?
Aparna - Uh, that's for, ahem, wiping.
Ayushi - Wiping what?
Aparna (feeling flustered) Baby, I don't have time for all this, just go and get me a bottle of mineral water. It's kept on the table.
Ayushi - ( absorbing, dissecting and analysing information...she takes after her mother)
Well whatever it is for, may be you should replace it with those wet wipes. It will at least smell better. And here's the mineral water. Why are you keeping it on the counter?
Aparna - (exasperated) Because they will need it for rinsing their mouths. Now go and let me finish my work.
Ayushi leaving scene, dissecting and analysing the information that baba's friend needs mineral water to rinse mouth though there is enough water flowing from the tap.
ACT I SCENE II
Aparna stocking food in the kitchen. There are some bread, fruits, (imported) eggs, sausages, milk(in cartons), butter, cheese (imported) , juice (imported) and cookies. ( Not biscuits). Enters Ishita.
Ishita - Mom, what's all this for?
Aparna - For baba's friend and his family. They probably will be hungry when they arrive. Just keeping things ready.
Ishita - ( Not wanting to miss any opportunity) Can I have some too? I am awfully hungry. ( She always is...takes after her father.)
Aparna- Not now, may be later. Just clean up your room and make sure everything is neat and tidy.
Ishita - What time are they coming?
Aparna - Midnight. That's the time most international flights land. Please help me clean up the guest room. They will be very tired once they reach.
ACT II SCENE I
Almost 2 am. The bell rings. Sleepy eyed Aparna opens the door. A beaming D enters with friend Anand and his family. They have arrived from the Swargalok. ( If there ever is a paradise on earth, it is there, it is there, it is there.)
Aparna - Welcome. I hope you had a pleasant flight.
Lady - We did. Thank you. You have a beautiful home. Jai and Veeru, please say hello to aunty.
Jai and Veeru mumble something, that sounds vaguely like 'hey how you doin'. Aparna can't be sure. She is too busy noticing the wires dangling from various parts of their bodies. A lot of gadgets also seem to be permanently attached to them.
D - ( feeling jubilant, after all he is meeting his friend after a long time). Can I get you something to eat or drink?
Thankfully the guests decline the offer. They are tired after the almost 18 hour journey. Though not before Lady expresses her gratitude once again for hosting them. She also does not forget to praise the decor, the furniture, the curtain and the bed linen. Everything is great (with a rrrolling r) and beautiful (with a rolllling l).
ACT III SCENE I
Next day morning. Every body lazing around the dining table. Jai has an i-phone fixed to his palm. Veeru has a contraption called PS 2 attached to him. He is probably busy sending data to outer space though he claims he is playing some game. The contraption makes beep beep sound intermittently.
D and Anand are having heated discussions on various subjects. Lady periodically praises the show pieces scattered around.
Anand - So next year, come and visit us. Back home, I have a beach front property. And recently I have renovated my house and have made a mini auditorium in the house. It has a big screen and some comfy seats. We will watch movies and have fun.
D- What movies do you watch?
Anand - Generally the latest Bollywood blockbusters.
( Aparna, laying the table wonders why she would go there to watch bollywood flicks when she can watch them here on bigger screens.)
Anand - The weather here is miserable man. Back home it is now very pleasant.
Jai- Dad, I have been sneezing. I think it is the pollution here.
Veeru - ( To Ayushi). Where do you play? The garden here is awfully small. Back home we have a tennis court and a pool in our house.
Anand - ( to D) So do you drive? I have to drive almost 30 miles to my office. But back home roads are not like this, the drive is very pleasant.
Aparna - (mentally converting the miles to kms) Why do you have to stay so far from work?
Anand - We wanted to stay in that school district. They go to an excellent school. Back home, the schools are different.
Aparna - Please come every body, the breakfast is ready.
The wonderfully laid out table has different kinds of bread, fruits, juice, scrambled eggs, bacon, and some sausages. Every body almost runs to the table. After a long flight where they were given bird food, they are ravenous. They are almost ready to attack the food but suddenly come to a screeching halt. Nobody moves. Facial expression sombre. Appearing crestfallen.
D- ( jubilant as ever) start every one, I thought you would like to have the typical American breakfast. This is what you have every day back home, right guys?
People are still standing, gaping at the spread and not moving at all. Jai and Veeru are almost ready to cry. Lady tries to look polite. Anand seems shattered.
Aparna, taking a leaf out of Ayushi's book, analyses the situation. The Bharatiya sanskriti, mother's teaching, good manners and some common sense forcefully decide to kick in. Atithi Devo Bhava.
Aparna- (Stepping forward) If you can give me 15 minutes, I will rustle up some luchi aloor dum (puri sabzi) Would you prefer that?
Their smiles could have illuminated the whole house readers. The joy was unbridled. There was a sound of relieved laughter.
Anand, the sons and Lady - ( in unison) That would be grrreat!
Really people, Ain't Nobody Like These Desi Men!