This post is to recount the day I set foot in the place that was going to be my home for the next two and a half years. Gujarat.
After tearfully bidding goodbye to Pune, the 9-year old me was in no mood to adjust to a new place all over again. However, as usual my thoughtful opinions on the matter of moving from one place to another were dismissed with a ‘Oh it’s okay, you’ll adjust’ by my parents. Okay fine so my ‘thoughtful opinions’ were more in the form of some incessant bawling. But still. They do count as important opinions in a 9-year old’s dictionary. Anyway none of my emotional atyachaars worked and I found myself following my parents reluctantly to our new destination.
courtesy- Google Images
courtesy- Google Images
So after a gruelling train journey we finally reached Gujarat and made our way to the house that we were supposed to be staying in. Since the household stuff that was sent from Pune had not arrived yet, we found ourselves standing in an empty and dusty house. To my surprise, I took an instant liking towards the house and started inspecting the rooms, all the while making sure to pretend that I was completely disinterested in the whole process (although it was awfully difficult to not squeal in delight when I discovered that the house even had a cute little room in the basement.).
Anyway, we were to have lunch at our neighbour’s place who incidentally, were our house-owners too.
Mr.G, our houseowner, lived with his wife, three children and a dog. Now he was the quintessential rich businessman, complete with a potbelly, a thick moustache and with a gold watch dangling off his wrist even while casually sitting at home. His main hobbies were gossiping, sitting on the balcony and surveying(read stalking) the neighbourhood, ordering his wife around and stealthily allowing his dog to pee and poop in front of the neighbouring houses.
His wife, Mrs.G, was the perfect embodiment of a Hindi serial heroine. She was quiet, minded her own business, followed her lazy husband’s orders, cooked food and in her free hours, cleaned the house. Yes, you heard it right. She was deliriously obsessed with cleaning each and every inch of her house till it was spick and span and neat and tidy and clean and clear. On most days, you could see her frantically scrubbing away at some spot, which was invisible to the naked eye but yet clearly visible to her, on some wall of her house.
Now Mrs. G seemed to have passed on her love of cleaning and scrubbing to her three children (two daughters and a son) who also spent considerable amount of their time cleaning and scrubbing. And if it was festival time the entire family (minus Mr. G, of course ) could be seen sitting and scrubbing away to glory. The son loved cleaning the car in particular. And his absolute favourite pastime was opening and banging shut the doors of his car as loudly as possible in the afternoon when you try to lie down for a nap.
The dog, like every other dog, loved barking. The only speciality of this dog was that, more than barking at strangers, it loved barking at its owners. It also loved barking for absolutely no reason. So basically it just kept barking all the time.
Anyhow, we popped over to their house in order to have lunch. Mrs. G came out of her abode, the kitchen, and asked us sweetly if we wanted some water first. The tired souls that we were, we immediately accepted the offer. When she came back with the glasses of cold water, I pounced on a glass and hastily gulped some of the water down my parched throat.
Ugh. Something was wrong with the water.
It was SALTY. It felt like I had swallowed a cup of sea water.
I stopped with my hasty water drinking and proceeded to the dining table for lunch. Mrs. G plonked a large amount of rice onto my plate and ladled a big spoon of daal on top of the mound of rice. I mixed it up hurriedly and scooped a large portion of it into my mouth. Only to discover that I shouldn’t have done that.
The daal was SWEET. In fact, there was loads of sugar in almost everything.
Till date, I don’t know how I finished that meal.
Post this disastrous lunch, we came back home only to find that Mrs.G and her army of invisible-spot- cleaners, armed with their favourite tools ( a bucket of water and a mop), had taken over our house. Amidst scrubbing every corner of our house she managed to induct us into her army too by employing us as the minions who supply her with filled buckets of water. Any feeble protest of ours saying “That’s enough..thank you” was met with an air of indifference and requests for more water to wash the floor for the 456th time. By that point, we were all so tired that we would have gladly poured a bucket of her water on HER. But we had a strong feeling that that wouldn’t stop her.
Anyway, we were not off to a very good start. On that day, I would’ve never thought that I would fall in love with this place eventually.
More on that and other Gujarat chronicles, in my upcoming posts :)