Saturday, August 28, 2021

My Cupboard Complains

 It all began with the packers.  Everything that goes wrong in our house, if not blamed on the monkeys, is always blamed on the packers.  But it WAS their fault.  For mixing things up in big boxes, leaving them unlabeled and strewn all over the house.  Boxes that were too big and heavy for me to move, boxes that were too jumbled up for me to guess what lay within each.  There is more order in volcanic eruptions than in my unpacked boxes.

"It's okay,"says my husband.  "We're not here to win a prize for neat and tidy homes."  (This means, "I'm not going to waste my time clearing up this mess when I can work on a Coronavirus vaccine."). Fair enough.  And, usually, it's okay.  The inherent lack of order combined with the disorder my son brings each day into our house is something we live cheerfully with. (Garbage is not garbage, according to my son.  It is a thing of wondrous possibilities, which he must explore).

We moved in just before the Coronavirus did.  At a busy time, a few days before Diwali.  "Don't worry about unpacking, immediately" said my husband (which meant, "I have to go to Africa on Diwali.  We'll deal with things when I return.").  And so I just skimmed the surface of what lay in the boxes and put them away.  Of course certain emergencies required immediate action (like my husband realising a few hours before his flight that he had no sweater.  Finally, after much upheaval, we located one (and only one) sweater -the rest were packed in a completely different box in the garage.

It has now been almost two years since we moved.  Gradually I have unpacked, leaving the lowest priority and most voluinous items for the end.  These were undoubtedly my clothes.  Living in three pairs of clothes for a year brought a certain sense of freedom.  No choices to be made.  No accessories to choose.  Just wear, wash and repeat the process.  This served me well through the first pandemic year.  Until my clothes developed holes that grew larger and larger.

It was then that I unpacked and put away the rest of my clothes.  My cupboard is old and exceedingly beautiful.  It has spotless glass and coloured tiles on it and is made of ancient, gleaming teak.  But its design is such that I cannot see half the contents because the doors do not open completely.  To access these, I have to pull everything our, sift through the clothes and push everything back again.  Not practical but I love my cupboard much too much to change this.  And my cupboard (when it is not in one of its moods, loves me immensely too).

So I carefully put away my things but had no use for most of them because life was still moving at maximum simplicity scale.  The priority was waking up early, going outdoors to play, rushing back, cooking breakfast, checking internet connections, making sure we were in time for the zoom calls, cooking the next meal and repeating this process over and over.

It was finally only today that I gathered the energy to wear a saree.  I got my first saree when I was sixteen and I have loved wearing them ever since.  In my parents' house I was oblivious as to the demands of sarees- they demand to be hand washed, starched, sun-dried, carefully ironed and put away in the right place, next to the matching blouses and petticoats.  It is understandable that I have not been able to summon the energy to wear a saree for the last two years.

But today things were different.  Today I was determined to wear one.  And so I went confidently to the cupboard and pulled out my favourite colour- off white.  I love all shades of white and this white and blue one was what I would wear today.

But life had Other Plans.  The saree was perfect, but - no blouse!  I searched high and low and finally located the blouses tucked away in a corner, camouflaged next to a bunch of dupattas.  Whew!  But the problem was far from solved.  My cupboard, which once overflowed with white petticoats suddenly shook its head when I asked it to produce just one.  "Not possible," it said with a little sigh.  "You didn't put them in here."

Didn't put them in here!  I was aghast.  Where HAD I put them?

"Well maybe you did.  But - ahem- you have so many white clothes and they look all the same folded up that I can't tell," my ancient cupboard groaned.  "Here- why don't you take this nice- grey one."

Grey!  I shuddered.  It is a colour I don't like.  "Okay, how about- bright yellow, dark mustard, navy blue.."

I shook my head.  "Oh!  You're so hard to please," creaked my cupboard.  "Well, take this- it's a very old green one."

Green- I rummaged around.  Yes, I had a saree.  I had a blouse (did it fit?- whew! yes it did..).  Okay I could manage that.  "Thank you," I whispered to the cupboard.  "Don't mention it- ever again," it sighed.  I wondered.  Had I been too demanding?

Finally, after I got into my saree, I felt it had all been worth it.  Yes, there are mounds of clothes scattered about which have to be rearranged and put back.  Yes, I need to find those white petticoats asap.  Yes, I will have to wash this saree (but I am not going to think that far ahead).  Today, I am going to enjoy wearing my green saree with this cheerful red blouse.  A small triumph of perseverance in the face of complete clothes-finding chaos.  Even my cupboard approves of that.

No comments:

#Header1_headerimg { margin: 0px auto }