We cleaned our room today. Big deal, you ask. Yes indeed! Our house was as clean (notice the past tense?) as my sister’s is not; she bursts into a hysteric fit at the sight of a speck of dust at some remote corner of the ceiling that’s impossible to see without a telescope. Pallikarani marsh will seem like Queen Victoria’s abode in comparison. There have been occasions when we had to turn away our guest at the door, for fear of having a dead body in our living room (that adds to the “aroma”, you know). Our room is not for weak-hearted. If you can’t stand the sight of various vegetables and snacks in various stages of decay strewn all around you without losing your lunch, if the stench of unwashed socks makes you nauseous, or if Justin Bieber’s songs make you want to slit your wrist, for I regret to say, my roommates hear JB’s songs rather frequently, our room is not a recommend attraction for you. You can surely send your boss to our place, though. We’ll be glad to oblige. A few of our unsuspecting guests have thrown up as soon as they beheld our shinning adobe, so that they will have something prettier to look at. (Ok, no more of “dragging my house through the mud”. There is enough of it already).
Once the decision to clean up the mess was made, we hit another snag. Which one of the three of us was going to clean the kitchen. That’s quite strange because I’ve noticed in other houses that there is always a squabble over who will clean the bathroom. Not in our house. We believe in equality and we make sure that every square inch is as dirty as any other. Despite our meticulous efforts to maintain equality, our kitchen turned out to be a cut above the rest. Why, if we shifted the bathtub to the kitchen, nothing will seem out of place (If you ask me, that’s a gorgeous idea. Most helpful if your guests are on the way to dine with you and you’re still in shower. Not that anyone will come over to our place for dinner unless they are masochistic).
We are mature grown-ups (if you could look past their taste in music) and we decided to resolve the issue the mature grown-ups way. We played Rock, Paper and Scissors.
On the count of three, the other two raised a clenched fist, and me being a supporter of Amma extended my fingers in shape of V. I lost. My arguments that it was not ‘All Reals’ notwithstanding, the mighty weight of “disinfecting” our kitchen fell on my tiny shoulders. (In hindsight, I think RPS is not a game for adults. Too much randomness and very little room for intelligence. Next time we’ll settle issues over Sha-boo-thri).
I bit the bullet and braced myself for the arduous task. Our kitchen does not have enough room to swing a cat. Why, you can’t stretch your arms without knocking over glasses or punching roommate in the nose if he happens to be there as well. Throw in a huge refrigerator and a oven, of which a handful of spiders are at present tenants, you’re left just a kitchen slab, a few cupboards and a stinking sink. I calculated that the operation should not take longer than a hour.
The next one hour I scrubbed violently a tiny portion of the kitchen slab. It still looked no different than from before. I will let you in on an important secret: never have sticky kitchen slab or roommates who can beat you in silly games.
Once I was done with – or rather had given up – scrubbing the slab, I turned to the others tasks at hand. Dishes languishing in the sink (so discolored that you will have a hard time guessing its original color), scraps of onions and other vegetables scattered all around (including inside the refrigerator freezer), adhering to the sticky slab, and overflowing garbage can that gave the impression of a lava-spewing volcano. And then there was my lunch box. Here’s a thing about my lunch box: I always wash it only before packing my lunch. The last time I packed my lunch was two months ago. The last one alone is enough to make my stomach tie itself in knots.
I set about cleaning up the mess like my life depended on it. Room mates extended a helping hand by “tut-tuting” and going “awwww..” frequently. They even danced a few steps (if gyrating hips wildly could be called that). But all miserable things should come to an end. My misery ended after close to three hours.
In the evening I had a video-chat with my sister. I proudly revealed our spick and span kitchen to her, like Abhinav Bhindra would have flaunted his gold medal to his mother. Instead of lavishing praises on how our lineage has been so blessed to have a responsible boy like me, she pointed out how our ceiling was dirty, our stove was puke-inducing and sink utterly disgusting. She raved on until she ran out of breath. No sense of appreciation, you know. I tell you, Sisters are’t gentlemen.
P.S: Title inspired by P.G.Wodehouse book Aunts aren’t gentlemen.