We had just moved to Coimbatore (a city bustling at the foothills of the Nilgiris), and within a few days had several offers from prospective maids. We recruited the one who was amongst the first few to approach us, and had a strong recommendation from our neighbour. She was a sturdy lady in her sixties, and weilded a broom like a brickbat. She was a lady of few words, and generally nodded her way through the home. If she had to sweep, she would, whether or not you were in the wake of the broom’s sweep. If you were prudent and nimble, you would jump away from its wake.
Usually, we were up about the time she came, and so were in possession of our mental faculties to escape the broom. One day, my brother, after a late night movie was sprawled out in front of the TV on a straw mat, and was asleep when she arrived. She had decided to give herself an oil massage before coming, and stepped into the home beaming like Durga Devi. She was dark complexioned, her eyes were red (probably with the heat and fury of her oil massage). With the shining oil, all she had to do was stick out her tongue, which incidentally was extremely red thanks to the betel leaves that she relished, and she was all set to attract the most ardent devotees!
My hapless brother was probably smiling in his dreams when he stirred at the sound of the broom swishing around him, and to date I can visualise his extremely adroit move that was pretty much how salmons travel upstream. He leaped from his supine position on the floor to the sofa in one graceful move and his eyes didn’t blink for an entire minute.
PS: Don’t ask me why I came up with this post, I was reading about the migrating patterns of salmons, and this incident came to my mind!