I’ve been home for a day and a half and I’m already going crazy. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to complain unfairly. There is air-conditioning and wonderful food (and real coffee) and the most comfortable bed in the world with clean sheets that smell of sleep, and I am incredibly glad to be back in this decrepit old city – always less decrepit, somehow, when viewed from my terrace at sunset, with the streaked sky and the occasional crooked tree trying (and failing) to look impressive and the shadows of eagles flying in circles around the green dome of a mosque.
But I’m telling you, I’m going insane.
It’s no one’s fault really. The really important ones, like Minnie and Jahnavi and Akshay and Ishani, aren’t here, and the rest are so used to their ways, it’s difficult to call someone up at noon demanding to be entertained. They’re all asleep. Unfortunately, they’re all asleep two hours later as well. Strange that I’m finding this problematic, but I’ve been filled with some insane sort of energy the past couple of days, and I can’t sleep for more than seven hours. The rest of the time I want to do something, but not on my own, not right now, I’m tired of being a hermit, and there’s no one to do it with.
I did go to a dinner party last night, expecting to spend most of the night standing in a corner glaring at people like I usually do, but I had a good time. I talked to people. A lot of people I thought were stupid, weren’t stupid at all. But there were a couple who remained confirmed in their stupidity (can it be true? Am I quoting Dryden? I think so) so I wasn’t completely disillusioned.
It’s also a little difficult getting used to my mother again. Yeah yeah, she can be wonderful and unfortunately I think I might love her more than I love, or have ever loved, anyone but she’s also not quite right in the head. Sometimes.
Take this morning for instance:
Mother: Wake up.
Mother: Are you hungover?
Mother: Have you been smoking again?
Mother: What do you want for breakfast?
Mother: Do you want breakfast?
An eye opens. Then the other eye. Images of Real Coffee and muesli with bananas and a piece of toast slathered with crunchy peanut butter (Skippy’s only please) chase sleep away.
Mother: She hasn’t made your bed right!
Mother: See? The sheet you’ve got covering yourself should actually be the other way around.
Me: Are you serious?
Mother: Yes. It should be the other way. I’ll tell Brihoshpoti about it.
[She did tell Brihoshpoti about it].
Mother: *Wandering around my room peering at things*Yes?
Me: It’s a sheet.
Mother: Trisha, I don’t want you smoking in your room. Your room reeks of smoke.
Me: *forgetting temporarily about the sheet like she intended* You’re always telling me not to be deceitful. Isn’t it better than locking myself up in the bathroom and smoking furtively out the window?
Mother: It’s healthier.
Mother: It’s healthier because if you smoke in the bathroom you’re not sleeping in your own smoke.
Mother: And you need to quit anyway. It’s a filthy habit. I can’t believe you started smoking. When you were little you were so anti-smoking. You’d lecture your father on how bad cigarettes were.
(I didn’t tell her that the last time I saw my dad, I was countering cigarettes with him. In our defence, we both decided it was the best way to curb smoking).
Me: *Realising that at moments like this there’s only one thing to say* Uhhhhh.
Later, (while writing this) I asked her why the sheet bothered her so much.
Mother: It bothers me because when it’s upside down, it looks faded and it hurts the eye. Your room hurts the eye. And don’t you dare make fun of me on your blog because I know your father reads it and the last thing I want is him calling me up and cackling with delight at my expense.
I smiled very sweetly at her.