(Continued from Scenes from a Renovation site: Part 1)
Solving a staircase issue
“Dumb idea, Divya,” I brushed Divya’s suggestion away with a single toss of my head.
“But, Manu chetta…”
“Enough. You don’t know anything about house renovation. But I know. Don’t try to pull me around with your stupid suggestions, I am the man of the house, understand?”
I reminded my wife rather harshly.
This woman had the cheek to ask:
“Manu chetta, why can’t we get the new staircase begin from the side of the car porch?”
Divya left visibly hurt. No problem, women should be shown their proper place.
I called the mesthiri aside. “Kannan chetta.”
“Entho…”He put down his tool and came to me.
“Kannan chetta, why can’t we get the new staircase begin from the side of the car porch?”
“Well that is a good idea, sir.”
The calculator again
Another day I saw workers laying tiles. “Sir, how do you want these tiles to be laid – vertically or horizontally?”
“Horizontally,” I said.
“But then sir, we won’t have enough tiles.”
“Vertically,” I corrected myself nervously as if my first answer was a slip of the tongue.
“But then sir, we would have an excess of them.”
Well, this would be a serious problem. My wife was not at home and I couldn’t consult anybody else. She would judge me if I made one wrong move now. I slumped on the chair. I thought hard. Suddenly my face lit. I flipped out my calculator.
“What’s that for?” He asked.
“What’s what for?” I arched my brows.
“The calculator?” he said.
“Yeah, what’s that for?”
“That’s what I asked.”
My face dimmed.
“An excess is no problem, we can lay it at the washbasin,” my wife came and solved it so casually, that I cringed before the tilelayer. I slunk back to my bedroom, to lick my wounds in private.
Generosity has a new face.
“Why have they left? It is only 2 pm now. You allowed them to go home this early, Manu chetta?”
“Send whom away, dear?”
“I only asked whether they could complete that door by the weekend. And they readily said yes. Isn’t that good?”
“Ente, Manu chetta… They only had to fix a bolt on the door. And you generously gave them seven more days. They had promised me they would complete it by the evening…”
At the furniture shop.
I saw my wife’s eyes widening, when he quoted the price. I got the clue, I jumped to my feet.
“See,” I announced, “that is too steep. We are not interested.”
“Manu chetta…” My wife pulled my sleeves, “that is very reasonable, and I like it. We are buying it.” I sulked. “Yes, I was just saying,” I stuttered and collapsed back on the sofa. But then, my eyes suddenly riveted to the dark spot in a corner. I reached towards it with a glee: “See this!”
“Well, sir. You like that design?
(Was that design? Not dirt? My face fell again).
Divya then asked for a rug.
“I choose this. Divya don’t argue. We will take this. This is my choice.”
“You don’t have to choose, sir. But that is the only rug in our showroom.”
“Then what is that?” I asked pointing to another cloth piece.
“Then what is a rug?”
After the renovation
A lorry came yesterday to collect the waste materials we had after the renovation.
“Amme…, we have some more waste to dispose off.” I was loitering outside, and my heart skipped a beat, hearing that.
It was Ammu talking to her mother.
Could that be…
And then I saw my daughter coming out, with a couple of her old dolls in her hands; she threw them on the back of the lorry and got back into our home.