Just because I made a resolution to go slow on blogging, you guys decided to stop tagging me! No fair!!! I’m generally partial to tags- just so long as they don’t require me to make public things that I would rather keep private. There’s a meme going around that asks bloggers to give evidence of how “great” they are in the domestic sphere. Monika’s done a post on it and so has Abha. And because no one tagged me, I am tagging myself, if that’s even possible, and doing a post.
Let me take you back to the time when one of my cousins was tying the knot. As family we were obviously invited to the wedding and all the ceremonies that preceded the main event. Living quite a distance away for the scene of action, my parents had decided to attend only the wedding. I wasn’t too happy with that. To me, at 16 years of age, the circus that Indian weddings usually are, was very alluring. I wanted to be a part of everything, see everything, participate in everything (except the dancing. That I could and can live without. I prefer not to dance, not for my sake but for the sake of others’ who have to watch me make a complete fool of myself with my two left feet and all.) Seeing my extreme enthusiasm and the situational challenge faced by me, one of my uncles offered to let me stay with his family till the wedding was over. He was in the cousin’s immediate family and that meant he would be attend all the events leading up to the wedding. What more did I want? I happily packed a bag and tagged along with him. Learning from my example another cousin, S, who lived even further away than us, decided on camp along with me at our uncle’s. We dint really need the wedding to get us all excited and charged up. Between the uncle’s family, S and me, we were enough cousins to have celebrations of our own!
One afternoon, while everyone took a nap to rejuvenate themselves for one of the ceremonies – I put myself to good use. My uncle used to have this part time maid who would do odd jobs like ironing clothes in addition to the usual jhaadu-pochha and kapada. Trying to be efficient and helpful, I though of ironing the clothes for the evening myself. I pulled out my clothes from the heap set aside for the maid to iron and extracted S’s clothes as well. I was going to iron my own clothes so what would another 2-3 clothes matter? I ironed my clothes and kept them in a neat pile and began tackling S’s lehnga. The moment I placed the iron on it, I heard a sizzling sound. Unperturbed the noise, I considered it a minor distraction and continued running the iron along a straight line. Some more sizzling sound was heard, this time accompanies by small plumes of smoke. It was the smoke that sent off alarm bells in my head. Something was wrong. I lifted the iron and peered at it. There were trails of red, green and gold decorating the stainless steel surface, akin to a smudged spray painting. I moved my gaze to the lehnga then. The off white base that was once embellished with a pretty pattern constitued of tiny polka dots in red, green and gold, now had practically no pattern and the cloth wore a singed look. Oops. Not too sure of how to undo the mess I had created, I folded the lehnga and kept it back in the pile of clothes, switched off the iron and took up a corned in the house and pondered about how to break the news to my cousin. S was bound to be furious. More than her being furious, I was worried about what she would wear at night. She couldn’t quite turn up in the jeans and t-shirt at an event where all would be dressed in finest. And what was I tell her parents when I met them?? I was two years older than S, I was supposed to know what I was doing.
When S woke up from her siesta, she began getting things together for the evening. She asked me if the maid had come in the afternoon to iron the cloths. “She dint, I tried ironing your clothes. But I think I burnt your lehnga a little, S. I dint mean to but the iron was too hot for the light material of your dress I think”. Without a word S ran to the ironing board, pulled at her beloved dress, and looked at it with a broken heart. I waited for a barrage of reprimanding words. “It was gifted by dad, you know.” was all she said. That made me feel infinitely worse. “What will you wear tonight?” I approached the topic I was dreading. “I brought along a spare dress. And mom’s stopping over here before she goes to the venue tonight, so she can bring me something from too.” Ok so it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it to be- S would have something to wear, I would only have to deal with two sets of incensed parents- her and mine.
S wore her spare dress that evening, which for the record, I thought was nicer than the lehnga. To my utter surprise my fears of being pulled up by her mom were unfounded. All she told me was I needed to be more careful while ironing. I got a brief lesson on “how to iron clothes” by my mother but not much else. Here I was expecting to hear a no end of my error, no matter how unintentional, and all I got was nothing!! What can I say? I have nice family.
PS: Incidentally, have you read the Undomestic Godess by Sophie Kinsella? I recommend it. It makes a good read.:D