What happens when you move to a new home? Clogged drains, faulty pipes were just a part of a seemingly endless litany of woes that plagued us as as our smiles became markedly strained. Here’s an account of what happened when I moved house and got to share this with the readers of Sunday Herald.
Its 7 am on a Saturday morning when the doorbell rings. When I open the door I bite my tongue so as to stop myself from laughing out loud. The early birds on my doorstep are carrying identical worn out brown bags. With similar befuddled expressions on their faces and their shirts fraying at the edges they look like two peas in a pod. I assume that the one who follows behind the other is the younger sibling. He has a deferential attitude and keeps bobbing his head whenever big brother murmurs to him. In the beginning I believe he is trying to communicate to me but it turns out to be the ambiguous Indian nod. The nod that means either a “yea” or a “nay” and puzzling for the person facing him or the others in the room wondering who the lucky recipient is.
The Brothers Karamazov head straight towards the bathroom and start tinkering with the pipes. Ten minutes pass by and the younger brother steps out. Before he opens his mouth, I hand him a dry cloth. I’m an old hand at the game and armed with all the required paraphernalia for such visits. I have a drawer stuffed with used towels, dusters, switches, batteries and anything that remotely resembles a handyman’s kit. The intrusion of a foreign object such as a pen or keys throws me in a tizzy as my sacred space has been violated. My younger daughter once toyed with the idea of having a label stuck on the drawer that read “Opening this drawer can be injurious to your health!”
I hear frantic whispering and loud noises emanating from the smallest room in my house for the next ten minutes. Big brother comes out with a harried expression on his face. “We need to break the floor tiles as the pipe is completely clogged up!” My heart stops for a few seconds and I blink at him unable to process the words. “How much would it cost?” Luckily my husband still has his wits about him. After continuous mumbling and shuffling his feet the plumber comes up with a figure. Its good I am leaning on the wall that I don’t fall over at the outrageous sum. I have visions of being carted away in an ambulance with my children weeping behind me. I wonder why movie screenwriters are not queuing at my doorstep instead of plumbers. I’d trade one for the other any day.
Broken pipes, clogged drains, faulty light switches, loose drawers, I’ve seen it all. My initial attempts at fixing them only aggravated the problem that my husband insisted that I call in the experts lest “my delicate hands” get soiled in the process. When I was ready to nominate him for ‘husband of the year’ award for his comment, his grimace was a dead giveaway. In his unique way, he was trying to fix the problem. While I lamented the frequency of their visits, the brothers gained immense experience by the sheer breadth of plumbing problems that plagued my apartment. I chipped in too and short of rolling out the red carpet did everything possible to make their work easier.
When my friends got wind of my new “hobby” as they termed it, they pleaded with me on revealing the secret. “Its all in the upbringing my dears!” My reply had them stumped. One of my strongest memories of childhood was that of my dad scuttling off to the mechanic’s garage at the drop of a hat. When my school classmates reported back to me after any such sightings during the holidays I seethed with jealousy – they certainly got to see more of him than I did whenever school was out! My mother came a poor second to my dad’s car who was his first love. Blame it on my darn DNA – how could I not turn out to be a chip off the old block?