Killing the Red God

A serialization of my novel, "Killing the Red God". | Copyright: Hari Kumar | website: | If this is your first visit, please start from the bottom (start of Chapter 1)

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Location: Singapore, Singapore

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 9

Author's Note:
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Now for the latest instalment....

She clears the table, dumps all the food packets into a large trash bag, ties it up neatly and throws it into the trash chute. She then cleans the table thoroughly, first using a wet sponge soaked in a soap solution and then with another lightly moist sponge and lastly with a dry smudge-free cloth applying long, even strokes. She inspects the table for any smudges by keeping her eye close to the table and looking at it sideways. I am impressed at her thoroughness, at her quiet efficiency, at her perfectionism for a task so mundane.

Nisha was never too concerned about housework. In fact she did nothing of that sort. The early years in Singapore were blissful, though taxing for me. I had to do every bit of housework from sweeping (every day morning — ‘good exercise’, she told me, while getting ready for her morning jog), mopping (once a week), washing the clothes (every third day — but the machine did most of the work), putting the clothes out to dry (every third day — this was a real chore, loading the bamboo poles so that the lighter ones like Nisha’s panties and bras are at the farthest end and the heavier ones like the towels are closer, balancing it and gently easing them into the pipe holes), ironing (once a week — sickening!), cooking (only on week ends — meals on weekdays were mostly at the neighbourhood hawker. Nisha, thankfully wasn’t too fussy; she could survive on fruits, vegetable sandwiches made out of wholemeal bread, fish soup, mee goreng etc), shopping, feeding baby Pooja in the middle of the night (every night; luckily there was this genial old Indian lady living three doors from us, who offered to take care of Pooja during the day time for a small monthly fee of three hundred dollars. She would take Pooja just before I left for office and bring her back clean, well fed and asleep late at night. On weekends, after much wheedling, Nisha agreed that Pooja could remain with us. But feeding her and changing nappies were entirely my responsibility).
During those days, we were occasionally invited for a stray birthday party or a housewarming by other desi acquaintances. We never took Pooja along since, as expected, Nisha flatly refused to have anything to do with her. I felt it would be odd if I were the only guy changing nappies between beers, while the wife sits there shaking an idle leg. She would come made up like a Karaoke girl, with streaks of died brown hair, blood-red lipstick, in a short skirt and showing generous quantities of skin. While she is doing her marathon make-up, I would tell her after carefully crafting and rehearsing the words in my mind, “Dear, you would feel terribly awkward if you wear such clothes and make-up for this party. All the ladies will be in churidars or saris. It is a gathering of Indians only…” and she would reply, “Look, Dilip, if you don’t want me to come, you just say so. I’ll gladly stay here. But don’t expect me to be your obedient wife and accompany you in such shitty clothes. That’s not me, okay.” At the host’s, she would sit by my side sipping beer along with the other men, while the rest of the wives are closeted in an adjoining room, (usually the master bed room), talking about their children’s schooling, the sale at John Little or the latest serial in Zee. In the living room, sitting beside me, she would be making frequent and insightful contributions on the Singapore economy, its relations with Malaysia, globalisation, the Euro against the Dollar etc. while I would mostly remain silent with my beer mug. It was clear that she wowed the men from the expressions of naked amazement in their face. As the beer bottles became empty, the gaze of the husbands sometimes wandered to lower areas of her body.

(To be continued...)


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