'And I'm back at work, where it's quieter than home is likely to be for a while', says Kishore Singh.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
When things overwhelm her, my wife seeks refuge in a. re-arranging her cupboard (this can take a week, by which time she needs some other form of escape from our nagging to "please just put everything back"); b. goes on a laundry binge, washing already washed clothes; c. ignores the chaos around her to pick up the phone and gossip with friends (she can talk as long as the phone battery lasts); and/or d. get into a car and arrive unannounced at some friend's house, re-surfacing only when she is forced to come back.
When things overwhelm her, my daughter likes to head for the nearest mall, finding succour amidst the crowds, or in shopping -- or both.
When things overwhelm my son, his refuge is his bike, hitting the highway with his buddies.
I didn't know where his wife seeks shelter, but it's a matter of time before we find out.
My own escape is a cottage 15 minutes from home that is surrounded by fields and silence for most part.
I like to potter around here, even though I'm no help to the maali, and have to ask his wife to rustle up a meal when I'm peckish even though the kitchen is equipped with ingredients as well as labour saving devices.
I'd like to say I read here, watch TV, or listen to music, but mostly I just stare vacuously and do nothing.
Which, let me hasten to assure you, is an art, so addicted have we become to "doing something".
Two days after my son's marriage, I decided to spend the day at the cottage.
In a house where wedding guests were still in residence, this was not an easy proposition.
My mother insisted on coming.
It seemed churlish not to extend an invitation to my sister and her husband who were staying with us.
This was a manageable flock, so we took off.
My mother settled down to sunbathe.
My sister did this and that.
My brother-in-law was content chugging bottles of beer that he discovered in the fridge.
All was content.
But word of our escape seemed to have reached others.
An SUV announced the arrival of a cousin sister and two aunts.
They quickly set to chatting and knitting and criticising in the way that aunts are inclined to do -- it's built into their DNA.
Another aunt and her son followed soon after.
This was becoming a party.
I was reduced to fetching chairs and serving cocktails instead of slumbering quietly on a deck chair.
It was soon evident they expected to be served lunch.
Fortunately, my wife arrived then and took over the kitchen.
At some point a meal was served, followed by tea.
No one seemed in a hurry to leave.
The last to arrive were my son and his bride.
Perhaps, like me, they came in search of tranquillity and isolation.
At any rate, they too found themselves surrounded by chattering relatives.
None of it was idyllic.
So we did what we do in such situations.
My daughter-in-law (like my daughter) took off to a mall.
My son decided to go riding.
My wife took on the settling of cupboards and laundering simultaneously, so our bedroom resembles a war zone.
And I'm back at work, where it's quieter than home is likely to be for a while.