Saturday, April 29, 2006

Adventure on a pleasant and normal Bombay evening


It’s such a normal pleasant evening by the sea. Mom, Dad and I slouch back on our deck chairs on the balcony as we sip our sundowners. Dad has poured himself a whisky, I’m having a feni and soda and my mother is enjoying a local red wine. Red wine, she claims, is good for her asthma and her heart.

So we’re talking about this and that when I see a shadowy form flit across the tiled floor. It scurries in a zig zag fashion towards me and before I know it my legs are in the air to avoid the wretched creature. Long before I know what the hell it is my brain has informed me it’s a roach and has done its usual hysterical act. Luckily the roach which seems just as hysterical has zig zagged faster than Michael Schuhmacher towards my mother who is so surprised at the thing brushing past her feet that she goes “Eeeeek!” And she prizes herself on being so calm and nonchalant in the presence of cockroaches and laughs about me being the scaredy puss!

So anyway Roachboy, intent on saving his own life takes off for some dark corner where he presumably gets lost and we forget about him and get back to chatting about what’s been happening generally, about the traffic problem and about Mahajan’s state of health and other stuff, when my mother picks up her glass, inspects it, smells it, gets up casually and goes into the drawing room and looks into her glass carefully again, by the bright light indoors.

“What?” I ask her and my worst fears are confirmed.

“Cockroach,” she says – and I must say she is very calm and tranquil as she breaks this news to me. “That darned insect must have fallen into my glass.”

I am flabbergasted. When?! How! We were all there and none of saw anything! Anyway it’s happened and there’s nothing to be done about it except to pour out the remaining wine, rinse out the glass and pour in some fresh wine. “I smelled something funny,” Mother says. “It didn’t smell like wine any more and I had a strong suspicion the cockroach must have tumbled in. It’s happened once before. Cockroaches like red wine too, apparently.”

I ask her, “Did you drink any of the wine after the creature fell in?” And mom shrugs. In her usual pragmatic manner she says, “I don’t know. But I’m glad it was one of the cheaper Indian wines. Imagine how much worse it would have felt to have to toss out a glass of expensive, imported Shiraz or something else!”

5 comments:

suresh said...

Lovely piece.. kudos! couldn't help rolling on the ground with laughter. Thanks..

Stardust1954 said...

Uma, I love your stories!

We don't have many cockroaches here in the suburbs, however, when my daughter went off to school in Philadelphia she had lots of cockroach "encounters." The first time she had a confrontation with one she was on the telephone with me. We were having a nice chat and all of a sudden she said, "Oh - my - god...ohmygod!" I said, "what! what!" and she said, "Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!" I said "whatwhatwhat?!" and she said "hold on" and dropped the phone...I was crying out "MARY! MARY! YOU OK! ANSWER ME!" Then I heard..."BAM, BANG, BOOM!" repeatedly. I kept calling her name, worried that some entruder got into her apartment or something. She finally came back to the phone and said that is the biggest ^&%%^$ cockroach I have ever &^%^&$% seen! You could hear it walking, Mom!" Then she broke into homesick tears. Of course, now, she is used to city life and it's "critters."

umarang said...

Yes I kind of react like Mary whenever I see a roach!!!

firoze hirjikaka said...

...roaches...broaches...who cares?...you have a balcony big enough to accomodate three deck chairs...I am absolutely green with envy...this razor-sharp intellect is currently figuring out a strategy to get myself invited there...and btw...i like my wine French or Napa Valley or, at a pinch...Australian...but i draw the line at Madam Pompadour -)

charmayne said...

hey,uma, enjoyed the piece. that cockroach chose wisely,death by de-wine. thats how we should all go,though mother of course,plans to extend her life resuscitate her heart and suppress that asth-ma with the same decoction that the cockroach found refuge in. after having read dwights piece bfore yours, it suddenly makes me think whether the cockroach might have joined his adult children of aqddictive substances if it had revived....