My fears weren’t without reason. The first look, after arrival at the neglected house warned me about my fate in the next few days. We opened the doors to the residues of monsoon smells in all the rooms and decided our priorities there and then. My house didn’t look like a home but lifeless and dull, where every nook and corner stared in the face for tender care. To transform it back to a home, certainly required patience and vigour and we donned the role of management gurus to accomplish the task in record time. The first choice was to expend our energies right away to make the bedroom livable and the food court operational. Yes, you heard it right. Readying kitchen to enable cooking to satisfy the hunger pangs, in order to go through the mammoth cleaning spree, became the foremost priority.
Accordingly I embarked on the jumbo task of changing the unruly, dusty and colourless look of the kitchen into an inviting one. The kitchen obviously missed the aroma of variety of dishes and its all important status in the domestic hierarchy. But first thing first. Scrubbed the shelves clean, washed the pots and pans, cleaned the refrigerator and shoved the water bottles in it as the RO system was made functional immediately on arrival. Replenished the fridge with eatables which we got on the way, knowing that once back in the house we’ll be unable to go anywhere for a couple of days. The demands on our energy reservoir, built painstakingly by long walks in the hills mounted, but there was no choice.
This done I moved towards the bedroom, before it started throwing tantrums against cruel indifference. The beds got dusted and attired with crisp bed sheets from the cupboard (I manage to keep many extra pairs).Other pieces of furniture also got their due care. Soon I sprawled on the bed exhausted due to heat and humidity and cajoled dear hubby to prepare some tea to fuel the sagging spirits.
Dear friends, it is damn difficult to manage your household tasks, if you love your independence and personal space and disallow any intrusion like the irritating disturbance of a full time help. So making do with a part time one is the other alternative. I’ve chosen the second option. Besides reliability in the tribe is suspect these days.
Homes are extremely demanding entities. When you desert them frequently, they are difficult to bring round. Now look at my Study, which showed plain disapproval of my neglect and had to be pampered and reassured tactfully. The dismayed look of my personal library was enough to make me feel guilty, leaving it thus in the sizzling heat, behind closed doors, while I enjoyed the cool environs of the hills. My Cambridge Dictionary sat listless on the computer table, pouting childishly, expecting appeasement. Graciously all grudges’ve been attended to and friendliness is restored. Laptop is installed, BSNL is working and AC is helping me to take to writing, I was sorely missing being knee deep in chores.
A pet beta noire of mine is the presence of queasy lizards, whose obnoxious side is evident when you come home after a gap. Their droppings lay scattered on the kitchen shelves and in the bath rooms. How they scare you, when you shake the curtains and one of them lands on you making you jump and scream! How fast they multiply! I’m sure to encounter their broken egg shells when I decide to have a look in my lower kitchen cabinets filled with surplus stuff. No spray works on them. My Internet research failed to offer any solutions. Apart from kitchen and bathrooms, their preferred hideout is behind the sofa cushions. Out they jump suddenly when you remove the sheets, which you cover the sofas with, before winding up the house. I wonder what they survive on, these hateful creatures.
However, normalcy is slowly and steadily returning. My pantry has been replenished with groceries and condiments. SAMSUNG washer took care of the piles of laundry and the house is regaining the features of a comfortable, secure and buzzing home. The resettling process is like running a marathon.
I’m done with the inside of the house. Outside the lawns look unwieldy. There are more weeds than grass. That was expected of our gardener who follows the maxim, “I will play when the mistress is away”. Potted plants show utter neglect and it’ll be sometime before the plants will be back in shape again. The experience though undergone many times, remains a challenge each time.
I’m falling into a healthy routine necessary to pursue my interests. Our morning walk is on, though the sticky weather is a deterrent still.
Friends, I think, life is more a labyrinth of compromises than free existential choices. One can’t luxuriate in the cool serenity of the hills in summer, without paying for it in the plains.