I came home at around 4:00 pm. As I entered the house my brother welcomed me with irritated looks.
“Thanks a lot for coming this early. I was supposed to go to my friend’s place to study.” Unplugging the ipod earphones from my ears I said, “You should have messaged me, Sanju. I can’t dream that you were waiting for me to arrive to leave the place”
“I can’t leave her on her own can I? She’s in bad shape”, he declared.
My grandmother has been suffering from a bout of bad cold and fever since the last 1 week. She’s been on medications since Monday but there hasn’t been much improvement in her condition.
“Alright you can leave now that I’m here.”
I showered, changed had a late lunch and it was already 4:45 pm by then. I decided to take a break till 6:00pm and then start my reference work since the exams are less than 25 days away and I have done zilch. Watching the rerun of Bones from 5:00pm to 6:00pm was my treat to myself for the day. I wanted to sleep for 15 minutes till 5:00pm as I was awake for most of last night with my gran’s coughing and then waking up to check on her and only slept soundly by around 1:30 am waking up again at 6:00am to attend college. I stayed back in college till 2:15pm to attend a meeting where we discussed the upcoming department journal and since I wanted to write for it this year too, it was imperative that I stay put and show my face, make my presence felt, note down the dates for deadlines to submit drafts and smile away.
At 4:15 the phone rang and I had to go up to answer that and make polite conversation with someone who called up to check on my gran. At 4:30 my gran requested for some coffee and I dashed to the kitchen to make some and got back to Bones at 4:40. At 5:50 my gran started groaning from the bedroom and her speech sounded garbled and low as a result of her weakness. I ran to check if she was okay. She wanted biscuits. We had no biscuits at home and since biscuits were the only things she was enthusiastically eating for the last many days without throwing up I ran down to get some from the shop below our house.
It was 6:05pm when I reached home. I looked at the watch and thought ‘behind schedule by 5 minutes, but that’s okay’. I spoke too soon.
I switched the lights on as it grew dark outside with heavy rain clouds rolling in and not to my surprise noticed that my house resembled a place that hadn’t been lived in for a week; this despite the maid having come in earlier in the day and claimed to have ‘swept’ and ‘mopped’ the house. My blood started boiling and before it could steam out of my ears the phone started ringing. The darn thing’s been doing that a lot since my gran’s fallen ill, with people calling up to check on her health.
At 6:15pm I decided to sweep the house since everywhere I walked I could feel dirt under my feet and saw some of it on the bed too with every customary visit my gran made to the bathroom and back. I spent the next 45 minutes sweeping my 1BHK house: every single nook and cranny, all the while cursing my maid. She’s a 4 foot something, frail, old woman who could easily be above 65 years of age and looks like she’ll faint every time she takes up a strenuous chore. She supports her widowed daughter-in-law and 2 grandchildren by working as a house help. I know I should be kind and considerate to her but not today of all days. She should have done a decent job since she’s taken it up. She shouldn’t have taken advantage of the fact that my gran is sleeping off her tiredness most of the time so she can shirk her work and gather most of the visible dirt and shove it under the fridge. I thought I’d burst a nerve when I realised she conveniently didn’t mop. During the rains mopping up the house is vital to keeping it clean. I spent the next 30 minutes skating around on a floor wet with water and floor cleaner with a sad, old mop for a dance partner. At 7:30pm after I was done with all the cleaning I switched on all the fans for the floors to dry off.
“Ok, Luck, the nurse-maid (pun intended)” I thought to myself “We still aren’t all that behind schedule, we can do both reference for exams and probable topics for the article you’d like to write for the journal.”
The bell rang, I thought my brother was back and skated across to open the door. It wasn’t. My relatives had come over to help and look after my gran.
I sat around till 8:00pm relaxing my sore back, catching my breath (which has been giving me a lot of trouble since the last two weeks with wheezing: something I never had before)talking to them then decided to retire to the bedroom to do some studying. They came in to be with my gran. And then my gran started coughing like crazy and calling out to God and lamenting out loud why God was doing this to her and many other such things. This happened till around 9:00pm ,9:30pm and attempts at burying myself in a book about Spenser made my gran angry and hurt that I wasn’t paying attention to her despite the fact that her brother, sister-in-law and nephew were hovering around her waiting to answer her beck and call.
Long story short research for exams and journal never happened.
I felt like crying and banging my head against a wall.
My college principal wants us: the last batch that comes under Mumbai University, to have exams the same time as the rest of the college which comes under the autonomous system and has already had two internal assessments and are well versed with their syllabus unlike us.
My classmates; editors of the journal can set 7th September as the deadline to submit topic proposals since they don’t have to clean the house, cook or order food from out or nurse their ailing grandmother.
Bev is constantly texting me about starting research work while eating Dosas her mom made for her.
I didn’t have time to go to the Doctor to get my wheezing checked until my gran had to be taken to the clinic but Universities I’d like to apply to next year would like me to have had some work experience which is a minimum of four weeks. I have none. My classmates do, but then they can always go back home and not have to worry about leaving a 70 year old grandmother who is prey to bouts of mood swings due to loneliness alone at home, keep in mind never ending lists of household stuff needed to be bought, constantly vacillate between fighting with an annoying 17 year old brother to being a considerate sister and ease his worries and pressures off about the imminent board exams.
This was my Friday Night and I’m sure next Friday Night I don’t want to ‘do it all again’. I’d like to be a normal 19 year old kid who’s really scared and can always expect her Mom and Dad to be around to reassure her and give a hug.
Hoping you had a Katy Perry style Friday Night. Sans the stranger in the bed, breaking the law, maxed out credit cards and other scary scenarios.