(Updated, from the Archives)
‘Who keeps pushing the bed to this side of the room? I remember shifting it back last night and today it is back here. It’s so stuffy with the fan on the other side of the room!’ screamed my first-born.
‘I didn’t, for sure. I’ve more than enough on my plate to keep shifting gigantic beds,” I screamed back from the kitchen.
Then there must be a poltergeist in the house!” he shouted in exasperation, shoving the bed back to its original position.
The L&M arrived at that juncture. ‘What’s all the commotion about?’ he asked. As both of us started screaming in unison, he held up his hand.
‘I shifted the bed,’ he said calmly.
‘But, why? I asked incredulously. Now, L&M is the kind of guy who would not do anything around the house that did not involve eating or sleeping or watching TV. So my question was legitimate. His answer threw me.
‘So that the boys sleep with their head away from the fan,’ he said.
‘What?’ asked the boy, pausing in his effort of relocating the bed, unable to make head or tail of his father’s reasoning.
‘If you slept with the fan over your legs, at least you’ll live. Can you live without a head?’ asked his father, as if it were the most logical question in the world.
So how many fans had he seen fall on people’s heads and kill them?
‘Not any that I’ve heard of, but why risk it?’ he replied.
His son rolled his eyes.
The other thing that drives the kids up the wall is the L&M’s rule that forbade them from locking their doors at night.
‘What if there were to be a short circuit or fire?’ he asked hotly when I took the boys’ side in their demand for privacy.
He woke up several times during the night with the express purpose of checking that the said door is indeed unlocked. Once when in a burst of defiance they had locked the door, he had pounded on it, accompanied by frenzied yelling of their names till an assortment of neighbours had come to investigate as to what emergency had provoked his fit of nocturnal insanity.
And the boys had blissfully slept through it all! Had it not been for the younger one who had woken up thinking that the monster under his bed was calling out to kill him, his father would surely have knocked down the door or would have at least provoked a couple of quarrelsome neighbours to file litigation against his night-time capers.
Now, the monster under the bed: It was afraid of lights. So he slept with light on – the tubelight, that is, to drive away the various demons that threatened his existence every night. The resident monster under the bed had the nasty habit of sliding its hand horizontally to grab him. He slept in the middle of the bed as its arm was not long enough to reach him there!
You see, he was not afraid of any old monster that came in through the windows to scare him – those he could dispose of with a well-aimed left hook or a right jab. But the one under his bed was another matter altogether. It was sneaky and didn’t pounce upon him like any other decent monster but slid its arm to grab him! He was able to slay them all as he entered his teens and now had become a daredevil – on a motorbike!
The older boy is not far behind with his share of idiosyncrasies. He’d wear a particular pair of jeans for months hiding them to prevent me from washing them — all because he deemed them ‘lucky’. How filth can bring him luck has eluded my simple brain, though. He would wear them till they were so stiff with dirt that they stood all by themselves when he took them off.
He would never go to the loo without arming himself with some reading material, preferably something sufficiently amusing.
‘Isn’t there something in the house to read?’ he would ask in disgust, dancing and hopping.
‘Are you looking for some Norse literature maybe?’ I would ask testily. ‘And why are you hopping so?’
‘Because I’m bursting, that’s why!’ he shouts back.
‘So go already.’
‘How can I? I’ve read these a zillion times and want something new.’
He dances some more, before grabbing a magazine and running.
As the said boy was hop-skip-jumping his awkward way to the loo, I shout,
‘Wait! Use the Indian toilet and don’t keep the tap running…’ He didn’t stop to hear the rest of my don’ts, so I continued for the benefit of the rest of my family, ‘….and don’t waste a drop of water, do you hear me?’
‘Appa, it is time to book a room in the hotel. It is one of those days,’ called out the younger one.
What had provoked such emergency measures, you ask? Has the reservoir burst and there’s going to be no more water supply for the rest of the month? Well, it could be worse. The water level in the overhead tank had reduced by a couple of inches and there were a couple of empty buckets as well. What if there were to be no water supply this evening or tomorrow?
And if there is really no water tomorrow, well then the water rationing would start — half a bucket per head for bathing. the brats preferred having a dry-clean on such days. ‘Who can bathe in half a bucket of water?’ they would sneer.
Tell me folks, if I am careful about conserving water am I eccentric or what? There are enough of those in the family without my joining their ranks, thank you.
Can you blame me too if I keep grocery containers full all through the month? I don’t like half empty (ok, half-full!) jars staring at me, so I have containers in several sizes and keep shifting the contents, so that they are full all through the month. If my family rolls its collective eyes at this, you can’t blame me, can you, for it only shows them up for being short on understanding!
Just as his older brother’s reading habit of in the loo, the younger one has a quirk of his own. He wears slippers when he takes a bath. He had developed this habit fairly early – when he had been sever or eight.
The other day when they were all here, he wouldn’t go for his bath because he couldn’t find his slippers.
‘But why do you need slippers to have a bath?’ asked the elder daughter. She had not been enlightened about this habit of his.
We told her the reason: to avoid stepping on any stray bit of hair! Even if I cleaned the bathrooms meticulously, his eagle eyes would spot a small strand somewhere and he would scream blue murder.
Once when he was younger, I teased him about his growing up to have a dozen kids — who shed hair all over his house.
‘I might have TWO dozen kids, but they will all be bald!’ he had replied hotly much to our amusement. What an ingenious way to prevent the eventuality of having to step on hair!
By the way, can someone tell me if eccentricity is hereditary? I have undoubtedly inherited the paranoia about running out of water, from my father. He would wake up at 4 AM in the morning and draw water from the well in the backyard in our village home and fill up all the tubs and buckets! The moment one bucket would be empty, he would fill it up. When one or more of us was visiting, he would fill up every container he could find, much to the exasperation of mother. Oh appa, I wish you had not given that gene to me!
I have more reasons to believe it is. The L&M never leaves home for work in one go. He has to come back for something he has forgotten. Sometimes he makes several trips. I tried putting up a checklist on the door so that he would remember to take everything. It didn’t work because he would forget something ELSE altogether and come back anyway. I have learnt never to lock the front door when he says he is leaving. I wait for all those trips back and forth to end before finally securing the bolts.
The daughter complained that her husband, the older brat did the same thing. apparently he sometimes goes as far as the tube station before retracing his steps! He has clearly inherited his father’s habit, wouldn’t you say?
So here is one for the researchers: eccentricity is hereditary. I welcome anyone wanting to take this one up, to start with my family.
Do you have any quirks or quirky habits? How about sharing them?
[…] And then the lock-down started. At first, it was just looking at the world stats and shaking our heads, patting ourselves on the better stats in India and kidding ourselves that we had escaped the worst. Slowly the reality sank in and though he was still busy with his phone calls and doing Samaritan work of arranging rations for the needy and teaching by phone, there lurked the legendary L&M paranoia just under the surface, which can be stifling, suffocating and maddening. Ask the Brats about his fear of the fan falling on their heads! […]
Haha the quirks of an Indian household.
Oh don’t worry, my mother has a very similar water woe problem. She is constantly filling buckets and saving up water, irrespective of water shortage. Since she lives in the ancestral house, her concerns aren’t entirely unfounded. But she of course has to over obsess about it. Thankfully I haven’t taken after her.
P.S. I was scrambling my brains to understand who is this elder daughter you are mentioning, when I clearly remember you having 2 sons. The moment you mentioned her husband going to the tube station, it struck me as to who are you referring to 🙂
I find it odd calling the girls DILs, so call them the daughters 🙂 I am sure there must be some quirk you have inherited from one of your parents. Think, think!
I just did the post Q for Quirks recently only! I have OCD for keeping things right in its place, just like my dad. I really don’t like things lying about here and there. I am a control freak just like him.
So I am right. It is inherited! Carry on quirky kid 🙂
Hey Mani, sent you a mail. And posted a comment. Check for both, the latter in the spam bin if needed.
This one was funny :). Slippers to take a bath; that’s a new one. Oh yes, about the quirky genes being inherited. My husband keeps all kinds of wrappings, bubble wraps, shoe boxes and what have you because they will come in use sometime even fused tubelights just like my fil did. My husband is particular about thin, perfectly cooked rotis. Luckily I make them well. My mil never could make good ones and dad in law always pointed it out. He was mighty happy when I visited their place for he could eat the rotis he wanted :). There are so many that my hubby has inherited from his mom and dad including the carefulness about water and money. I guess about me, he would be a better judge.
Younger V introduced me to ur blog. From the hectic schedule of work, i take breaks to read it and awesomely refreshing it is. 🙂
Funny to know abt other side of the daredevil.
My chitappa used to scare me saying there is “kablakabla” under the bed so that i ll not leave him n go. He used to act scared and i used to be the heroic savior.
N during my engineering days, my gma used to make me check the locks some hundred times before switching off the lights at 2 in the night. Worst part gpa used to wake me up at 5 in the morning. Well the smell of the coffee he used to make used to wake me up….
I was happy to handover the watchman duty to my bro.
Welcome here A (or can I address you by your real name?) What would the Cybernag do without the brats, especially the younger one? Thanks for the comment and appreciation 🙂
Elders can be devious and tedious can’t they? But only till the kids are old enough to realise they are being put on. I can imagine your uncle being ‘scared’ and your gma sounds like me except I turn in at the baby hours of 9 to 9.30 PM 😀
Well she watches all possible soaps n movies 🙂 its like her “me” time. 🙂
LOL I think sometimes the older you get the more you need to feel ‘connected.’
LOL, very nice post.
If I were to count mine, i will be counting all day long 🙂
one of my daughter’s I remember is when she was seven or eight, every-night I had to assure her that the ghosts lurking just outside the window were sufficiently threatened by my presence in the room. I never figured out how she had posed so much faith in her mother’s exorcism skills!
Siddharth always forgot something or the other when he left for Nagpur and would remember when retracing his steps was impossible. I can make a long list of quirky habits. So instead of writing a looong comment, that shall be my next post. Thanks for inspiring me once again.
You are welcome Pratibha. Looking forward to your post. 🙂
Of all that things … Reading in the loo is the only thing you could think of?!!
How about jogging my memory with a few of them? 😀
thank you so much for this refreshing post!loved it! lightened my mood and helped me look forward to a great day!!
I am so glad it could enliven your mood, Deepak. But my mood today overtook me and I posted a gloomy one 😦
Nice one…I didn’t realize coming back every single day to fetch something forgotten was a quirk! But my mom never shut the door till atleast half an hour had passed after I left, and then waited for a agony call from me to tell her I had forgotten something!
Shall we call it an irritating habit then? Sometimes I forget to bolt the front door for hours after the L&M leaves. I beat the forgetting disorder by dumping all the things into my voluminous handbag hours before i actually leave. 🙂
Reading in the loo is no longer a quirky habit. I have seen loos in houses that have several mags and newspapers in a holder.Luckily or otherwise these have been replaced by iPad or iPhone. You come out wiser to the happenings in the country and lighter in tummy..One man’s quirk is another’s delight! Another enjoyable read from you. Thanks.
Oh I know that. But we poor mortals who have to make do with tiny loos can’t afford a library or even a small book stand! The older Brat used to keep saying that when he built a house, he would construct a bathroom that would be bigger than the bedroom and stock it with all his books!
Thanks for this…totally depressed since the blasts yesterday and this gave me a reason to smile …will comment more later 🙂 hope everyone around you is safe and sound
I had posted it on Tuesday and felt it was so incongruous after the blasts yesterday. But I am glad it gave you some reason to smile. Take care and of those around you. Be safe and god bless.
Ha ha.. Nice findings 😛 In my opinion each and everyone has one or the Quirky habits.. Some may be serious and some may be very silly. 🙂
You are right. When the quirks are serious ones, it becomes tiresome and tense for the other around. Silly ones can be laughed off or ignored, right? Do visit again 🙂
And I love you more for all your eccentricities. I never get tired of telling how much I love reading your L&M and the Brats series.
Love you for that Purba. 🙂
Ha, ha…My husband is fussy about things being in their right place but I believe that I dont……ok maybe some in the kitchen.
The L&M is not at all organised that way and I am forced to, because with my limited vision, i need to have things in their right places and put my foot down about the kitchen stuff and my personal things. He complies because he has to search for the misplaced things for me, otherwise 😀
LOL.. My husband is extremely cautious too but I don’t think it is hereditary has it has not rubbed off on my son who is quite adventitious
And there is another thing. When the parent is one extreme, the kids are sometimes the other extreme; maybe it is their way of asserting their individuality. Caution in itself is good, but if it is taken to the extreme like the L&M then it becomes tiresome.
I like this.hehehe.We all are quirky that way.Amma is also paranoid of water shortages.She bangs on the bathroom door if I switch on the shower.She bangs to tell me to use the pipe connected to the well so that the overhead tank remains full in case there are water shortages in the next day or two.I wished I had a pond in which I could wade in.
😀 your comment reminded me of the ‘eater-rationing’ I resorted to and have added it to the post now. Thanks for reminding me. But my paranoia is the result of all those childhood years of water scarcity and having to fetch water from far off wells and lift it upstairs. All of us did our bit to fill up the water drum to last through the day.
Such a hilarious post 😀 I have inherited my father’s genes not only lookwise but otherwise too. Both of us keep on checking if the doors are fastened (at night that is), there has to be a plan for everything and everything shd be according to plan. And yes the clock rules us
I am deadly scared of people who work to a plan. Because things are so changeable that it becomes impossible to stick to a plan most of the times and that gives a lot of tension to the planners and those around them 😀
The one about lucky jeans reminded me of the “lucky” hero pen that I owned during my high school years and all board exams were written using this pen and the other pens were, err, just pens. As it turned out, after giving the pen to amma to re-fill ink (another quiry “lucky” practice), I forgot to take it from her and went to my Chemistry exam without my lucky pen. Amma was terribly worried that I would have been very upset but somehow I didn’t let it bother me too much after the initial shock of not finding it. Wait, the story doesn’t end there. When the results were announced, guess in which subject I scored the maximum marks (and top-scorer in my school) – no points for guessing – so much for “lucky” pen 🙂
I can imagine your mom’s anxiety thinking about your missing the pen in the exam hall. 🙂 I used to ask my mother how many marks I would get when I went for my exams and wouldn’t leave the place till she stretched both her hands sideways and said, ‘Lots of it!’ It made me smile and happy at the same time and gave me the energy to lick the papers 😀
And yes, luck is in the efforts or in the mind maybe?
Totally – it is all in the head, as they say 🙂 But without these quirks, our lives would be boring and monotonous, don’t you think?
Finally. Its been so long since one of these L&M series posts! And as usual it was very enjoyable 🙂
You mean one which you commented! I have been writing them regularly if not very frequently.
Thankfully I have none, or so I believe. My younger bro would not let there be crease on the bed sheet and would get all red if i spoil his bed.
My wife has this thing about keeping all things inside – in the drawers, in the bed box, inside the cupboards and so on. So I keep loosing my stuff, my pens, memory drives, etc etc. And the only way to find them is open all boxes – big and small.
Ummm well there. Reading in the loo is for sure a ‘harmless’ quirk acquired from dad! Eccentric – not at all. Its an evolved mechanism to optimize time. LOL
That used to be Vinni’s habit too. He would even straighten the door mat if it was crooked. But only when he was very young 🙂 I can understand the frustration of searching for things. No wonder the L&M prefers to leave everything out so that he could find anything he wants 😀 I like the way you have justified a quirk using management jargon 😀
Hahaha! I can vouch on Monster under the bed and keeping the lights on throughout the night to elope the agitation. That nights was the longest of all, I remember.
Only it was not just one night but several in a row. And he wouldn’t allow one of us to sleep with him especially after his elder brother left for college! Glad to know it made you happy to remember 🙂