Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Association Mama

Me, I am nobody. My husband is the association president. By association I mean the apartment complex we live in. We both a flat in a good location and settled in when we got our children married of. They too happened to settle in the same city as us and now they all have a good life, with both spouses working and children busy with schools.
My husband is not the type to go canvassing for the post of president for the complex. It happened to fall on his lap.
Sheila Aunty was the president before. She was tall and very lean. She expected everyone to tow to her wishes. Unfortunately the rest of the flat owners did not share her enthusiasm for the job. So my husband was called in to help smooth the issues.
Every morning we would hear the door bell chime. Some one would be standing at our door step and would tell me, ”Is Srinivasan home?”
Where else would he be at that hour, I would think, but just say yes on the outside and ask them to come in. There the day’s events would start. Also would start my coffee making routine. Who ever said that retired people had it easy, did not live in our association for sure.
During day more women would drop by. After finishing their house works, they would drop in to see my husband and wait for their husbands to come back, who would have gone to the bank or some other errands. Then my Tea making would start as everyone seemed to want to drink Tea.
Sheila aunty’s head would be bashed around by my these people. For the most part, my husband would be the silent spectator. He would nod his head in all directions, making me think its going to fall off with all these noddings.
Not that Sheila aunty did anything wrong. She took everyone to task. She admonished some people who drove fast inside the compound. She told every body to pick up the trash and not just throw it outside. Maybe the way she said was aggravating. But any other way no one would listen. And so it went till one fine day Lakshmi aunty wanted Sheila out.
For some reason she latched onto my husband and almost by default my husband became President.
Initially I was very happy. I thought the endless coffee and tea making sessions would come to an end. But no things got worse.
Now the moment anyone saw me , they had some message for my husband and I had turned overnight into the courier boy or should I say courier aunty?
Also for me tracking all these one line messages to and fro was stressful since I forgot things quickly. If I came back home and said “Lakshmi wanted to see you urgently “ and “Swaminathan wanted to you to taste his mysorepak” I would get into greater trouble because I had inadvertently twisted what the two of them had said.
This message service did not end as they followed me to the temple or the grocery shop.
Needless to say the door bell rang at all times. Now I could not even take a nap peacefully.
Finally the year came to an end and the association members met to elect a new president and to give a send off party to the outgoing president.
I attended attired in a grand sari. Nice words were said about my husband and glowing terms to describe his tireless service and then the mantle was handed over.
I stood gaping as no mention of me was made. No mention of my supplies of coffee or tea, No mention of my coming to the door every time the door bell rang, which was constantly, No mention of my scurrying around with the messages to and fro.. No mention of me at all. I just wanted to sit there and wail “What about me?”.

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