Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Help

So, we have help. As most people here do.  And like most people I know our lives also revolve around them because if it didn't my house would look storm struck at all times (now it only does post 6 PM after there is no help), Mia would not have half as much fun and would barely touch her breakfast; and I probably wouldn't spend much of my day not being listened to.  Sid and I are fairly lucky because we have a loyal duo who adore us and the mutt to bits; argue with us constantly; laugh at everything I wear; are bullied by Mia no end (who is very elitist, for a dog who came off the streets she has certainly put her past behind her!) and has no qualms about biting the hand that feeds her; will make Sid watch ridiculous soap operas in the afternoon as that is their time in front of the TV; and  will swear like truckers without batting an eyelid to defend anyone who dares encroach on their territory.

Sarina has the most childish notions; has a heart of gold; refuses to stop chewing tobacco; watches my home and Mia like a hawk and will take great offence if we don't go to visit her on Eid and eat every morsel of food she piles on to our plates. She literally brings a doggy bag over the next day for Mia with kheer and zarda and biryani and the spoilt dog enjoys this glorious mish-mash for breakfast with Sarina declaring Eid a success because even "her Mia" got to celebrate.

She'll say anything that pops into her head...like really anything.  When Sid drove her several times to the police station to help her get her police verification done and they were sent back everyday with instructions for coming over the next day, she reported the situation to me with a straight face. "Bhaiya bahut seedhe hai, woh police waale Bhaiya koh ch*&%ya bana rahe hain"!  And then continued wiping the dishes ferociously! I wanted to laugh, but looking at Sid's stunned face I choked it down and patted him encouragingly with a "Tomorrow will be better" thrown in for good measure.
Sarina feeding Mia cake on Mia's birthday
They of course treat us like their personal property, security guards, bank, local supply store and so on.  When I go out shopping, I am asked to please bring back the latest shampoo and conditioner Sarina saw in a commercial in between her frantic paced soap opera. She swears by Pantene, but says the Sunsilk I bought her the last time is not to be repeated (makes her hair too dry!).  When there was some trouble in Asha's house, we got a call at 10 at night asking Siddharth to come over immediately. There had been an altercation between her son and another young boy and it had escalated to all the beefy lads in the district congregating outside her house (none of them knew what was going on of course!) and yelling heartily, and from what we understood there was much swearing and threatening and menacing hand gestures to reaffirm the threats of course. Someone had been slapped, someone else shook up, some crying and bellowing, and Asha shrieked that she was calling her "Bhaiya" to sort them all out.  This seemed to have a sobering effect on them as Asha's version of Bhaiya was a menacing baldy with bulging muscles, a steely glare and a palm like a spade that would send the recipient of his mighty thwacks reeling into the next neighbourhood! Of course, Bhaiya listened to all this in horror as she called him to come over immediately and sort out the situation.  He was a far cry from the imposing figure she had projected, lounging around in boxers with hearts on them; a large bag of M&Ms happily splayed on his lap; while he told me about the sweetest pup he met on the road that day and how maybe we could switch Mia for said pup.  He listened silently on the phone, told her he would drop by and then hung up. He wondered aloud if he should call his brother, and a few of the neighbours (just for back up of course), but then decided to live up to Asha's expectations.  He was gone a half hour and came back whistling. "What happened?" I inquired eagerly. He slipped back into his cheerful boxers and recounted how when he got there the crowd had disappeared as the mere thought of encountering Bhaiyya had been too much for them (I suspect they also got bored and it was late and they had better get home to nurse their wounds of war and also catch up on any late night TV!), but he did manage to impart some words of wisdom to the quarrelsome son ("Don't quarrel, study hard"); to Asha's husband ("Don't quarrel, work hard") and to Asha ("Don't quarrel and can you please make me kheer in the morning"!).
Asha and Mia
When I stroll by in the afternoon, it's a common sight to see Sid squinting at the TV in disgust; Sarina sitting with Mia in front of the TV, rapt in the afternoon soap opera while shelling peas, feeding some to Mia and explaining the intricacies of the plot to Siddharth.  Instead of shutting up and letting her watch it in peace, he chooses to argue with her about the implausibility of the plot ("What do you mean she's dying? She was just dancing at her brother's wedding? What - she's in love with the brother's wife's brother who is already married and now she's dying of grief? That is stupid...of course, it is...yes, it is....you watch such rubbish!). Sometimes I think Sarina just says stuff to get Sid riled up and invents the plot just to irritate him!

She carries a photo of Sid and me and Mia back home to her village to show her family where she works and calls to check on Mia when she's away (she gets very offended if Mia doesn't pine for her - "What? She's eating? Really? I'll be back soon, she'll eat even more!").  She's gone for a month now and we're all a bit lost without her - not just because our house is always a mess without her, but I caught Sid switching between the channels in the afternoon and muttering "Was it Zee TV...maybe Colours...Star TV? Hmm...any of them will do I suppose"! 

2 comments:

Karen said...

Loved this one, Reem. Ha ha...they are really hilarious!

Saurabh N said...

Loved it Reem.. Great writing ..