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.