Currently we’re operating on houseful mode. There are eight of us in 1200 sq ft of space and its an effort to not tread on each others’ toes. Conversely, there’s never a dull moment. Conversations are like telephone cross talks. Remember phone cross talks that used to happen about a decade ago? The hilarious telecom service malfunction where you’d be talking to someone and suddenly you’d both hear two other individuals talking to each other. Then in between you’d try to speak to the person you were speaking to originally and discuss the cross talk that is going on while the cross talk is still going on. It’s a pity that that such entertainment does not happen any more because you know, the telecom service has obviously pulled its sock up and spruced up their services. Digitised it or whatever horrid things they do to put an end to genuine entertainment.
However, if you want to hear such cross talks happen you can always pop in to our place, especially in the late evenings when the family is present in full strength. Let me introduce you to all the members first:
- Television – this box forms the central character in our home. Everyone wants to spend time with this box.
- 99 year old great grandmother (my father-in-law’s mother) – who is mentally agile, but physically rather weak – as is understandable given her age. Her constant and only worry in life is that we may neglect to feed her and she may starve to death. Henceforth referred to as GGM.
- The caretaker nurse who looks after the above mentioned grandma.
- My father-in-law a dedicated chemical engineer lost in his world of formulas
- My mother in law – whose only weakness is the telephone. Once she begins talking into it – she forgets the real people around her
- My husband R– who feels the perpetual urge to stare at a screen. If its not the television, it has to be his computer monitor.
- Me – Oh, several eccentric characteristics, the biggest trait being that I dislike loud noises. Loud conversations and loud television get my blood boiling like nothing else does!
- My 8-year old daughter M – Well, as the only child around, she practically rules the house and twiddles us all around her teeny finger. When demands don’t work she resorts to tears. That’s one thing which makes the family stop whatever they are up to and rush to her rescue! M’s favourite pastime, is to quarrel with her father over the TV remote.
So you have the classic setting. And conversations at our home usually go like this:
MIL (on phone) – giggle giggle and she said…blah blah blah,
TV: blaring blaring blaring and R staring staring staring
M: C’mon you’ve been watching TV forever, when do I get a chance to see?
FIL (also on phone) – you know I think the water is too saline…
Me: M come and do your homework
GGM: I only want rice and curd for dinner
Nurse: It’s only 6 o clock. Your dinner time is 8 o clock.
GGM: Oh…ok. But I still want only rice and curd and maybe pickle
MIL: giggle giggle…how can she behave this way…
FIL: I have told them to set up a desalination plant…
R: You do your homework then come watch TV
M: Nooooooo. I don’t have homework
Me: Nevermind about homework, you’ve got to study a bit
GGN: You can even give me rice and curd and rasam as a side dish. This morning’s rasam was nice.
Nurse: Yes yes they will give you everything don’t worry. There’s still time.
MIL: Ok…I’ve got to go. Oh my god. I’m late!
FIL: I gave them a cost estimate for the desalination plant also
R: There see mom is calling. Study time
TV: blaring blaring blaring
M: But ma please, I did not watch TV at all today
Me: Oh that’s good because neither did I. Come here, we’ll sit down and study.
GGM: (looking at my MIL who has finished her phone call and is all set to go out) – Where is she going?
MIL: I’m going for a music concert.
MIL: Yes there is a Sudha Raghunathan concert at the Sabha. I’m going for that.
FIL: (has finished his phone call) I will also just go for a walk
M: Appa let me just see what’s coming in the kids channel, then I will go away.
R: Ok. But that’s it. Don’t continue watching.
GGM: If you all go away who will feed me?
MIL: (pointing to me) – she is there at home.
FIL: I will also be back, I’m just going for a walk
GGM: I just need rice and curd
MIL: Yes I know, you don’t need a cooking expert to give you rice and curd. Even M can give you. Don’t worry.
M: Ah! My favourite cartoon. Oh and I’ve been wanting watch this episode. Appa pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease let me see just this one.
R: That’s cheating
Me: M I said NO TV. Come here and study.
M: But ma all my friends have seen this episode and they keep talking about it.
MIL: Ok so I’m going. Bye
FIL: Bye. Call me if you remember some groceries needed for home
R: Buy me some bananas
M: Amma please can I watch this episode?
TV: Blaring blaring blaring
GGM: Why is everyone going out? Who will feed me? I don’t want bananas. I want rice and curd.
Nurse (pointing to me): She is there.
Me: M are you planning to listen to me or not?
R: She is so smart, she has managed to snatch the remote from me.
M: Amma please…
GGN: (talking to me): I just want rice and curd
Me: I know, don’t worry I will give you
GGN: I don’t need anything else, just rice and curd
R (now on skype with a Russian pal): kak dila!
M: See even appa is not watching. Can I?
TV: Blaring blaring blaring
GGN: M come on say some slokas. Sing Lambodara
M: Amma! Not now!
Me: Why not now? You need to practice what you are learning.
TV: blaring blaring
R: Dai meynia pajalusta blah blah blah
GGN: After you sing. I will eat. Just rice and curd with rasam.
Nurse: Yes, yes they will feed you. Don’t they give you food on time everyday?
M: Amma! Look Chota Bheem has gone to Egypt. He is going inside pyramids.
TV: blaring blaring
R: Ah can you get me a glass of water please
Me: CAN YOU LOWER THE TV VOLUME! I CANNOT EVEN HEAR MYSELF THINK!
M: (jerks into action, lowers volume): But amma, Bheem is explaining about pyramids and I can’t hear.
GGN: Just make sure the rice is well cooked. If it’s hard I can’t eat.
R: Hey just give me water know?
M: See now I can’t hear anything
Nurse: Yes she knows
Me: It’s ok if you can’t hear. You’ve seen this episode a million times, you know the dialogues.
GGN: But she is standing here. Not cooking. Who will make my rice?
Nurse: Oh my God! Why do you worry so much!
R: It’s ok. It got my own water. What’s for dinner?
M: Amma! Look Bheem has found a Mummy inside the pyramid.
GGN: See everyone is worrying about dinner
Me: Ah! This episode is over. That’s it. Off with the TV and its study time
R: Shall I make pasta for dinner?
M: Yayyyy I will make pasta with appa.
Me: No. You will study.
GGN: I want rice and curd
And so it goes on. Everyday. Can life be more interesting?