Monday, October 13, 2014

Fifty Shades of Dust


graphicriver.net


Each house is as cluttered, colourful, messy, freakishly organised as its inhabitants. More often than not, since it’s the female species that takes a psychotic interest in the colour management of the cushions with the carpets, expresses displeasure at the highest decibel level when she discovers a well hydrated toilet seat cover and is far from appreciative of various articles of clothing strewn around the house – let’s conclude for the time being that a home is more an extension of a woman’s personality than a man’s.

Men are a highly evolved species and they know exactly what they want. Unlike a woman, he has accepted that a clean house is a state of mind - all you have to do is close your eyes. He doesn’t break into tears when the maid doesn’t turn up for three days in a row and is perfectly at peace with the unwashed pile of pots and pans and grime stains on the kitchen slab.

It didn’t take him long to realize that the key to happiness is selective blindness.

Unfortunately for the woman, God didn’t just give her eyes but an X-ray vision that can spot dust under the table-lamp just as she’s about to sleep, under piles of books when she’s about to cuddle up with a book, on the blades of the fan facing the ceiling when she’s searching for the meaning of life. The sight of unwashed utensils gives her the sinking feeling. It's as if those smelly pans are not in the sink but on her chest, making it difficult for her to breathe.Try throwing crumpled wrappers and papers on her floors and she'll come charging at you like a bull.


She may be dog-tired, ready to drop off dead, but she’ll ask for a 30-minute grace so she can tidy up the house before she can die. It’s a curse she has to live with. If she’s about to leave for a vacation, she makes sure she leaves behind an immaculately clean house, in case robbers decide to drop in. 


She knows everything we see will turn to dust and has quietly accepted that everything she sees will have dust.


A woman’s mind is a fertile ground for anxieties that multiply like rabbits, most of them fiction than reality. It’s always busy making meticulous plans for events that may or may not take place in the future. She has many fears, most of them unfounded.

So, every time the clutter in her head becomes too much to tolerate and she can’t bear with the mess, she sets out to clean the world. She unsheathes her broomstick, climbs on the step ladder and attacks cobwebs with gusto. She goes where no man has gone before and vanquishes mounds of dirt under beds and tables, empties closets and drawers and spends hours rearranging them, attacks grime and stains from all angles, rubbing and polishing with flourish, till she breaks out in a sweat.

She feels like a triumphant warrior who has just vanquished her enemy. Her heart soars like a bird as she walks around the house and sees her reflection on doors, windows, table tops, cupboards she has coaxed to their shiniest best. 


Only a cleanliness enthusiast can spend hours labouring over her home only to see it become dirty again. Only she can appreciate the beauty of neatly stacked books, stretched bedcovers, shiny table tops and floors that look clean enough to lick the crumbs off it, while the rest of her unfeeling family will say – Oh, I thought the house looks the same!  


In her quest to wipe the world of all its ugliness, she’s always on the lookout for her comrade-in-arms. Not for her the useless store bought fluff but someone with character that’s seen it all and done it all. So old that it has become loose and sagging, but so soft that it greedily soaks up the grime and dust with just one swipe. Her quest for the elusive one is never ending. Every t-shirt, worn out skirt and faded cotton nighty beckon to her, begging to be enlisted in her crusade.

So, if you wife tears off your shirt, screaming, I want it, I want it, don’t start getting ideas. She basically needs your baniyan to use as a dusting cloth. And, if she wants you to talk dirty to her, just whisper – top shelf, kitchen cupboard and her eyes will blaze with unbridled passion.  Just make sure you hold on tight to your soft as a baby's bottom pajamas.


71 comments:

  1. Welcome back to the dusty land Purba:) Am sure you will have a busy time doing more dusting to prepare for Diwali and Kali Puja!

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    1. But I wrote this post in dust-free Brisbane :D

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  2. Hahaha this is so true.. can't sleep with a soiled plate or cup still in the sink ! And men have got everything easy. They are always at peace and just dont care. I so wish I could be like him on that aspect !

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    1. I wish I could walk past a cobweb without itching to reach out for the broom!

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  3. ROFL... just played out the exact same scenario in our home a couple of days ago. Sharing this with the man of the house :)

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    1. I guess this is 'ghar ghar ki kahani'.

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  4. What can I say. You read my mind. The worst thing about Gurgaon is the dust. I had a party yesterday and I spent more time on dusting than cooking. Welcome back to dusty hinterland of Haryana.

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    1. The NCR has to be the largest producer of dust. I wonder why we are not exporting it to First World nations for free?

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  5. Hahaha! Very funny! And yes, welcome back to Grimy Gurgaon. May the top of your ceiling fans shower you with nothing other than Haryanvi Wisdom!

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    1. Right now Gurgaon seems like heaven. Dust, traffic be damned!

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  6. I don't worry that much about dust or clutter. I am very man-like in that sense. :) But these days, before Diwali, I am on a maniacal spree to clean and declutter.

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    1. You lucky lady! May you never change.

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  7. Luckily for me my man is a obsessive cleaner and I am the one who is allergic to dust.:D...life is worth living when you get to live in a clean house. ..especially when it lts cleaned bu hubby dear!

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    1. You are blessed, my dear lady!

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  8. Hey Purba, I may be the exception doing all such odd job and yes, as you said, old Baniyan is a good duster!!

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    Replies
    1. Sir, could you please get yourself cloned?

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  9. This post is just so very timely, just this morning, the missus and me had this insightful conversation about her cleanliness fetish and my lack of the same :)

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    1. Now you know the whys and whats behind her obsession and trauma!

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  10. Interesting. It would seem that in my case, the roles are reversed - not just is my wife the primary breadwinner, but she is also the messier one. Now add a 2.5 year old toddler to the mix and a maid who makes an appearance when she feels the need to, the house looks like a tornado hit it. Constantly. Sigh! On a separate note, welcome back Purba :)

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    1. Clutter stresses me out. Right now, our apartment hardly has any furniture; just a few cushions strewn on the carpet and I'm absolutely loving it.

      And thank you. It feels great to be back :-)

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  11. Welcome back Purba :-P I have been known to get out of bed to get a dusting rag coz I have spotted a teeny weeny dust patch somewhere :-P

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    1. Glad to know that I'm not the only nutcase :p

      And thank you :-)

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  12. Purba, how well you write for all of us, I mean - women :-) :-D
    How I wish I can see through my husband's eyes :-)

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  13. The "NRI" returns back to the dusty heartland 😀 ! Welcome back 😊
    I like your analysis of how men can turn a blind eye towards a dirty house. But if the woman in the house, does that, men freak out too! And picture that right before when his side of the family or friends are about to visit! It's a hilarious stereotype and it hold true for most ppl !!

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    Replies
    1. Not greater tragedy than being a stereotypical woman :/

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    2. No I meant the stereotypical men who freaks out if the women turn a blind eye towards cleanliness

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  14. So true.. some of the biggest Mars and Venus wars in our home are fought over towels, not using coasters on dining table and stuff like this. But the I must say the Missus has not lost hope to train me to perfection one of these days...Now I can tell here see I just suffer from selective blindness in hope of some leeway . :)

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    1. Men cannot be trained. They can only be blamed.

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  15. YOU MILADY ARE BRILLIANT.
    This is the true story of my mother. I would like to believe that I am not like her but time and again, every time I unknowingly wipe the tv stand because it had dust accumulating, I prove myself otherwise.

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    1. Mine reared its ugly head when I was 20. It started with the stupid urge to straighten bedcovers :/

      You, milady are too kind.

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  16. I am guilty...I am no help at home

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    Replies
    1. As long as you appreciate your wife's efforts :/

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  17. Well, I can see how happy you must be cleaning your new house!! :D

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    Replies
    1. I have yet to write about the ordeal of cleaning up a house locked for so long :/

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  18. Hahaha.... very funny and undoubtedly true. "Top shelf..Kitchen cupboard" hmm... a good tip to impress... :D Well, the key to happiness is not selective blindness but acceptance of Paradoxical Existence of Nature ;) In fact, dust is also the manifestation of God :P :D

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    1. If dust is a manifestation of god, my house must be a shrine :p

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  19. God has blessed me with selective blindness inspite of being a woman :D And also with reasoning ability in the lines of - it's going to get dirty again. so why bother?!

    Loved your article!

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    Replies
    1. Sigh, I wish I could be like this!

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  20. That was a really nice post. And as you said only a woman can relate to this syndrome. :-D
    I have started a new experiment. I asked the girls to clean the headrests and the centre table. Now everytime the husband is about to place anything on these places, I hear them shout, "We tidied it and you're not even taking a minute to spoil it." Works pretty well for me. :-D

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    1. You, my dear, are a smart lady. I bow down to your wisdom!

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  21. Trust you to make the trivial of the things to turn into a nice read worthy of the time spent on it :)

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  22. Nice writeup, loved reading...

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  23. From dust did all this spring from, to dust will all of it return

    All I can say is that such woman is prudent, who, despite knowing the end always begins (dusting) again.

    Welcome back! (must I add 'to where you belong'? :P )

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    Replies
    1. Even the dusting cloth is back to where it belongs - my hand.

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  24. In my case, things are changing. Now, the man of the house has become a clutter free one. I wish he stays that way forever and leave me alone. I am happy with my book cuddled in the sofa and let he arrange things that won't be visible forever. The other day, I left one of sonny boy's old shirt to rub the glue off some steel utensil and lo....it's gone. It has been a week and god knows where it is. Hope, you have started cleaning the clutter for Diwali!

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    1. I just moved back to India, Latha. No clutter, just waiting for my air freight to arrive so that I can start unpacking.

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  25. Haha, I could so relate to it. My mother with her OCD and my dad with his selective blindness and throwing things around. I guess the OCD is stuck on to me as well. I see a mess and imagine it ten times worse than what it is and I need to clean it up before I can breathe normally ;-)

    Cheers.

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    1. Till the house is in order I can't function normally. So what if its late, I'm dead tired and there's always a tomorrow!

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  26. haha! I can see myself chiding Mom for going on a cleaning spree every day or the weekends I am home. I'm like, "Mom! Stop being such a cleanliness freak..swach ghar' I get shouted for throwing clothes on the bed..see I am the messy type and can't help it..lol!!

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    Replies
    1. Of course, you can! You can make her life easier by helping her.

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  27. স্নেহের পূর্বা,

    পুরুষ জাগতিক সকল অসাড়তা সম্বন্ধে ওয়াকিবহাল এবং মহিলাগণ এখনও মায়ার মোহ জালে বদ্ধ – তোমার লেখা পড়িয়া এই মূল এবং অকাট সত্যটি আবার নুতান ভাবে অনুধাবন করিলাম । অজস্র ধন্যবাদ। আশা করি তুমি বাংলা পড়িতে সক্ষম ।
    Just loved, loved and loved this post. This is so much me that I could not help sharing it. FBed it.

    তোমায় তুমি বলছি। আপত্তি থাকলে নির্দ্বিধায় জানিও।




    Regards

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    Replies
    1. Thankfully my husband can and he had to translate your kothin Bangla for me :-)

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    2. Oops that's sad. I'll remember for future

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  28. This one was awesome ! "..rest of her unfeeling family will say – Oh, I thought the house looks the same! " I can echo that completely :D

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    1. It's as if we slog, clean and scrub for the sake of our pleasure :/

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  29. A third generation inheritor of this OCD, I came back home to a husband, two girls and a maid ( instructed not to bunk in my absence) after ten days. They seemed to be thriving on layers of dust, grimy kitchen that took me two days to scrub clean, and stuff thrown all around or piling up. Of course , my decibel level went up sending them all to different corners. I am glad to see I am not alone in this obsession.

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    1. Since it only affects us, its solely our problem and headache.

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  30. Perfectly put Purba, but like you said, you are writing this from dust free Brisbane.
    I know of someone in Hyderabad who cleans her house with kerosene once a week !!

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    1. JEJUZZZ...She's the Maa Baap of OCD

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  31. Remember Monica from F.R.I.E.N.D.S ? My friends and I have safely named this disease the - Monica's Syndrome! :D I could relate to every word up there!

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    1. Monica was an extreme case. But there's a little bit of her in all of us.

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  32. In our case, it's the complete opposite. While I continue my life with a "clean" state of mind while my husband freaks out even if the shampoo bottles are not arranged in ascending or descending order.
    Tough life living with a Monica.
    The last paragraph cracked me up. :D awesome write.

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    1. My husband is a perfectionist. Over the years, we've perfected the art of finding faults with our obsessions :p

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  33. All time itch to dust and clean....and yet complain in Bengali "jhi logne jonmo"..:)

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