Right Ho, Jeevika

 

It was a fine day, the kind that could bring in even the most bumbling of the male gender, a song in their rhythm-less hearts. So you can only imagine its effect on someone blessed with the energy of feminine creation, for what indeed is greater originality than that of creation of another human being. But that was not the labor of my day. The muse that had captured my ever-fertile heart was the humble egg, ovum for those of the scientific temperament, and the song on the sheet was fresh on the paper.

Here, I shall read it to you, as a sort of introductory offer for you new readers at my blog.

Ah, how it sizzles, this wondrous one,
With its rays like the sun,
It spreads,
On me,
Inside me,
Around me,
For what am I but a humble pan,
A Frying pan,
And hence my insides burn, awaiting its eggy touch,
Its heat,
Its pain,
It is my very own
Omlette.

It consumes one, these poetic moods, and the pen at one’s tongue is the only relief for such outbursts of utterly original creativity, and I am not entirely surprised that neither the gurgle of the hungry belly, nor the rustle of the saree behind me, was matter enough to distract this creative application of the highest order. For 60 of these golden egg-based lyrics I was planning to write by Christmas, and after weeks gone, I was finally one down to meeting my online promise to the countless fans of my ever-popular blog, Kaushalya talks, some of whom, I am proud to confess, are male, for tasteless though the gender is, there are a few rare exceptions, even I must concede.

“What is it, Jeevika?” I queried the quiet presence that would continue to wait patiently for my attention until the world ended.

“Madam…Your driver will be arriving by the hour.” Jeevika replied.

This was unpleasant news. “What?” I said, “And where might I be going?”

“The write club, madam. You are addressing the budding writers there. ”

“That is today? But…today is only—”

“Madam…it is Saturday, “ interrupted Jeevika, quicker than a voice assistant, this one.

“Impossible!”

“And almost high noon.”

“But I just awoke…I have much to write. A poem comes to me. Featuring a man this time. Rare though that is. For they do the most non-illustrious things, don’t you agree. Hypocritical bastards. Maybe I can humanise him, make him eat an egg?“ I contemplated, “Oh, can it really be Saturday? I don’t even know what I must wear! The Red Kanjeevaram, perhaps?”

“You wore it last week to the literary festival, madam. Anita Nair complemented your wardrobe. One cannot repeat one’s wardrobe at an interval this short.”

“Ah…” I said, the memory pleasing me, though doing little to solve my current problem.

“Well, then the green Kanjeevaram…”

Jeevika gave me the look, the one that indicated that there were one too many Kanjeevaram’s doing the rounds. I must tell you that this was often the case. I was a respected poet and accomplished writer, and Jeevika, my fierce companion, handmaid, cook, and mistress of the house. When women of such strong temperaments lived under the same roof, tensions were often abound, and the tone Jeevika took was one frigid as forgotten paneer in the refrigerator, “Madam,” said Jeevika, and one sensed the immediate ice-grip in the heart at Jeevika’s tone, “If I may say this, the day is a hot one, and write club is a meet up hosted at the rooftop of a corporate outfit. Considering this, perhaps you will concede that a Kurti is more suited for the temperature, perhaps paired with a Jute bag to give you the intellectual vibe…”

“And a spectacle to complete the look?” I added.

“I have laid your outfit already,” said Jeevika, with an conceding nod, “Shall I bring in your coffee and breakfast madam?”

“Eggs?” I said hopefully.

“Yes, madam. Eggs Benedict, if you please.”

“Ahh…” I mused, excited at the lyrical ecstasy that awaited me.

Much later, I boarded my car, decked in the green Kurti with Jeevika by my side. This visit to the write club was already filling me with distate. Jeevika had just informed me that the meet would likely attract one too many men.

“What?!” I said, “What business have men with serious literature! Is it a detective club? Or a sci-fi club? Or one of those intellectual wastes of times? Deep-learning and what not? Wait…” I paused as dramatic terror throbbed my veins, “This is not one of those sex writing clubs. Erotica? What is it, Jeevika? Tell me now…give it to me fast….when I can take it…”

“No madam…men have been at it for a while now..” She said gravely.

“That they have,” I nodded equally gravely, ”For too long, in my opinion. At War. Politics. Oppression. Sexual perversion. And everything that is a senseless waste of time. But not at literature…or sensible thought…”

“But Madam. Men have been writing…Shakespeare…”

I interrupted her with the firm upraised hand, “Shakespeare made up words and invented language. Originality has its limits, Jeevika. And don’t get me started on Chethan Bagath and Devdut patnaik. Not a grammatically correct sentence, they can push out of their cracks…”

But Jeevika seemed argumentative mood. The fault of education for the lower-class is sometimes too obvious. Jeevika is a masters in Literature, and possibly acquired a PhD when one wasn’t watching, a tad too educated for a maid, I must say. But then…one must make do, life is such…besides she is a fantastic assistant, and whatever the scientists of today tell you, one must remember that they are populated by EQ-bereft men, and a virtual assistant cannot offer you sensible advice on prevailing gossip and Kanjeevaram fashions.

Jeevika persisted, “What about Amitav Ghosh, madam?”

I rubbed my hands eagerly. I knew the answer to that one, what Jeevika lacked was perspective, of the privileged kind. She had the occasional tendency to look at talent without context, and I offered my valuable cents, “Bengalis don’t count, Jeevika. Just like Rohinton Mistry,” I wagged my fingers at her, “Besides, all of them are possibly gay. Which also doesn’t count. I think its all in the eggs they put in their Biriyanis. Gives them a kind of feminine streak. That reminds me, tell the driver to stop at that Egg-Factory. I feel the call of pure inspiration in the air.”

“Indeed, madam,” said Jeevika, bowing her head to my wisdom.

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