The roommate wakes me up in her towel. I reach for my phone before letting her know that I did not plan to leave the bed for at least another 12 minutes, until it was exactly 8:30 am. “Okay, sleep then”. But those 12 minutes turn into 23 minutes of surfing Instagram for funny posts about twenty-somethings. I like starting my day with the knowledge that there are young adults all over the globe that are just as clueless and unmotivated as me.
Didi, our maid, hands me a mug of boiling water and waits for me to drink it. I ask her why she is intent on melting my insides and she claims that all she wants is to melt the fat off my body. Thank you, Didi. Really.
I play Karan Johar’s upcoming film’s soundtrack on repeat as I get ready. I hear roommate #2 mumble something about how there is no peace in the house, even in the mornings. I quietly turn down the volume on my iPhone and continue pulling my kurta over my head. Hmm… it definitely feels looser than the last time I wore it. I must be losing weight. I practically bounce onto the weighing scale in the corner of the room. 70 kgs. On the dot.
So … I guess not.
Didi hands me a bowl of Poha. My breakfast is what looks like softened yellow flakes with the occasional chili and curry leaf. I sit down on the chair and take a spoonful into my mouth. Didi is still standing in the doorway. “Well, how is it?”
“It tastes exactly like the last 10 times you made it”.
“Where are your clothes that need to be washed today?”
“Exactly where they always are, at the bottom of my cupboard”.
“Nobody in this house does anything except for me”.
With that, she is gone. Our morning interaction has been fulfilled. I am left alone for approximately 20 seconds before the roommate bursts in, no longer in her towel. “Tonight, let’s go to Marine Drive”.
“Kis khushi mein?” To celebrate what?
This question is not well-received. I am told that I have time for everyone else but her, and that I do not understand the meaning of friendship. I am pretty sure that at some point during her monologue, she accused me of plotting against her. I did not ask for details on this, although looking back now, I suppose I should have.
“Okay, deal, we will go after work”.
“You don’t sound excited”.
I sigh and split my lips into a huge grin. “Aaaahhh! I cannot wait to go to Marine Drive with you!”
“Calm down, don’t be so chep. I’ll see you after work”.
I continue eating my poha. I wonder why every morning must be filled with sarcastic comments and existential crisis. One day, I tell myself, I must write a book to document these characters in my life. One day, I will publish that book and become famous and travel the world. Of course, these people will hate me because I will forever expose their weird traits to the rest of humanity, but I will have too much money by then. I will probably buy new friends and pay them to act exactly like these people. It will be a lovely change.
I leave the house with my work bag, gym bag and lunch bag. I wait 10 minutes for the rickety elevator and say Namaste to the operator. He looks at me like I am a walking, talking cockroach, here to infiltrate his lift. I finally hail a cab, after 15 minutes of being rejected because my office is not far enough away. Dear Kaali-Peeli taxi drivers, I hope Uber crushes you.
It takes me another 10 minutes to travel up to the 16th floor because the elevator in my office building is big enough to accommodate around 20 people, all of whom strategically plan to get off at different floors. I am convinced this is a consolidated effort to ensure that I never reach work on time.
My workplace, according to Google Maps, is a 4 minute drive from my house. Door to door, it should take me about 8 minutes. Instead, here I am, 40 minutes later, opening my laptop to start work for the day. Google Maps, you clearly don’t know anything about living in Mumbai.