Continuing from where I left in Part 1, the mandatory lockdown continues to introduce us to many “New Normals” – some of which I touched upon in my last post. If you haven’t read that, please read here.
Before this COVID-19, Zoom was one of the widely used tool in companies for conference calls. Now, it has become a house hold name and the most popular App after WhatsApp! Anyone and everyone these days are on Zoom calls. On Day #6, the daughter who is now in 8th grade, slowly came up to me and asked to set up a Zoom account for her. After checking and confirming that she has indeed taken the approval from the wife for the same, I set it up for her. What started as sessions for doing work sheets jointly with friends which are being sent every day by the school, have now become Dumb Charades and other game playing sessions over video calls, I am told. I have now become the villain for setting up that Zoom account!
And by now, in almost all households, one round of Zoom meetings have happened with father side family, mother side family and of course one with the immediate family of brothers, sisters and so on. And as per the hierarchy of WhatsApp groups, friend’s re-union meetings will soon start over Zoom! While on this, I have now ensured that the Video is permanently switched off on my company Zoom account settings so that while on the day long business calls, embarrassing scenes from the surroundings do not get captured.
Like on Day #8, when I was on a review call with my team locked in my room, there were a few SOS bangs on the door. As the bangs got louder, I excused myself to find out what happened. The daughter while pretending to clean up her room spotted a cockroach which had flew from outside. Now in our flat it has been years since we spotted a cockroach and now this was of the flying variety. You can imagine the scenes involving the daughter and the wife now when they found that the creature had taken refuge under the cot. So, I was summoned in the midst of my ongoing call to fix the cockroach problem. Just because of killing the cockroaches, bees and other insects which keep creeping in the house now and then, my sin count has multiplied over the years and chances of an entry into heaven for me have been seriously damaged. All this while the family keeps cheering me from the side when I execute the killings!
I asked for a Jhadu to kill the cockroach and I was promptly handed over one. Without realising that I was handed over a “phool jhadu” and that too a new one, I went about the act of killing the cockroach systematically. Soon enough, the creature was killed much to the relief and happiness of the wife and the daughter. But then, wait. Those of you who have used a new “phool jhadu” will know that for a few days it keeps shedding dust and cleaning that is another big job. So, by using a new “phool jhadu” which was handed over to me for killing a cockroach, I ended up filling the entire room with a trail of dust from it! The next half an hour or so went in just clearing the room of the mess. In these times of the Corona virus which affects the throat and lungs, this was an episode that could have been totally avoided, I must say. But then you know the effect, cockroaches have in our lives!
Yesterday being a Saturday, I offered to do the cooking. “Today is weekend no? Why don’t you give me a break and do the cooking?” I knew that this will come and so I did a pre-emptive strike and made the offer myself which was immediately accepted. And as expected a slew of instructions flew!
“In the name of cooking, don’t end up messing up my kitchen!”
“It is not enough if you just cook. Just clean up the place after the cooking!”
“Whatever doubts you have, ask now. Don’t keep calling me and asking later!”
“And try to do something different. Not your usual menu of Tomato Rasam and Potato curry!”
My immediate reaction (obviously in my mind) was “Why did I take up this now?”
Anyway, having committed in the first place, went about the job as meticulously as I can. First up, as a Pillayaar suzhi, kept a vessel full of water for boiling as we have the practice of boiling the drinking water. Then, just when I was about to keep the rice on the pressure cooker, realised that the handle was loose. My engineering brain while cursing the design, was wondering how come the handle is always loose whenever I try to use the cooker, the answer for which I got very soon. In my quest to show off to the wife that apart from cooking, I am also providing some value addition, I got into the job of fixing the handle. Within a few minutes, the plastic around the screw gave way and the handle came off completely.
The next half an hour went in erasing all evidence of this mishap lest you know what will happen. While I was engrossed in this, I completely forgot about the water kept for boiling due to which half the water had evaporated. Now, I had another set of evidences to be erased! All my male friends will totally agree that this business of erasing any evidence from the wives is an exercise in futility! So when the wife dropped by to inspect what is going on, she could immediately notice that the cooker handle was skewed by one tenth of a millimeter in spite of my elaborate cover up attempts.
“Now what did you do to my cooker handle?” came the first arrow.
“I just tried to fix it as it was loose. But when I tried to tighten it, it broke”, I answered.
“Did I tell you to meddle with it now?
Do I not know that the handle is loose?
Am I not using it for so long?
Because of the heat from the stove, the plastic loses its tensile strength and gives way easily. That’s why I don’t try to apply pressure and tighten that!
I am a commerce student and I am aware of all this. And after being an Engineer you still can’t wrap your head around this?”
A barrage of arrows ensued. My engineering degree continues to be the most attacked feature in my life!
Soon enough, the wife, realised that much time has been wasted by me without making much progress on the lunch preparation. So she decided to take charge and my cooking endeavour ended abruptly that day. I remember reading somewhere that women are far ahead in multi-tasking than men. I decided to agree to that statement 100% from this day.
To be continued…
Postscript: Those of you who wondered about my well-being after the wife read Part 1, I am well and holding up. She indeed read it and laughed it off. Covid-19 has its plus points.
Pic courtesy: Webdunia