Kishore Singh: The oh-so tedious shifting regime

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 04, 2013 21:23 hrs

This is what my wife said, "Darling, do you think I should wear a cheerful shade of pink lipstick for packing, or would something sober be better?" Fortunately, I didn't have to answer because the movers had already bagged her lipsticks and other makeup, so, she no longer had to worry about matching her eye-mascara to the shade of shirt she'd kept aside for the purpose. The shirt might have got packed too had it not been for the dog running away with it, creating a minor diversion but leading to its recovery - the first time she agreed to wear something dripping with a canine's saliva.

But I was a good one for gloating, having kept aside my laptop on top of some books I intended to carry to work, but which the packers whisked off with the same efficiency with which they'd packed the rest of the house. Before our eyes, furniture was shrink-wrapped, cupboards emptied of their contents, my sons girlie magazines glimpsed for a nano-second before being consigned en route to the new house. My shoes, lined up against a wall for pairing with a suitcase full of clothes I'd kept aside for the next few days, disappeared into the maw of packing. As a result, I arrived at the hotel we'd checked into as a midway home between homes, wearing a pair of borrowed slippers.

It wasn't an auspicious start. Did I have the hotel reservation vouchers? "Packed," I smirked. Was I carrying any identity? The dog-chewed driving licence in my wallet didn't appear to convince them of our bonafides - and we did appear bedraggled - so I had to say that everything was, alas, "packed and shipped". My wife reported to the duty manager that she was tired, besides being angry because she didn't have her favourite lipstick on, so, if a shower wasn't forthcoming soon, she was moving bag and baggage to the bar. Galvanised into action, the manager suggested that perhaps I might find some identification on the net. Rescued by the passport scans we'd sent for visa applications a year previously, we proceeded with our room formalities and were soon celebrating our key cards with a cheer.

Too soon. The following day, the unpacking began at the new house - flooded with cartons and furniture, all in the wrong rooms, and the labour gone because we had decided to trust them rather than our instincts. The fridge, unwrapped and plugged in, turned out to be full of meats in the freezer and vegetables in the tray that had all rotted and were stinking to the heavens. Emergency measures were called for. The distressed dog barked up a storm in the empty rooms. The furnishings tailor failed to turn up with the curtains. The move from piped gas to cylinder gas did not fire the cooking range. The case of drinking water we'd carried was lost amidst the other cartons.

My daughter, luckily for her, left for an out-of-city assignment, demanding that her room be ready when she returned. The domestic staff reported sick. My son left for work. The driver said he couldn't come for his duties in time any more since we'd shifted farther, though he was only being cautious about being roped in by my wife into doing domestic chores on the sly. As for me, it's been several days but I still haven't found my shoes, so the hotel staff thinks I'm an eccentric because I insist on wearing formal clothes with a pair of soiled chappals.

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