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When the maid goes on holiday...

By Kishore Singh
May 27, 2016 13:00 IST
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So does the mistress, says Kishore Singh.
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When the maid goes on leave

Every summer, as the birds migrate from India, my wife follows in their wake to cooler climes, guarding her eventual destination with all the clandestine nature of a state secret.

I know she is in Vancouver as I write this because of a recent post on Facebook that shows her gazing intently at cherry blossoms. Those blossoms have been on her bucket list for as long as I can remember, so I wouldn't have been surprised to learn that she was in Tokyo but for a friend commenting that since she was in Vancouver during the week, she might want to visit her in Toronto over the weekend.

It is thanks to the string of comments too that I know she won't be in Toronto over the weekend, but in Dallas, where she's holidaying with some newly found friends, but she could consider a hop to Toronto a little later, which might be before she manages a wager in Las Vegas, or after.

I know she's going to Vegas because she asked me to make her hotel booking and then asked to borrow the credit card with which I'd made the reservation 'for continuity,' even though the alerts that have followed her binges from London airport to Vancouver city have indicated a propensity to spend on someone else's account.

At least I know what she's eating, or where she's shopping, but her return is an open-ended mystery and depends largely on how she’s feeling towards her family.

This includes her peripatetic sister who is in the same neck of the woods as her -- or, at least, in the US -- but whose travels too are a closely guarded secret as both compete to outdo the other in terms of pit stops and sights seen and experienced.

They may or may not meet at their brother's on the West Coast, but there's a chance that a reunion could occur in London, should my wife decide it's still too hot in Delhi to warrant a return.

It isn't the heat alone that's keeping her away, but the absence at this point of the other migrants from home -- the cook, who is off to do repairs at his house in Chhattisgarh and doesn't know when he'll be done; the maid, who's looking for a 'boy' for her daughter to marry, 'and these things take time, saar.'

The driver's been making suggestive noises about time off too, but since his wife is disinclined to spend time in his village, or hers, he's equally alarmed at the prospect of spending money at a hill station in season, which is where she's opted for her annual visit.

My wife times her departures to coincide with those of our staff, at which point the children all get busier at work. They're not partying, they argue, when I ask about their whereabouts, but meeting with clients. At midnight?

'It's all about networking,' my son insists. I wouldn't complain, but the dog has to be fed and walked, the house cleaned, the plants watered (the gardener finds it convenient to come only after everyone has left for work), meals prepared, the laundry organised and groceries picked up.

'Where are you off to next?' I ask my wife, but she's hedging her bets. 'I'm jet-lagged,' she says, 'I don't know where I am, or will be, but you know I'll be thinking of you -- and will send you a picture.'

I have an album of my wife's summer peregrinations and, as I checked, I am in none of those pictures.

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Kishore Singh
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