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Mrs Funnybones(5)
Twinkle Khanna

5. Our son’s hair trimmed only near his left ear.

6. The baby’s favourite doll fatally stabbed.

Not to forget our watchman who has been threatened with the ‘saw’ component of the magnificent Swiss implement to ensure that he does not let unknown visitors into our house.

I am dismayed and give him a piece of my mind by yelling, ‘There is no difference between you and the members of the Indian Parliament, all that’s left for you to do is to take a can of pepper spray and violently spray it on our neighbour’s face!’ Oops . . .

4.15 p.m.: Our son has now googled the abovementioned incident on YouTube and after again seeing how effective the pepper spray is when used by a particular MP, has decided to make his own version:

INGREDIENTS

1 empty spray bottle

500 ml of water

4 tablespoons of lemon juice

14 spoons of red chilli powder

8 spoons of salt

4.50 p.m.: I have now confiscated all potential weapons from his arsenal.

5 p.m.: I am frantically begging the man of the house to talk to his son and put some sense in his head, but the man of the house firmly denies any responsibility in this particular fiasco and instead points out that if the highest citizens in our country can contribute to violence in the Parliament, then how can our son be blamed for the violence in our house.

After seeing the validity of his point and realizing that in order to join the Parliament, you don’t need to be a graduate or have any particular qualifications barring eligible age, I have decided that in exactly fourteen years our son can become an MP but perhaps he has to practise a few more parliamentary actions like yelling incoherently, breaking tables, snatching papers and smashing mikes, to really fit in.

Meanwhile, I need to practise removing stains from furniture, as that seems to be my primary occupation at home. I scrub away, thinking of ways to remove the prodigal son from his position as baby Ganpati standing outside his mom’s house, because if something happens to him, I don’t think I can find an elephant head in time to make him my little Ganesha. Parvati had divine powers to join the head with her son’s body whereas I will have to plonk an orange pumpkin on top of his torso and try my luck with spit and good old Fevicol.

5.30 p.m.: I hit upon a solution to my Ganpati problem by dragging the prodigal son into the house and forcing him to do some more homework.

7 p.m.: I am working on a few yoga poses and have finally managed to hoist my body into some version of a headstand when the prodigal son returns and loftily announces, ‘Mom, I can make anyone pregnant now!’ I violently choke, lose my balance and tumble onto the carpet.

At a loss for words for the first time in fifteen years, I feebly mutter, ‘Uh, I don’t think, er . . . you should do such things; it’s not the right uhm . . . time and uh . . . the girl and you uh . . .’

‘Yuck, that’s gross, Mom!’ he shrieks. ‘You always think of such dirty things! I don’t even talk to girls though you keep insisting that soon I will be running after them. I didn’t mean it like that! Eww! I was doing some research for a school project and the youngest boy who has made anyone pregnant is eleven! The Internet says it’s a world record, that’s all. Dad is right! You say gross things all the time!’ And the prodigal son storms off. Yikes!

F: Fitness Mania Spreads in the Building

The man of the house, unlike me, can actually cook. You must always find a partner who can do a few mundane chores around the house so that you can relax in your favourite armchair and nourish your brain with books just like these. If you do know how to cook, it is rather useful to pretend otherwise, unless you want to be periodically nagged by snotty children to make their messy and time-consuming favourite dishes right up to the day you get Alzheimer’s and luckily forget the recipe along with your name.

I would rather take a nap on the balcony in the time that it takes to make complicated things like spaghetti Bolognese but that could just be due to the fact that I am always chronically sleep deprived and my entire day whizzes by running in circles, occasionally running on the treadmill and invariably running into odd situations . . .

Today

6.30 a.m.: I am wide awake as the man of the house has switched on all the lights and decided that this is the precise moment that he needs to further perfect his body, by a series of complex exercises that involve carrying his body weight on his right elbow. He cheerfully asks me to join him.

As much as I admire his zeal for self-inflicted punishment, the debate on whether to partake in his innovative routine or jab my eye three times instead is very short. The latter less-painful option accomplished, I decide to get out of bed and get a head start to my day.

7 a.m.: My body needs caffeine to lubricate all my joints into some semblance of normal function, but as I walk to the kitchen, the two children that at some mistaken point I deemed necessary for my happiness dash into me while playing ‘Catch the mosquito or catch dengue’ (a game unique to Mumbai suburbs).

10 a.m.: Rushing to the office, I walk to the lift in my building, when I hear loud, crashing sounds come from the stairway. I poke my head forward, curious about the commotion. Lo and behold, it is my neighbours Mrs C and Mrs M (wearing polyester-printed salwar kameez and gleaming white sneakers) rushing up the stairs to the third floor and then back down to the second, again and again.

Getting dizzy just looking at them, I call out, ‘Mrs C, Mrs M, what are you guys doing?’ Mrs C ignores me (the same way she ignores my monthly messages asking her to make sure her dog doesn’t defecate in the front yard. Last Diwali, I very kindly sent her a beautifully wrapped made-in-Japan poop-scooper but never even got a thank-you note).

Mrs M answers with a pant, ‘We are doing exercises. You can see, no. Then why asking?’

Muttering under my breath that no amount of running up and down floors can dislodge the 100 theplas they eat at each meal, I roll my eyes and leave the building.

2 p.m.: Sitting at my store and going through accounts is a dreary task. Though I feel I may need some sort of injectable drug to get through the day, I settle for some coffee and continue breaking my head with numbers that never seem to add up just right.

5 p.m.: Back home and with time to spare, I decide to take the baby (fondly referred to as the ‘little beast’) to my mother’s house so that she can harass other members of the family besides me.

I get there and mother dearest is sitting with her close friend, Honey, and trying to call up their friend, Bubble. Honey! Bubble! Dimple!

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