Oct 11, 2004, 11:30am:
"Did you see my black bag?" she asked me as soon as I picked up the phone.
"Uh..oh...black bag. Which one?" By now I had figured who was calling but I was not sure which black bag she was talking about.
"I thought you will know. You were here for an hour right. Did you see it?"
"No I did not notice any black bag. Have you misplaced it?"
"It has the 15% discount coupon that I can use in Indian Terrain. The offer closes on 31st Oct. What shall I do?" she sounded stressed out.
"It is only the 11th of Oct. There is plenty of time. I am sure you will find it." That's me, the ever-consoling agony aunt.
"okay" bang goes the phone. She's just hung up on me.
I let this pass and carry on with work.
1/2 hour later:
"I cannot find it. Are you sure you did not see it?" It's her again.
Oh no. What have I got myself into without doing anything? "I am sure I did not see it. Try searching for it sometime later. You will definitely find it."
"Maybe the maid took it" Now her imagination is starting to work.
"No way. She's been working for you for the last five years. You've told me that she is trustworthy."
"Hmm...that is ok. But she might have changed. You never know with these people." She is warming up to her idea.
"I don't think so. You will find it." I am wondering what the maid would do with a 15% discount in Indian Terrain. I do not voice it though.
"I have to go" she loses interest in talking to me and hangs up again.
3 hours later:
"Madhavi was telling me that I always had this black bag with me during my lucky shopping discount days. Now how will I go shopping and find good deals without this bag?" It was her yet again and I was in the middle of a meeting when I took this call.
I told her that I will call her back after the meeting. She carried on as if she never heard me, "Why do I always lose my lucky things? Do you remember how I lost the beautiful Solitaire diamond ring that Ashwin had gifted me? I am always careful with my things but why do I lose them?"
At this point, my patience was wearing thin but I still did not get to the impolite stage where I could have simply put the phone down. "Malati, I need to go now. I shall catch up with you in a short while. Bye" I reeled off in my voicemail tone and disconnected before she could get another word in.
I go about my business for the rest of the day and do not call her back. Her lost bag has completely slipped my mind (the earth hardly shook under the duress so I did not notice).
"I just remembered that I also have the new jeweller's address in that bag. What do I do?" Who else but her for the fourth time.
"Who is this?" says my husband.
"Oh. Call your wife. This is Malati"
My husband rolls his eyes as he passes on the phone. "Yes Malati, tell me" I sound terribly tired and bored to my own ears. But I am sure she did not bother about how I sound at all.
"I have the new jeweller's address in that bag. How will I order the uncut sapphire pendant now?"
I was thinking about her obsession with the inanities and did not quite hear what she said.
"What will I do?" she repeated.
"Malati, never mind. We can buy a new black bag. I can even gift it to you for your monthly all women bash", I try to get out of this agony with a carrot.
"But it will not become that black bag. I got it at the Treasure Island mall in Kolkata for Rs.90. It was such a steal. Do you remember Rehman's Needlecraft store where I used to pick up those wonderful crochet pieces?" she jumpstarted on flashback mode and I spent the next hour on the phone unsuccessfully sending out signals to cut the call.
You might want to ask me what happened to the black bag. I don't really know or care. I was careful enough to be unreachable after that. She has not called today and I am checking the caller id on each call that I have been getting since morning. Until her next inanity, I am doomed to hear accounts of the black bag. Actually, let me correct it: Until her next inanity, I am doomed to hear accounts of the black bag everyday. After that, she will probably recall it every once in a while along with the lost Solitaire and her grocery bags and everything else that she has filed away in her mind.
Men always say that women get lost in the details of little things. I am a woman and a details person as well and I used to think that it is a good way to be. But I did not quite realize that this is probably what the men might have meant when they said 'details of little things'.Please, if you are a woman and a details person, do keep the details to yourself or if you have to throw it out of your system, do so on a piece of paper or do it with a friend who will do the same to you when she loses something. Do not try it on not-so-delicate darlings like me puhleeeease.
PS: I am not anti-female. All the men who think so after reading this don't know me at all!
PPS: Part of the account above is fictitious and I am not going to tell you which part. Just accept that I did go through the ordeal in a slightly different fashion but the pain was still the same