Breaking Out Of The Eggshell!


It had been one of their usual shifting of quarters as per the allotment rules or upgrades of the company where Udit was employed. It was the fourth shifting to have taken place in his ten years of married life with Rohini. This time, luckily, the new quarter was just in the next campus, and so they’d decided to engage one maintenance employee for the shifting work rather than going for the expensive movers and packers. The maintenance employee arranged a couple of hand-pulled carts along with three laborers. The work started in the morning and was going on smoothly, in batch by batch.

 

Rohini had been accustomed to this business of moving to new houses in every two or three years. She took pride in the fact that she kept every household matter in systemic and organized arrangement so that nothing untoward happened during the inevitable shifting seasons. Although she’d always been very fastidious about order and cleanliness the experience over the years had considerably and progressively reduced the extreme strain her vocal cords had had to undergo on such days. Today, in fact, she’s surprised that she didn’t have to raise her voice even once. Well, thus far.

 

Udit and Rohini have a five-year-old son who is more of a burden than a help on shifting days, and therefore, with the consent of Rohini he invited two of his younger and bachelor cousins to help them out. They moved in the previous night and have been very useful in the preparation work. Udit is feeling happy, specially because Rohini felt no intrusion from their presence in her work of expert supervision and guidance. As an adorable add-on for Udit, she, in fact, cooked the supper last night for all of them with quite a few delicious dishes, as if she were cooking the last supper, I mean, in that particular kitchen of that particular house. Yes, a kitchen is extremely close to a homemaker’s heart, let the house be a quarter or a rented one.

 

By noontime the shifting got completed, and Rohini, taking a last fond look around the empty house cleaning it properly beforehand that she always considers a good omen, finally left it and entered the new house where, obviously, things lay in heaps on the floors of every room. She first got the drawing room arranged so that everyone could sit and chat in comfort while helping her on her errands. As they were all very hungry by now Udit was just thinking of going out to bring in food parcels when all hell broke loose.

 

“Where is the egg?” Rohini suddenly called out.

“What egg? Nothing was there in the fridge when it was covered with cardboard paper.” Udit responded in some amount of surprise.

“No! there was just one egg left. I forgot about it, thought someone’d take care of it.”

 

‘Any debate over this is useless; if she says there is an egg there’s absolutely an egg’, Udit decided. He launched a thorough search with rigor and vigor, opening and looking into every pack of grocery or utensils or any other pack. He initiated into action both of his cousins. But unfortunately, no egg was found, anywhere. Feeling hot and sticky one of the cousins entered the empty bathroom, locked the door and put himself directly under the taps or showers. The search went on though, relentlessly and…egglessly.

 

Rohini’s irritation slowly converted into ire and a great bursting fury as she herself couldn’t trace it or remember where it could’ve been placed possibly. Her anger now gave way to repeated shrieks, laments and condemnation of the careless attitudes of all the male members.

“Do you know what this means! If the egg is packed into some wrong package, like that of my precious clothes and dresses, and it breaks inside…! Huh? Only my work would magnify! No? only I’ll have to go on cleaning and washing the clothes or any damn thing that it happens to break into!” she ranted, to no one in particular.

 

Meanwhile, the bathing cousin was heard talking in his mobile phone while still taking the shower. This angered Rohini further. Rather unnecessarily, Udit thought. Those days the cell phones were a craze and everyone would stick to it anytime anywhere. Udit was amused to think how that fellow was managing: no buckets, no mugs, no cloth hangers, no racks and still he was able to talk with the water falling all over him. His amusement got quickly dissolved.

 

“Hey you! Enjoying your bath, huh?” Rohini hissed into the closed door.

“One moment…what’s wrong Sis?”

“Where is the goddamned egg?”

“Just a moment…oh that! I searched everywhere you know! Don’t worry, it’ll be found. …yes please!”

The other cousin politely suggested that maybe one of the laborers covering the fridge found the lone egg and pocketed it quietly. Udit found some solid ground behind his argument and declared it aloud. Rohini, however, dismissed this disdainfully while claiming that all the maids and other workers in her city were always honest and hardworking.

 

The eggy commotion went on unabated. Only their little kid was oblivious to all that and was running around the house in ecstasy, dodging and jumping over the scattered packages. Udit finally thought enough was enough. He just went out without announcing, found a good restaurant nearby, ordered several food items in good quantities and waited.

 

He came into the house with the parcels in his hands. “Let’s eat now! The egg can wait!”, he sounded the welcome arrival. Rohini, although still in a rage, responded favorably; perhaps because hunger makes all humans compromise, most of the time. We all ate happily.

 

The cousins left in the afternoon, promising to check back soon and asking us to call them if any help was needed. We thanked them profusely, even though the ‘goddamned egg’ could still be lurking somewhere inside.

 

Rohini retired with the kid to the bed she made in the meantime for a brief nap. Udit got busy activating the cable and the television set.

 

To put it on record, the egg was never found.

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