The blissful, lazy Sunday sleep had just been disturbed. I was feeling distinctly warm. The room was quiet and I instantly knew that the fan had been switched off. The soft, comforting whirring of the fan had stopped and with my eyes still closed, the hearing sense took over. Diagonally across my bed to the left, I could hear the slow jingling of the maid’s bangles as she swept the floor. A decision had to be made: should I just keep my eyes closed and fall asleep again? Or should I open my eyes and investigate? Sensing that she just switched off the fan to sweep the floor, I decided to keep my eyes closed and wait it out; there still was a chance of falling asleep again.
The maid switches off the fan to sweep the floor and doesn’t switch it back on! Basically, the story of every Indian home.
e The seconds crawled on as the maid swept the floor and dusted the room. It was almost as if someone had hit the pause button on the entire universe and everything lay suspended as she painstakingly cleaned the floor, lifted each object, cleaned under it and dusted each piece of furniture.
I could hear the bed creaking with my impatient shifting. I could hear the window being opened and I could hear the breeze outside, rustling some dry leaves somewhere. I still kept my eyes closed, waiting for this unexpected and untimely ordeal to get over. But it seemed to be taking forever…
To get some respite, I quickly raised my head a little and flipped the pillow and the coolness of the other side of the pillow was amazing! This too didn’t last long and I was getting increasingly irritable. With my eyes still closed, the sense of smell too, had become acute. I could smell the soft fragrance of her gajra (flower garland worn in the hair) as she moved about in the room. In the kitchen, I could smell the ginger, which was being pounded for the early morning tea. And then suddenly, there was nothing. I couldn’t hear her bangles, the flower fragrance was gone. Despair took over and I opened my eyes to see the fan, completely still, and the maid, disappeared.
“Ushaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” I bellowed. My voice still had the early-morninggrudgingly- woke-up grimace to it and within moments I saw Usha stepping into the room meekly. She had a very disarming smile as she looked at me, gauged my expression, looked at the fan and turned on the fan and I couldn’t help but break into an irritated, almost frustrated laugh. There she was, my Sunday sleep adversary! I had now lost count of the number of times, this exact thing had happened. How she came into the room, turned off the fan and left me in the suffocating, irritating clutches of the quiet, tepid room! And how each time we both grinned about it, she cheekily and I, completely upset!
Image courtesy: Garbage Bin Studios (facebook.com/garbagebin)
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