Sai is a good friend, and she can be quite hilarious at times. It is not really her sense of humour but her general disposition towards things, people and events that evokes guffaws in me every now and then. This is a true account that I heard from her a few days back.
Sai has, like the numerous other members of the Gen-Y (why y?) working in the heartless city, rented out an apartment with two other girls. It is these three girls – Sai, Vadivu and Sofi (that’s how Sai spells it, I don’t know), that will form the ‘stars’ of this episode.
The landlady had imposed one condition too many which the hapless trio of girls chose to accept for the want of a better alternative. One of these conditions was that on no account would the girls choose to cook meat, fish or anything non–vegetarian in the house. Funny as this may seem, it is a fact that many a landlord / lady, for reasons known only to them, impose such dietary restrictions on their tenants.
For starts, the girls managed to assuage their inherent need for a non-vegetarian fare by visiting every now and then, a choice restaurant – be it Chettinad, Chinese or Keralite – that serves one animal or the other. Sofi in particular, wasn’t quite satisfied with the number of creatures – flying, crawling or swimming – that she had buried in her tummy! And thus one evening, she decides to cook her own fish, hoping to put to use whatever little culinary expertise the girls these days seem to haveJ. And thus, she even manages to sell the idea to the other girls.
After much trouble over shopping, the choicest fish were picked from the market and brought home. The girls had just entered their home and were admiring examining their buy, in excited anticipation of what was to become of the poor creature in their delicate, carefully manicured hands.
As luck would have it, the doorbell chimes just then, and much to their shocked dismay, they find none other than the landlady ‘maami’ at their doorstep. There was hardly anytime to think of a sound plan of action before opening the door, and the panicky Sofi was calmed down by the normally cool and composed Sai and given very specific instructions.
“Hide the fish, and I’ll take care of the rest”, says Sai.
Sofi being the built-of-sound-logic-computer-professional that she is, has her own doubts and quite rightly so. Dead fishes have this uncanny knack of announcing their arrival to just about the entire neighborhood and you didn’t need a Tarla Dalal to smell them out! Sofi is just brooding over the impending calamity when Vadivu opens the door to the unusually cheerful landlady. The ‘kind motherly woman’ in her had apparently chosen, this very moment to drop by and ensure that all was well with her young lady tenants.
As she steps into the drawing room, Sofi jumps out of her fretful reverie and darts across out of the room, the bag of fish in her hand.
Landlady (to Vadivu): “Why is Sp in such a great hurry?”
While the dumbstruck Vadivu finds her lips glued and looks increasingly like she’s constipating, my not-to-be-outsmarted friend quickly intervenes and comes to the rescue.
Sai: “Aunty, she is quite full”
Landlady: “Really! Where did u go for dinner? Kerala hotel, or was it Chinese?”
Sai: “Err aunty, its not that. You’re mistaken. Sofi has got to…pee. Yeah, that’s what she needs to do, and quite urgently. So you know why she ran across the room like her bottom was on fire!”
Sofi, as it seems now, wasn’t listening to all this, and still was fighting with the problem of concealing the fish. And naturally, the girl runs straight into the kitchen to the full view of others.
Landlady: “Don’t tell me she still isn’t used to the new home. Why did she run into the kitchen instead of the toilet?”
This time, even the super-brain Sai is outwitted and finds herself at a loss for words. But this is team work, and come what may, the team sticks together. Thinking thus, Vadivu intervenes and says, “Actually aunty, strange as this might sound, Sofi always needs to drink a glass of water every time she needs to pee.”
Sai’s attempt to get the Landlady shut up seems to be working, as the landlady has this half-incredulous-bordering-on-disgust- look on her face, and naturally, doesn’t know what to say. And silence prevails. Sofi, in the meanwhile, is quite unaware of the way things have built up until now, and instead of heading for the toilet from the kitchen, is back in the drawing room, her countenance embellished with a triumphant smile after having successfully put out of sight, their loot. Whats more, she even manages to surreptitiously spray some deodorant on herself. The deodorant had apparently been left there in the kitchen by one of the girls when they were simultaneously making coffee and getting ready for work, earlier that morning.
The landlady is now definitely on the verge of insanity and can’t stop gaping at the three of them, one after the other. Sofi has picked up a magazine and is putting her best effort in trying to look casual; she is now seen reclining on one of the chairs in one corner, and flipping through the pages in a desultory fashion. The ubiquitous mobile phone comes to the rescue of Vadivu who stands in one corner, pretending to be answering an all important, earth shattering call that might well decide the future of the universe and everything else in it.
Sai, who has finally been relegated to being with herself, the landlady and a pregnant silence lurking in between them, is unable to stand it no longer. She finally declares, “I think it is me who has actually to relieve myself!” Being careful not to wait for a response, she scurries off – this time, thankfully to the loo and locks herself in there. The landlady, not knowing whether to be amused or confused, finally decides to let the girls be and leaves.
I am not entirely sure of what happened to the fish later.