Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Relatively Speaking

If there were de-addiction centres for blogging, I’d quite possibly be one of the first ones to be presented there, kicking and screaming my protest in a straitjacket.

I realise that my obsession with blogging has reached unhealthy levels. I am constantly on the lookout for interesting subjects (and by that I also mean annoying, stupid or just regular amusement on two legs) to blog about.

When my sibling Scion kicked his leg through the seat of a dining chair in a bizarre accident while reaching for rose cookies, giving himself a nasty bruise on the chest, my immediate reaction should ideally have been a concerned, “Oh, my God! Are you all right?” Right?

No. Instead, yours truly looks at him quizzically, wondering at the mass of arms and legs entangled in what was once a perfectly intact dining chair. Then, as he hopped over to a sofa to nurse a wounded knee, to my horror, I felt the stirrings of an awful giggle fit.

Because in my head, all that I could think of was, “With bruises like that, people would think the hero had been out rock climbing or rappelling. Instead he earned those black and blue hues reaching for rose cookies. I wonder how I can incorporate this on my blog?”

With that, the damage was done. I burst out laughing. Luckily, my family has more funny bones than an elephant graveyard and pretty soon, Scion was chuckling away while still groaning with pain.

A few weekends ago, I had a couple of social functions to attend. A cousin’s engagement and a friend’s wedding reception. While I quite looked forward to the latter, I was in two minds about the former. Family obligation and all that jazz is not a reason that sits well with me since I do not feel guilty remorse at skipping one of those. I only view events in terms of “boring” or “not-so-boring”.

And then I looked at my blog. Uh-oh. If I did not act quickly, A Touch of Tabasco would soon belong to the World Wide Cob Web.

A community gathering, eh? Perfect. With some luck, I could find some material there to blog about. And so, with a much willing heart, I went - ears flapping and eyes peeled. I did pick up a few perils of wisdom such as how one must always place potted palms on a veranda as they prevent old people from falling. Don’t you just love illogical data of that sort? It gives me something to try and attach logic to while in the company of coma-inducing individuals later.

I found myself having a surprisingly enjoyable misandrist-oriented conversation with a very well-spoken, witty old lady with an in-your-face attitude. She did not have anything to say about the strategic use of potted palms, but she did have a lot of rather amusing observations, collated over several years, about the males of my tribe and their general attitude toward us alien non-resident types.

However, one cannot spend an entire evening in the company of an octogenarian, maverick or not. I soon found myself surveying the room again with an uninterested eye, slightly disheartened that I had no material for a new blog post after all.

Blame it on the heavy rain that evening. But suddenly, a bunch of cousins came crawling out of the woodwork. Now, I have this thing about cousins. I always thought that Cousin Binky, her brother Cousin I-don’t-think-horror-movies-have-enough-bloodshed A, Cousin I-am-also-your-uncle-because-of-rampant-in-breeding-bordering-on-incest Whisky and Little Miss Britain were the only cousins I could relate to. We are all social outcasts of sorts - what with our tendency to converse in English all the time and such.

Most others, (and I say “most” because there could be exceptions who do not spring to mind at the moment), are just too old or too young or too... well... different. I am barely past the initial polite conversation about coffee, hockey, rainfall and work before they mentally stick a skewer through me and roast a misfit-cousin-on-the-spit while chanting in a tongue I do not comprehend.

So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to stumble upon second cousins who were well, in the same generation, and more importantly, quite “PLU or people like us” as Bin somewhat snobbishly puts it. A bunch of previously undiscovered cool cousins? I think my luck’s finally beginning to turn.

I came looking for blog-worthy snippets and I stumbled on flesh-and-blood smarty-pants company. It also means I can finally ditch the octogenarians. And that’s not such a bad thing even for a snooping material-hungry blogoholic.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Of Hallucinations and Hospitals

My apologies to my regular readers, the nosy busybodies, the stalkers, the Belgian and the visitor from Ouagadougou seeking “tabasco cupcakes”.

Amidst the decision to switch jobs and a health scare courtesy my father, I had little time, inclination or inspiration to blog. However, as everything seems to be settling down now and general good humour appears to have returned, here goes.

This piece is yet another about my family since every other crazy I know has taken refuge from the sweltering summer sun (or incontinent rain cloud if in Bangalore).

Dad often considers himself a poster child for Murphy’s Law – and rightly so. How else would you explain how a simple hernia surgery could land one in the ICU?

Dad caused the family and his surgeon – who is now undoubtedly questioning his career choice – some anxious moments when, while coming out of a simple hernia procedure, he suffered what they call a “cardiac event”. “Event”? These medical types are nuts. How is something like this an “event”? They might as well call it a “spectacle” and sell audience tickets and dole out refreshments. George Bush Jr. goof-ups, Halley’s comet, la Tomatina, Aerosmith live in concert, the WillKat wedding – those are “events”!

Anyhow, long story short, the hospital kept him under anesthesia for a further 48 hours while monitoring him in the ICU with all the requisite life-support systems in place. While things seemed like they could go either way for a while, Dad pulled through and came out all puns blazing. While his old ventricles took a beating, Dad’s sense of humour or more aptly, his ability to cause much mirth and amusement around him appeared stellar.

As Dad came out of his 48-hour induced nap, he gestured frantically at my sibling Scion. Still attached to the ventilator along with other tubes, it was impossible to speak. Thus began a game of dumb charades.

Dad gestured and signaled while Scion – who is not exactly the best person to have on a charades team – kept guessing. “You have digital power!” he declared. No, signaled Dad. “You feel like you have swallowed power!” Scion ventured again. No! “You feel empowered? You feel powerful? You feel invincible? You feel like Superman? You ARE the MRF Man!” No!

Finally, Scion deciphered “I swallowed a digital thermometer”. That’s right. That is exactly what Dad was trying to say. Serious.

Dad kept pointing to a spot in his stomach saying the errant digital thermometer had parked itself there. He was only convinced otherwise once the tubes were removed and the hallucinogenic effect of the various drugs administered wore off.

While I made a mental note of the episode as well as Scion’s useless guesses, it struck me. This sort of thing runs in the family. Years ago, while I recovered from an emergency appendectomy, I was convinced that the surgeon had left a pair of scissors inside. Then I decided he’d left two wads of cotton. Once I reasoned that wasn’t the case, I suspected he had robbed me of a kidney. After a recent ultrasound where my gall bladder apparently turned invisible, I am now convinced they nicked that too. I haven’t got the gall, quite literally.

So anyway, after a turbulent few weeks, things appear to be settling down. Dad says those 48 hours were like an acid trip. From being carried off in an auto rickshaw to an Indian Oil petrol bunk baring his behind in a hospital gown, being subjected to medical experiments to sitting on a bench with some old men, he had the strangest of dreams. Even the despicable Ducky put in an appearance. Dad, in his dreams, saw the fellow pottering around the ICU looking for something called “an umbilical cap” for his “wife’s hernia”, which he later triumphantly declared he found at the Meerut cantonment area.

Dad’s only regret? He couldn’t reach out far enough to hurl a bedpan at the moron.

As for the rest of us, we’re now consciously watching what we eat, steering clear of Robin Cook books and keeping a keen eye on the whereabouts of that digital thermometer at all times. And of course, we’re laughing again.