Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just in case

The husband is a worry wart. He is the one who will always have an umbrella (two, in fact, just in case one has to be lent to the delinquent at work). He would be the one to buy the last four packets of meat lasagna from the super market (“What if one night I feel like it and there’s none in the freezer?”).

He would be the one to announce an epidemic if he spotted a red ant or cockroach on the counter. Windows are shut, fastened and rechecked (just in case germs come rushing in or it pours and floods the house) every time we leave the flat. He might even have stopped taking the lift to protect himself from swine flu, just that we live on the fifteenth floor and the last time he exercised was probably when he learnt to walk.

A stubbed toe or a scratched palm will be gazed at despondently for hours like surgery was imminent. A mere sniffle would have him packing to a certain quack who prescribed Ceftum indiscriminately, and he spent the next five to six days feeling sorry for himself, imagining drug molecules fighting battles with the toxins in the body and being largely overwhelmed.

I, on the other hand, am the queen of cool. I love open windows, hate air-conditioning, doctors and processed food (not necessarily in that order) don’t pop pills, carry umbrellas, or obsess about what to wear or eat. I am a ‘now’ person, never have multiple copies of anything, stock up for dry days or make contingency plans. I just improvise, and it’s worked so far.

Meanwhile, he buys five of the same white linen shirts, just in case the laundry man lost one or two, or Cotton world stopped making them (and they did!). He has, in storage, ten bulbs, a dozen batteries, four toothpaste packs, and at least a dozen soaps and shower gels. Everything is backed up … milk, coffee, juices, peanut butter, mustard, mayonnaise, cheese, bread, chocolate, whatever.

He fondly calls it Verma stores (random surname, no offence to the bearer of the name). I proposed we re-christen it to Agarwal Mart, since it has assumed gargantuan proportions: Agarwal groceries, Agarwal cold storage, Agarwal medical, Agarwal hardware and Agarwal confectionery

He calls it ‘advance work’. His definition is – work that is done before it needs to be done, so that when the time comes, it doesn’t seem like work.

Yes, but what about work that has to be done now, I ask. “Have you filed your returns, asked for the mutual fund statements, got your passport documents ready, downloaded the infant’s videos……?” He has left the room.

We are now curious to see how the infant turns out. Will he be the chronic worrier with a dash of OCD, or will be the king of cool?

Time will tell.