My husband is into garment business-retail and wholesale and the entire big joint family has a few reputed brands and their distributorship under their growing bellies’ belts. For all you know if you are wearing good branded clothing and living in the NCR, it might have somehow channelized through the Arora Parivaar or someone we know closely we aren’t really THAT big but then so aren’t the bulls if you look at them standing next to the elephants as against the dogs. Oho just thinking a random fact #1 here: if A=B and B=C and thereby A=C, does that mean if I touch my husband and my husband touches a jacket and that jacket is touched by a shopkeeper to whom it is sent and then you touch it to buy it, would this imply that I touched you? Issssshhhh...uncalled-for display of my mathematical and calculative genius should be kept aside for some other time.
So when it was heard that Mr Nitin Kasliwal, the owner of S Kumar’s and Reid N Taylors, is coming to town for some business expansion meetings and would be visiting the house for lunch, it was not just another day in the household, heaving with arrangements to dazzle the business magnate, who basically lives in London now, going to and fro nationally when required.
Now being the most chotti bahu not in terms of size or gray matter of course, I do not
care have much
idea about all that’s happening at the top levels, unless rumour/gossip/news
trickles down to me through some kind route. I just heard the oldies talking
about how well read and very intelligent THE man is and among the ladies the
vine was abuzz about how charming and humble is his wife, Jyoti. They spoke of
how varied are his interests and we should open our mouths only if we had
something witty to say. Instantly I decided to shut my gap for I kinda have
this love-hate relationship with trouble and did not want to be the bread
burner with the oven that provides us with our bread and butter. Troubles
love to hate me.
So I sat in a corner lounge all dressed up while the rest of the jing bang of some thirty people of the ‘just’ family, ran to and fro making arrangements from laying matching napkin rings on the dining table, right down to keeping scented door mats on the threshold. I resigned to the corner with my thoughts but then troubles go round and strike at the corners first it seems.
The brakes of the long car came to a screeching halt as a pig came right in front of the car from nowhere. But I love these street animals-if it weren’t for them my daughter would never sit put in the car while we commute. We were told that their chartered plane had landed some half an hour ago and the wait had caused a few yawns in some and circulation of scandalous bitching amongst the rest of those waiting. The brakes rang loud like an annoying alarm clock, making you jump at your feet like you do when the realization sets in early morning that you have grossly overslept. Settling the creases on the clothes and managing to place the hair strategically at just the right slant on our foreheads, the pretty ladies ventured to the door while the men sought to please and welcome. Mr Kasliwal is known to be a tad particular about stuff and easy to get offended if things are not to perfection. As for me, this was the materializing of my childhood dream of watching the President’s salutation first hand on Republic Day at the Rashtrapati Bhawan-only in this case there were no trumpets and salaami of bandooks. If I didn’t know better, I might as well look around the milieu with my Ms Homes invisible hat on, snooping for some hidden terrorists all set to attack. Ufff....basically saying there was solemnity and formal seriousness like I have never seen before.
We all smiled-they at us, we at them and the servants at each other-it is not every day they saw their masters as submissive as now. The man did have an impressive and towering personality and strides of someone who’s walked half the world and owned some of it. All the tayajis and chachajis and the bhaiyyas were definitely at the “attention/tension” mode and that made my “stand-at-ease” also restless. The general round of introductions followed as the king’s feast was laid and all the bhabhis got down to serving and coaxing the guests to eat. Random fact#2: Now we are much defamed for over-feeding using statements that are dipped in just the right amount of cajoling and emotional blackmail and facial expressions that are so distressed at your refusal that you feel like an executioner. This happens so much that my father lives in mortal fear of being invited to our house for dinner. He gives up on food since morning for he knows his drink would be refilled before it reached the bottom and plate reloaded before he opens his mouth to say ‘no’.
Anyways, when my turn came going through the chronological order, almost like saving the best for last, Mr Kasliwal, THE tycoon stopped before me and smiled, “So you are Suruchi?”
Have you ever seen a magic show on stage in which a magician cuts a woman into pieces and then shows her moving in different boxes kept at a distance? I had the exactly same expression. And have you seen a parent whose ten years old child has peed in his pants and dropped the cake just as the party is nearing its zenith of being termed as ‘the party of the year’? That was my husband’s expression and a little less aghast but definitely concerned reflections were marked on the faces of the others. Now wtf had I done?
“Ji”, I managed to speak out and my lips alternating in doing a dance between rising into a smile and drooping with anxiety and hands almost shivering in such a timid handshake I could have been mistaken for a bunny. And in the next minute, without any warning, he hugged me with a roaring laughter. Now have you seen the expression on the face of a highly placed Incomes Tax official who has broken an expensive vase in some defaulter’s house and knows that they can’t do a fuck about it? Now that was MY expression. I was being embraced by a random stranger in front of everyone in the family and my super-conservative husband when it comes to this and no one could do a fuck about it.
But what he said in the next instant was even more earth-shattering.
“I am a big fan of your blog posts...”
Oh my gaaaaaaaaaawd! (Ekdum woh Janice from F.R.I.E.N.D.S waala OMG here was reverberating in my mind)
“You read my blog?” yes, we suck sometimes in asking the obvious and appearing totally dumb, just at the moment we have been complimented for our wit #God couldn’t find another moment to show me personification of irony.
“Of course I do, in fact just the other day I showed the ‘virginity’ post to my son, teasing him with queries if he went through the same and we laughed about it, didn’t we Jyoti?”
And all eyes now moved from him at one end to Jyoti at the other, like they do in a tennis match. And Jyoti just beamed with such sweet smiles that were it words, it would sound as the sweetest compliment.
“I am so honoured, thank you. I never realized...”
“Oh but not your fault, I never comment and when I do, I use the anonymous feature. It is not easy to do all this with my real profile. Haven’t you noticed all that showering of my complete adulation in so many recent posts as “anonymous”?
“Oh my god, the one with whom I enter into mindless banter. I am so sorry. I just didn’t think...”
And he burst into a boisterous laughter again.
“It’s not your fault. How would you know who I was?
He turned now to my father-in-law’s eldest brother, who was as alien to the entire subject at hand as “Whill you do phrandsheep by me?”-kinda people are to English. “Mr Arora, you have a gem of a writer in your family? Itna talent hain Kanpur jaise sheher mein, it is amazing!” And eyes back to me again, “I thought you looked familiar when I saw you with everyone as I entered, but never did I think that the Suruchi Arora I have been reading so voraciously from a few months would belong to this family.”
By now I had gotten used to the sudden tilt of the spotlight bulb on my proud little head and I was smiling almost comfortably. I had to almost physically stop my finger from rising against them all in an accusing posture. So you people, who thought I spend useless hours on the computer and ‘what blogging-shlogging she does, we only know of water logging’ kinda retorts-here was a mooh tod jawab! I did not know or care how he stumbled upon my blog, all I knew and wanted to know was how much he loved my posts. He was no longer the feared Mr Kasliwal-he was transformed into just another fan and me as the Blog Goddess on the altar that I often placed myself on.
My husband also butt in now, “Oh she writes amazingly well! She even has 250 followers now...” Shhh, abhi celebrity bani nahi ki autograph and photograph greedy log ki line lag gaye! Ya right, as though you read Mr Parmeshwar of Pati variety and as though you would have ever known how many, had I not hammered it about a 50 times into your too-dipped-in-work head, as soon as the figure turned to 250!
“I know Mr Gautam and you are a very lucky man. I hope you know that. In fact just the other day, I mentioned your wife and her absolutely riot writing to Anil...”
Anil who I thought-Anil his secretary, Anil Kumble, Anil Kapoor may be...
Looking at our blank expressions, he clarified, “Anil Ambaniiii and he was very interested in knowing more....”
And just at that precise moment, my glory-shory could not be digested by jealous onlookers and I was visibly and actually being shaken. “Get up Suruchi, the guests have come...” Now that was my husband, doing rightly what he always does in the real world-check me out of my reverie. I had sauntered again into my imagination world and brought back just at the climax-you know how you ‘get turned on to the hilt and then are told-we’ll do it tomorrow’ kinda expression spread on my face as Mr Kasliwal and his wife came, did a “Namaste” to me, ate and chatted with the others and left just like that-without any screech of car brakes, without any happy coincidence and without making me go anywhere near that Blog Goddess altar again! Sigh!
P.S.1 The moral of this story is that being anonymous can be injurious to everyone’s health. So all those who come here, read and go away without doing any cho-cha in the comment box with your name, you realize how years of therapy may be needed to get me to overcome this mind fuck.
P.S.2 Not all the absurd always happens with me-sometimes I attract it by my power of imagination.
P.S.3 If this post ever reaches Mr Kasliwal by some cruel game of fate, please remember to be sporting about it-mere bread and butter ka sawaal hain! And also you should read the Virginity post along with the others, maybe even recommend them to Anil.
P.S. 4 Sorry to put you through such a long post that turned out to be a phoos pataka-damp squib in the end. I guess it is my answer to God-what goes around, comes around!