Sunday, December 11, 2016

Why the Hell Can’t I Remember If I Locked My Door?


Every time a space mission is announced and I am invited to be part of it because I am so funny, I have to turn it down with a heavy heart. Knowing that I can never be part of a mission to Mars makes my heart sink faster than the Titanic. Just as our spacecraft has crossed the 10 millionth mile, I’ll be seized by a doubt so terrible that I’ll insist we turn back immediately. The niggling doubt would have crept in on day 50 of the galactic journey but I’ll try brushing it off as irrational. But doubts are like faithful stalkers and refuse to leave your side. In fact they become nastier and more persistent with time.

By day 150 I will be a nervous wreck with ‘Did I lock the main door when I left my house’ echoing in my head in full Dolby fidelity. Of course I did, is how I will try to console myself. I am after all a responsible woman. I will replay the scene just when I am about to leave the house. I will recall locking all the balcony doors, checking the gas-stove for the 25th time, running upstairs to see if I had really switched off the iron.

The iron bit is really important. On our last trip to Kazakhstan I was a total wreck because I just couldn’t remember switching it off after I had ironed my favourite shirt that I wanted to wear on the flight. I spent the next week imagining our house being burnt to cinders, my 200 pairs of lovingly collected shoes gone. My saris that I never wear burnt to ashes, my measly 499 grams of gold melted. My lovely pair of jeans that makes my butt look like a million bucks charred beyond recognition. Damn it, I should have carried it with me! Will I ever recover from the debilitating guilt of rendering my family homeless! What if I can never laugh again? As I sat on the hop on and hop off bus trying my best to soak in the sights, all I could do was wipe my tears imagining our homeless, penniless rest of our lives. The stupid guide mistook it for tears of happiness. Idiot!

When I suggested to the husband that we take an earlier flight back home because the weather wasn’t suiting me, he gave me that knowing look. What is it this time that you think you forgot to switch off, my darling? The darling bit was dripping with sarcasm. I think this sarcasm thing is contagious. When we got married he was perfectly normal.

I don’t blame him. Initially he did indulge me. Like the time when we were watching a play and I turned to him in panic and said, I think I left the gas on. He drove his bike so fast, by the time we reached home, our hair was looking like The Leaning Tower of Pisa. And the gas was turned off.

Phew!


Strangely he did not share my relief.

Of course experience has made me wiser. These days I prefer taking the lift up and down at least half a dozen times to check whether all appliances are switched off, the inner door of the kitchen firmly locked, before we finally leave. In fact this is such a good cardio workout, I recommend it for all.

But the Mars mission will be different. I will be too busy tweeting about the historic moment and how proud I am of myself. I will have to post my selfies on Instagram where I am pouting and trying to look serious at the same time with captions like - #excited #WohooMarsHereIcome #IamTheBest #DoesMarsHaveMalls? Then I will have to reply to all the 197 comments on Facebook congratulating me and wishing I never come back.

With so much to do, the last thing on my mind will be taking care of mundane stuff such as locking the door. It’s much much later, it’ll occur to me I should have asked my husband to take care of it. But he hasn’t been speaking to me for the last six months and has moved in with his parents.

Which dutiful wife leaves her man behind and takes off for another planet that’s not even hers to occupy! Mars is for men and Venus is where the women are meant to be headed for.

Anyway, once the excitement subsides and I am without Wifi with nothing to keep me entertained but my own thoughts is when I will realize – Oh my god, did I actually lock the door of my house!


It’s so much easier when you wake up in the middle of the night, tumble down the stairs and break a few teeth on your way down to check if you have locked the main door. Funnily despite all this maniacal diligence, we have still managed to sleep with the door unlocked, only to be woken up by our building’s guard and given a friendly rebuke. Once I even left the keys hanging on the outside of the door. Since we were the only residents with a single car, no driver and only two hired helps, we were not deemed worthy of being robbed.

I wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time I was a carefree young girl. I think I was in college when the fetish for straightening bedsheets discovered me. I was so obsessed with it that sometimes I’d start pulling and tugging at the sheet even when we had guests sitting on the bed. Once I managed to topple them all so that I could do a good job of it. Soon I graduated to returning from the bus-stop just to check if I had really switched off the iron and missing my college-special.

They say phobia is irrational fear. But tell me, what’s irrational about making doubly, triply sure that you have done something right! Rather this is the hallmark of a perfectionist. Also with great responsibilities comes the worry that you’ll mess up. So that makes me a responsible perfectionist.

The only way I can get rid of my phobias is by moving to an uninhabited place, with no electricity and just caves to hide in. Just like Tora Bora in Afghanistan, Taliban’s hiding place where they hatch plots to kill the infidels.

Maybe I will. The journey will be much shorter than the one to Mars.

It’s time I moved on to new phobias. I’ve been faithful to the old ones for too long.



48 comments:

  1. Hahaha! Would it help if there is a partner who assures you that you'd done the job for sure? Or maybe you could nag a neighbor to go check if the door's locked. It really is sad that you're missing out on the Mars trip because of this! :P

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    1. No..No..I have already chalked out a plan. I'll make sure the husband doesn't move in with his parents. But then if he's incharge of the house, it'll be even scarier!

      Damn

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  2. Haha,don't ask me how many cookers I have burnt to cinders by going out,leaving the gas on.And locking the doors-that is another phobia :(

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    1. I have turned chickpeas into carbon, milk into milkpowder.. My list is impressive,

      Delete
  3. Hehe...no I don't think moving to Tora Bora is the cure. I'm sure, right about now, there is a fellow sitting in a Kabul bus fretting whether he fully charged the battery on the suicide belt before he left home!

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    Replies
    1. That's what I said. no! Once I move to Tora Bora new phobias will discover me.

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  4. So funny, as always! Loved that quote about doubts! So true! What you should do is, scratch your arm with the key after you lock your door. So, whenever in doubt, you can look at the angry red scratch and you will get reassured. Haan, ye baat to hai that after a few days, you will resemble Rana Sanga after the battle of Haldighati. Actually I read this trick by some genius somewhere.

    Simply loved the post! :D

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    Replies
    1. Or I can go the Aamir Khan way and have tattoos all over my arm.

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  5. I am male but I have the same problem. Once Me and my wife were to go out for a movie. We were already lated but turned our car back midway to make sure door is locked properly. I loved the entertaining post. By the way do you consider Guest post on your blog?

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    1. I accept posts from bloggers whose work I am familiar with and have followed for long.

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  6. Is that me you are talking about :O :O I think this phobia has made me incapable of living a normal life. Every day I am plagued with images of my house burning because I kept the gas on (even though I didn't cook the whole day) or my house having a burglar party because of me keeping the main door open despite checking it more than once.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Funny thing is, most of the times are fears are unfounded :-(

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  7. My phobia too. Since we are a cashless economy now and I don't have any gold at home,the fear of being burgled is no more. Thanks to Modi ji.The only thing I have to remember now is to switch off the gas, geysers and iron.

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    1. These days I am worried about losing my mobile. I have more cash on it than I have in the house.

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  8. Tora Bora sounds interesting as an escape:)Phobias are sure kill joys!

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  9. Oh my gosh! I have this fear of having left the gas on. The husband I am sure is sick of it. I once called a neighbor to peep through my kitchen window to check if the gas was left on. These days, the husband gives me that enquiring look when we sit in the car so that I can rush back and check the gas stove. :) I am crazy! And then on vacation, I imagine the same scenario that the house has burnt down. Sometimes I worry about having left the phone behind. Just the other day after our Anniversary I gave the family a scare. I said I think I left my mobile behind. The husband was very confident that the table was empty. We finally found it on the dashboard. And I did leave my mobile phone charger behind when I was on a vacation in Mysore. This despite checking 3 times in the villa we were staying in. Those guys had to courier it to me. Yes, I am a nervous wreck around these things.

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    1. What's even funnier is, despite being so careful, we still manage to misplace and forget.

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  10. "I was so obsessed" - If the post is in lighter vein. then it is fine but otherwise obsessive compulsive neurosis needs the attention of a psychologist.

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  11. what a relief to know the tribe is actually bigger than it appears in the mirror.

    By the way .. did you try turning the main power off before leaving for vacation and surprised to discover rotten butter, cheese, poultry inside the ref upon your return!

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  12. Super...and, here I was thinking, I was the only one who has this obsession...like, going down to ground floor and wondering whether I locked the door, reaching airport and wondering whether gas or heater were left on...heh heh.. super to read ur posts. :)

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    1. Super to have you back after 6 years?

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  13. The day i decide to make my stone spic n span usually coincides with the day i leave the milk on the stone after all the cleaning and totally forget about it.... Then it bills over and now i will have a burnt vessel on top of a back-to-mess stove to tackle....

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    1. Spilled milk is the worst mess ever! Tends to get in the tiniest nooks and crannies of the gas-stove and takes ages to clean-up.

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  14. Haha.. very similar experiences for me too. I think all OCDs would :) Have you heard this joke - A family was leaving for a vacation and when they were out of the city and speeding on the highway, the little kid chips in asking.. Daddy..why was that man watching you when you were hiding the key under the flower pot ?

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    1. LOL...LOL

      Thankfully in our country nobody will dare to leave the keys tucked under a flower pot.

      Delete
  15. I Tora Bora you will be worried whether you had slipped the stone at the mouth of the cave or not before you jumped into your mattress of hay. To quote Purba Ray, 'But doubts are like faithful stalkers and refuse to leave your side.'

    I quite likes the mashup of ironies and humour.

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  16. Sigh! This could have been my life, except I really did forget. Like boiling water in Delhi at night time and waking up to a steel dish with a red glow emanating from it's centre. Like being in a science experiment. Like sitting an exam in Delhi with the bike keys safely in ignition for the whole duration. I'll stop for now, some stories are best left untold.

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    Replies
    1. On the contrary. These stories are MEANT to be told again and again.

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  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  18. Our phobias... so well written. Makes me start wondering whats mine? That I will not be able to travel?

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    1. Ah, well. That's the best part. Till you don't leave the house, how will you know what your phobias are?

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  19. Gas, Iron and main door ! This is so me ! Same pinch Purba ! Excellent post!

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    1. I am getting a feeling, it's most of us.

      Phew, such a relief

      Delete
  20. That was hilarious. I have come back to a blown up cooker with rice decorating the ceiling. And my wife keeps adjusting the bed sheet covers especially when I am sitting on it. :P And we keep checking to see if the little one has turned on the stove as that seems to be her latest obsession. So lots to relate to and I was smiling all the way. :)

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    1. Checking on the little one is a must do rather than an obsession. And our hyper babies do not make it any easier.

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  21. Me thinks that actually running up & down the stairs to triple check everything would be a better workout , no? :D

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    1. Of course. Even better when it is 16 floors!

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  22. Haha... Et tu, Brute ...That is all I want to say :) and not narrate stories from our household....

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    1. Sigh...seems like this is a national disease.

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  23. This made me laugh! So many times my husband and I have returned home because I 'think' I may have left something on / unlocked/ open!

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    1. Such an ugh feeling!

      And thanks a lot for reading.

      Delete
  24. It keeps happening with me several time and the kind of social conditioning about never forget closing the door. Once I went out and checked my pocket to see the house key disappeared and when I reached home, it was hanging in the door. It happened last week when I visited a family friend and reached home to realize that the backdoor was wide open. I was relieved that everything in the house was intact. It can get crazy!

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    1. Jeez! That's scary. Thank god, you don't live in Desh.

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