Friday, May 02, 2014

FYI, dilli!

I ping Dilli: i got a heatstroke, da :-( 
Dilli: heatstroke in b’lore, la?

Me: it’s unbearably tawa-HOT, pa!

Silence. I know he’s googling. He’s always googling to set his record straight and mine askew.

Dilli: OMG!! it’s 32 degrees!
Me: Po da! (go away!)
Dilli: Po di!

The one thing I can’t drill into his dilli-mind is that la/pa/da = yaar and you can’t say ‘po di’ just as you won't call a woman ‘yaari’ !!

Me: green bile rising.

Dilli: is it any other colour down south?

Me: offo!

He’s getting away with very little empathy.

Me: been up all night.

Dilli: :-( :-(


The only reason I tell him everything is because he’s a man of principles. Just like he does not take work home, he doesn’t take me out of the chat window, ever. Window closed, me out of his slightly-bald head.

The closing line is usually mine: Go die!
If I linger, I see his: Hahahahaha!

Me (un-priding myself): Ravan! Don’t you do any other impersonations? 

Perhaps, I’m being uncharitable here about his not caring. For if I’m not online for 2 days, he does text: whatup? Or if I come online on day 3 and after turning on my light green and waiting for an hour, I say a ‘hi’ (cold, exclaimationless), he says, doodie!! (all exclamation like he’s been counting seconds of my absence). 

Me: dude, you know like, kind of, 10 years from now...

Dilli: you mean when you’re dead? Sorry to disappoint, 10 years from now and for a long time after that till you lose your head to dementia at 90, you’d still be punching swear words at me.

He knows Hamlet by heart but remembers nothing about me till I remind. I’m thankful he knows my birthday falls sometime in March. Maybe also, sometime March end. So I can expect his call on any of the 3 days preceding it, with all the enthu of a cutlet: doodie! 

We have met only twice in 15 years since I left Delhi - an after-lunch walk around my sister’s house after I’d had too much wine; and once when I was going from Delhi to Manesar on a May afternoon when the heavens were entertaining us being fire-throwers, I texted him. Let’s meet, he replied. Okay! But he can’t help being himself, can he? Let’s meet at the toll naka!! Dilli takes precisely 15 minutes off work, 5 to walk up to toll-naka, 5 back. So we have a picture of us in an awkward half-embrace, the towering toll gate forming a very avoidable backdrop, everything around us melting in the sun, including the cabbie who takes the out-of-focus picture, hazed over by vehicle fumes.

I ping him later.
Me: hey, you’ve not turned as bald and paunchy as you said.

Dilli: and you’re developing a sense of humour in your old age.


But seriously, I had a heatstroke. And was advised to stay indoors, drink fluids, a concoction of roast jeera, eat methi leaves – practically turn into a pre-historic specimen – those that did not get heat stroke from sleeping naked on sun-baked stones under the sun.

Day 3 of heatstroke was Labour Day holiday and I made the yummiest coconut chutney for breakfast (on good days we have something to go with it). The bulging pack of dosa batter sat on the kitchen counter waiting release. But I got the chills. Big chills that had me flipping off the bed like a hot dosa. The husband and girl sat holding me down rubbing my palms and feet and imploring me to let them take me to hospital. They didn’t say ‘this is serious’ because it simply does not cut ice with me. When the chills subsided, I had dosas in bed. The girl kept calling out to the help, ‘Aunty, one more for mummy’. And as she carried the third to me, the look on the help’s face was mix of empathy, worry and a warning she was dying to mouth.  

Eated, I was ready to be rushed to emergency. It was so hot, I worried that the sweat would blotch the minute black S the receptionist had drawn on her forehead. The dandy paediatrician was leaving and said to her, ‘You also go home, Gayatri’. Eh, like I, the patient should be left to die because it was a Labour Day Holiday? Gayatri blushed and even gave me a smile. 

The doctors said I had a massive infection. Blood and other fluids were drawn and antibiotics, painkillers and paracetamol pumped in. Thus endorsed, I contentedly turned into a moaning patient. Like lights in a discotheque, my body turned hot and cold. I held the husband and child in each hand swearing if they leave me for a second, I would die. 

The quickest shut-eye and I see the girl disappeared and the husband snoring beside me. I tell him I’m burning, could he sponge?  He sponges delicately, like nothing he’s ever done. So I snatch the towels from him and do it myself. The girl comes in groggily, ‘What’s happening?’ ‘I have never ever been sponged with water without cologne before,’ I wail and she runs to get the cologne. But of course, they don’t know where cologne is. How difficult is it to guess? Dresser? The tallest blue bottle? I decide to complain to my sisters. At least they will send me shiny new bottles of cologne. 

By night, I’m worried for the morning. You two are not going to work tomorrow, I declare. I don’t want to die in an empty house. Don’t worry, no one’s going anywhere. And most importantly, you’ve just got a viral infection and no one died of it.
 Just! That’s what they say to dying people. 

I’ve been tucked into bed for no longer than 2 seconds and the whisper in the hall becomes the daughter’s sweet voice, ‘Tomorrow, I will stay back with you. Papa can go. Then, Saturday, Papa will stay with you because I absolutely
 have to go.’ They stuck a deal over my fever-thrashed body!

I wake up moaning when there’s no light outside and husband is already dabbing aftershave, his yoga mat rolled under his arm. Yoga or me, decide now! Yoga, he wants to say but aware of the consequences that mean a definite yoga-miss, he says, ‘Did you sleep well? Let’s take your temperature’. Sticking the thermometer into my mouth, he makes good his escape.

I’m sitting here 
quinine-mouthed, my tummy feeling like a cardboard has been tied around it, my body creaking with every breath. Hukka-bar is playing loudly on the radio in the lobby between our rooms. The girl’s in hers, calling out at precisely-timed intervals (she must have put reminders on her phone) ‘Mamma, you okay?’

Dilli hasn’t asked. Let him read this. I’m not coming online in 10 days! :P