It’s that time of life again – the time when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, and your domestic help has disappeared into the haze again.
It all started, as it so often does, when Amit’s dad came to visit. He wasn’t here for a terribly long time, a mere matter of a couple of weeks. Our all-in-one domestic help, V, is expecting (carrying, in a delicate condition, or plain pregnant, if you don’t follow colloquialisms) but she’s not due till early August, so in mid June, we thought we were safe. Things never work out that way, of course and it was this precise time that V’s condition became a little more delicate than it already was, with the result that the lady took a couple of ad hoc days off and ended by taking one whole week off after sending alarming news that her water had broken! Her husband, the harbinger of this news, got a tongue lashing and 500 bucks out of me and then he was gone and that – I expect – is the last we will see of them for a while to come. In fact, they did come back a week or more later, wishing for V to resume service, because, obviously, they need the money. I need her services, and desperately, but I obviously had to send them away – whatever the circumstances, I certainly don’t want to be responsible for any tragic outcome.
Amit and I spent two weeks struggling to manage all the housework – or at least all those bits of it that were absolutely essential to the smooth functioning of the kids’ life and welfare – making and packing lunch, washing used lunch boxes, washing and ironing school uniforms – before realizing that we can’t possibly go on like this. I did the only thing I could do – I placed an ad on Sulekha one weekend and spent the whole of the next week fielding calls from various agencies. I met half a dozen candidates, took on three for trial for one or two days each and thus each day of the week culinary services were assured, albeit with detailed instructions and with unreliable results. But in the end, it didn’t work out with any of those candidates. They would go to the kitchen sink to wash dishes, turn on the water full blast, and then stand there and chat, or wander over to the stove, leaving the water running. Amit turned visibly purple and I could almost see steam coming out of his ears. Only because I was physically present and presented quite a barrier between him and the hapless candidate, did some of those women escape with their limbs intact. Even a drop of water wasted is like a drop of his own blood going down the drain and to see gallons of it flowing away without a second thought… hiring any of those candidates would have landed me in terrible trouble in more ways than I can care (or dare) to imagine.
So from last week, we were back to managing all the housework on our own.
Meanwhile, I also have my archaeology module to think of. I received the course material ten days late for reasons too complex to go in to right now. I’m hoping to send off the first assignment a mere one week behind the original schedule – in other words, I’m aiming to catch up by three whole days, a pretty awesome achievement if I can manage it. Currently, it looks unlikely – I haven’t really started on the assignment yet and I should finish it tomorrow. 1500 words, no less. All properly referenced, of course.
So what do you do on a Saturday morning when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, when it’s 1.30 p.m., when you’ve not got the kids bathed and dressed yet, let alone yourself, when you don’t have a morsel of food for lunch, and when your archaeology assignment is far from done and filing your tax return is not even on the agenda? Well, if you happen to be me, you do what you’ve always done when the going gets tough – you make cake. Only this time, since Amit has turned vegetarian (gasp! shudder!), it has to be an eggless and gluten-free banana walnut cake. Delicious, of course.
And then you waste even more time blogging about it.