The Banana Breakout!


She loses her temper very often nowadays. ‘Not at all surprising under the present circumstances’, Nandini reasons. Her life has been reduced to a saga of non-stop drudgery—from early morning to late night, without a break till she falls like a log on the double bed more than half of which is always occupied by Barun, her husband. Well, she does not mind work, she has always been an active and agile person who preferred to remain busy; she in fact hated idleness. However, in this case, she’s getting mercilessly deprived of her privacy—her private moments were always important in her life. Nandini finds herself unable to wave off the strong sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia? What the hell! It’s been just four months earlier when her life was going on the usual way.

Since her marriage about twenty years back she’d been getting used to a set daily routine. She would rise early from bed, make tea and the meals, send off Barun to office with the ever-present tiffin box, have her breakfast, then would welcome the maid for the domestic clean-up while chatting with her carefree and relaxed; after the maid left she would have the rest of the day to herself for relaxing, making phone calls to parents or relatives or her friends till her husband joined around 7 in the evening. Everyday except for holidays and Sundays when the time spent together or the outings seemed heavenly. The arrival of the children, first the daughter after two years of marriage and then the son with a two-year gap, made her routing only tighter, but still giving her the private moments, she was always so fond of. She was a bachelor degree holder, but never really wanted a job, taking care of her household being the most important assignment. And that had been the story of her life as a housewife till four months ago.

Now everything has changed.   Every single member of the household would stay put at home: the children would occupy most of the hall of Nandini’s one bedroom-hall-kitchen flat with their smartphones often requiring absolute quiet for their online classes; Baurn would sprawl on the bed watching television news as if he were the only one on earth needing to be abreast of happenings the world over and the maid would not come. Nandini would remain confined mostly to her humid kitchen cooking and cooking, she was surprised that all of them seemed to be ravenously hungry at all time despite the long idleness, and worse, they’d want newer and newer dishes to be prepared. Nature of Barun’s work made work-from-home minimal and whenever he sat down before his desktop in the bedroom, he would complain more of the WIFI net service being monopolized by the children than work.

First Nandini took her routine a natural new-normal, but slowly and steadily got bored and impatient. How could she just go on like this: rise early morning to clean the house before everyone else woke up; then preparing the breakfast—first for her children and then for Barun who rose from bed in an infuriatingly leisurely way; then she would start preparing for lunch—not able to combine cooking for the night too as the exquisite connoisseurs did not want stale food for any meal; she’d hardly manage a catnap as the chattering of the late-rising Barun never ceased; then time for the evening tea for all preferably with a hot snack and by the time she felt a little free it was time for preparing dinner, and when finally past midnight she’d fall flat on the bed like a log the television would still go on.

All essentials came home, that is to say, at the lobby of the society from where these were to be collected that Barun did generously—from online booking or from the local grocery store orders. She’d often encourage Barun to go out for fresh vegetables and fruits from the vendors who served till about 7 in the evening. But he would not budge: he considered himself as the elderly although he was not yet fifty and so would not take any risk, for that very purpose he barred the children too from going out.

Over the days the suffocation became unbearable for Nandini and she was really desperate now. Petty quarrels with her husband started becoming violent eliciting tremendous disapproval and ire from the children. And then she hit upon an idea. It was true that she found the bananas delivered online not at all fresh and hardly lasted two days as all of them gobbled up two or three bananas every morning. She tried with her banana-centrist idea and said to Barun,
“Look Barun! This continuous stay-home without some physical activity is not good for you, it’ll slowly decrease your immunity and finally when everything becomes normal, you’ll be most likely to get infected the moment you go out. These are not my words, but experts’ you know. You must do something to increase your immunity. I’m never free dancing around the house most part of the day and so I don’t need to exercise…see, now evening walks are allowed, and you can see how bad the bananas are. You all love bananas! So, go out in the evening, take a stroll, sit the garden and buy fresh bananas from the local vendor—only a little away from our society complex. Please…!"

It worked to her great relief. Every alternate day gave her the much-needed free moments on the bed—gratefully alone and private. It didn’t matter for how long—just fifteen minutes of privacy did wonders for her distressed self. Of course, she never ceased thanking God for keeping them safe and relatively better-off from many others because Barun had his monthly salary still ensured. Nandini, a classical homemaker, wished well for all in her family and for all of the whole country and the 
world…

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