Words: ~1300 | Theme: Domestic Fiction
The mop groaned on hearing her footsteps, and whispered to the broom, “Hai hai! She is here. Why can’t she follow a schedule? Doesn’t she know that I like to take a nap in the afternoon? Whenever she gets the urge, she starts to sweep”.
The broom responded, glumly, “Haan bahen, I know what you mean. But you still have a few minutes of rest left. I’ll be the first one to be abused – with my head being banged in the name of science. I miss Rukmini maushi. Oh she is here! Quick, wish me luck.”
She picked up the broom, and as had just been predicted, banged it on the floor a couple of times. “You guys have forgotten me in this mehfil of sorrow!” cried the dustpan, “She is greener than the Amazon rainforest, look! Chalo, friends, if I survive, we shall meet again.” The subject of their dread, this tyrannical lady, lifted the broom and the dustpan, and walked out of the room amidst a cacophony of goodbyes.
A short while later, in the kitchen that was now constantly occupied, the stove whispered to the lighter, “Arrey!, how much does he eat? Nowadays, he is constantly using me for cooking. I was not paid to cook *so* much! Once a day, it was decided in our contract, but he is using me far too often for it to be legal. And who had said anything about him slapping the utensils on me? I am not called the four-faced-Ravana of the burner world for this kind of abuse. Bah! He even dirties my surface with his overzealous stirring, and half-assed cleaning!”
The lighter was the stove’s best friend, and they got along like a house on fire. The slim lighter was a fashionista, and every few months would change its attire. The stove, on the other hand was a foodie and had a matronly figure, and lived life, vicariously, through its friend. They enjoyed each other’s company, and shared many pleasant evenings, laughing together.
The lighter, guffawed in response, “That is a good thing, my friend. Imagine! The family must be happy that he has spilled the food. Better you than us, they must wonder.” The burner laughed in appreciation, “There, time for duty and time to be soiled. May the force be with you!” he said as he was lit.
The apartment shared by these household appliances was large and roomy, a nurturer and a nest. The most misused room in the living quarters was undoubtedly the media room. Four cheerful walls adorned with movie posters, comfortable couches, a huge flat-screen television. All associated paraphernalia were tastefully cluttered around its marble floor. This is where the family spent most of its time, it was their mecca of entertainment.
The television, laptop, and the sofa were bosom buddies, and had started their collective journeys more or less at the same time. The TV was a cantankerous soul, whose foul nature was offset by the usually happy-go-lucky laptop, and the comforting sofa.
The mood in the media room was rife with barely repressed rage today. The telly was on a warpath, grouchy and cranky, “It is so hot. I am burning up. This kind of heat will melt my innards. Maybe that will teach them a lesson. Why are they constantly turning me on? I need some time to myself, too. I need time for my personal creativity. But no, they all want to watch me, all the time!,” it complained to the laptop.
“Bhai, why complain so much? I bear half the burden with you. When you are being given the time off, I am being called to duty! They don’t realise that my buttocks are on fire, and they are laughing away at my screen. Idiots!” the laptop responded.
“Gasp. Gasp. I can’t breathe. This could be my aakhri alwida to you folks,” panted the miserable sofa. They are always resting their tashreef on my lap. Uff. They are so disgusting- eating on me, dropping food on me, and then passing gas. Don’t I have feelings, too? Why must I inhale their rejects? I find it so suffocating. And don’t even get me started with their body odours. I wish I could tell them, having a bath occasionally is not a bad thing. What a life, I was better off as cotton on the trees.” Both, the television and the laptop, nodded, in sympathy.
These bits of conversation could be heard in whispers throughout the house. At the entrance, two items were indulging in their own little tale-swapping. “This stale air is so smelly,” the running shoes said to the sandals. “Ha ha! Compared to what you smell, it is attar,” quipped the sandals.
“You are so rude!” said the running shoes. “Always making fun of me. It is not my fault that I smell. How do you think I feel? Despite being running-shoes I can’t run away! And the humiliation that I bear – the constant jokes that all of you make about me. You think I am up for this kind of life. I have kissed my olfactory senses, good bye. I killed them with my own two tongues,” he cried.
“Oh ! Sorry! Sorry!” said the sandals, “I did not mean to upset you, my friend. And I agree with you, the air here is rather dank.”
“That is because they have not opened the rack in so many months,” said the stiletto, nodding her head.
“I wonder what happened to them. Why are they not taking us out anymore? I still remember those glorious days, when we could see sunshine, and feel the breeze on our heels. We could gaze around the whole city, walking everywhere with them. I have not even met my train or office friends for so long, I am scared I might forget their soles!” cried the formal shoes.
“There! There!” said the sandals, “I am sure we can survive this, whatever this is! If we all stay together, and stay cheerful, we may get a chance again to go out.”.
“Are you sure?” sniffled the running shoes.
The family matriarch decided that enough videos were watched, and adequate food was cooked and consumed. She searched the cupboard for a long forgotten relic, the Ludo board-game. She rescued it from its years of banishment, and dusted it off. “Let us all play Ludo,” she announced, as she spread a mat on the floor, lay the game on it, and beckoned. The television, laptop, and the sofa, especially the sofa, gave a huge sigh of relief as they watched the family congregate on the mat. The eight-year-old son inquired, “What is this mama?” looking at the board-game with puzzlement.
“It is a game we used to play, when I was a baby, haina?” piped his 10-going-on-11 sister. Her parents shared a smile, and a knowing look. “I am back, baby!” screamed the Ludo board. “You can’t hold a good game down for long!”