• RAJGOPAL KRISHNAMURTHI

Home alone on a holiday

Harish was keen to sign off the week in style. With friends visiting him for lunch and the good vibes promising to lead him into the weekend, a Super Saturday was very much on the cards.


Returning home with thoughts on the day slated to follow kept him excited. Little did he know that a phone call from his mother would bring the curtains down on what seemed like a scintillating Saturday. The information that his parents would be out of town for a day and they would leave home a few hours after his arrival caught him off guard. He never fancied staying alone at home, but he had to, this time around.


The loud sound of the calling bell woke him up instantly. It was half-past six, too early for

him to get out of bed on a holiday. He opened the door to a stranger waiting with a box full of milk packets. Harish was confused. The usual vendor would drop the required packets in the box fitted to the door and leave without a fuss.


After a few minutes of discussion, the guy at the door understood that the supplies weren’t for Harish and left the place after tendering an apology. Harish wasn’t able to sleep further. The sound of the bell and the uncalled-for conversation had disturbed his state of mind—not the way he wanted to start the day. After lying awake for an hour, he stepped into his kitchen for a cup of coffee. All these days, his coffee would be ready by the time he reached the kitchen. It wasn’t to be a single-stage process this time. After twenty minutes, Harish walked into the living room, sipping his favourite drink, though he wasn’t convinced with the taste.


His next assignment, preparing food for breakfast, was actually easy as he just had to fill the idli plate with batter, top the vessel holding the plate with a lid and leave it to the steam to do the rest. But to pair the idlis with chutney, he had to sauté a few vegetables in the right proportion, allow the mix to cool, and then blend them to the desired consistency. This was a bit tricky. A slight miss would prove costly. Relishing idlis without a tasty accompaniment would be next to impossible. Even the simplest of dishes need the finest of attention. Don’t they?


It was already twelve minutes when Harish rushed to the induction stove. In a flash, he

removed the lid to set the idlis free from the wrath of the steam. To his surprise, the batter was fresh on the plate; its transition to the edible state never took off. The black spot on the plug socket indicated that something was wrong, but the stove was still on, with the timer showing the minutes that had elapsed. There was no steam on offer, though.


The day hadn’t begun well for Harish; the message was loud and clear.


He shifted the vessel to another stove, called the electrician to seek help, and moved towards the blender, not knowing that trouble was just a push away. The moment he started the blender, it let out a screeching sound. One of the screws holding the handle had slipped into the mix; interacted with the blade, producing the strange noise. The mix was no longer edible. Harish looked helpless. He had to start all over again; he wasn’t ready, though. Idlis with sugar seemed like the best bet.


Breakfast was a disaster, and with no plans for lunch, Harish decided to go for a walk to settle his nerves. It was 9 am. With his favourite cap on, he wouldn’t have walked a few metres when a stray dog from the opposite side of the road started barking at him. This was a shocker that reminded him of the quote: “When things aren’t going your way, you aren’t safe from a barking dog, despite sitting on a camel.” The dog was a few metres away, and he wasn’t on a camel.


Harish swiftly removed his cap and looked for the dog’s reaction. The intensity of barking

was definitely down. It looked like the dog was teaching him to be a Roman in Rome. He quietly continued his walk and never looked at the dog again.


At this point, what should Harish do when the girl he secretly admired waved at him? The

poor guy reacted immediately, only to find her friends giggling from behind. Harish was

embarrassed. He was desperate to break the shackles. He walked straight to her and said, “Sorry, I thought it was for me.” She smiled at him and replied, “Don’t you worry. You were spot on with your judgement.” Harish was on cloud nine. He never expected a turnaround in this fashion.


How he wished to talk to her every time they crossed paths. There were occasions when his plans failed miserably. This was out of the blue, and it happened when he was completely out of sorts. They spoke for some time, exchanged numbers, and left the place, promising to meet soon.


As Harish walked back home, the dog that barked at him was quiet; he was wearing his cap, though. He could see the electrician waiting at his gate, and his neighbour popped out of her home and invited him for lunch. Suddenly, his day looked poised for a fairy-tale finish.


Was it courtesy of the fairy he bumped into on the street?


The day ended with CSK defeating MI in a thriller of a contest. As Harish gazed at the

ceiling, thinking about the events that unfolded, it was quarter-past twelve.

An hour in the kitchen was enough for Harish to conclude that his routine at the office,

though gruelling, was no match to the daily chores of a homemaker. He had a message for his mother that read, “Unconditional love and commitment of the highest order never come with a price tag.”


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