One thing that I don’t really like about the gorgeous monsoon season in Kerala is the undeclared power cuts that accompany it. It’s not something colossal that would damage the wonderful ambience set by the non-stop rains, but sometimes, it’s certainly a big turn-off. Especially, as people close to me know, my laziness triples during the monsoons.
Now, monsoon and laziness definitely has a connection. But, at least some of you would be thinking what has power cuts have to do with laziness.
Rains or not, there’s a place I have to reach on time every day. That’s my office. And, there’s an official dress code that’s need to be followed there. Formals – neatly washed and pressed. Always, my sluggishness is at such a pinnacle that it would be just five minutes before I leave for office that I would even bother to start ironing out my shirt.
It was the first few days of this year’s monsoon. The rains had just started coming down heavily. I was expecting the power to shut down any moment. But my laziness would not allow me to pick the shirt from the hangar and iron it. The power went out the previous night. But I was not bothered. After all, there was enough time for office, and the power would always be back before I leave for office the next day. With these thoughts, I slept well.
Morning, I woke up to find that the power was not yet back. And by the time breakfast was over and time to go to office, my thoughts of non-botheration of the previous day had turned into a kind of worry. Calling up the KSEB office, got the information that it was not expected to come anytime soon.
Then, what was I supposed to do now? There was nothing, no sort of ideas or solutions in my mind.
It was getting late for office, and till now my wife did not interfere in this matter. She did not bother, as always she would literally beg me to do my chores on time so as to avoid obnoxious situations like this. So, she was keeping quiet, making sure that it was a learning for me.
After some time, looking at the bad situation I had got myself in, she decided to help. When she told that she was going to help me, I had no idea what she was going to do. Rather, I asked – “Joking on me? Are you going to create electricity from rain water?”
She just smiled. My thoughts wandered a bit more. Maybe she was going to borrow the old modelled iron box from our neighbour to put me out of misery. That iron box, black in colour, which needs to be filled with burning charcoal, heavy as the metal can be, that I remember my grandfather using in the days when the electric iron was a luxury. But it was a little later that I realised that idea won’t work out too. In these days of the cooking gas and induction cooker, where would you get charcoal or firewood?
I did not think any further. After, a lazy bugger facing the consequences of his own actions has no right to, when somebody is trying to help. I just watched what she was trying to do.
First thing I saw was that she was boiling water on the stove. Was she going to steam the wrinkles out of my shirt? No. Soon I realised that was not to be, when I saw my shirt being neatly spread on the ironing table. I could feel something worth patenting was on its way.
Once boiling point, what I saw was that this heated, steaming water was moved to a steel plate, the medium ones that we use to eat rice. Slowly, she was moving it over the shirt, pressing it hard; the same way we move the ironing box. And lo, within the next ten minutes, my shirt was ready to be worn, looking starched and smart, better than any that I had worn before.
I was impressed, suddenly realising how things were done the days when there was no electricity. I had just seen what would have been done in medieval and pre-modern Kerala to get the mundu and veshti in good shape.
Most guys in Kerala want to take an ultra-modern Manglish speaking girl as wife. Maybe that would be a good status symbol, but my sound advice to all those boys out there –
You guys would never get the privilege of seeing such things, as I have written above, in your life. These are the benefits of marrying a typical home-grown Malayalee girl, who knows the life and culture of the land, shared down the generations. Don’t expect a way out of wrinkles the way I had got it, as this comes in only by connecting life with culture and tradition.