Folks were visiting the new nest. I was cleaning to ensure that the humble abode impressed them favorably.
That is to say, I was scrubbing beneath sinks, and behind blenders as though they were health inspectors who walked in with those examination pads in their hands, wearing steel rimmed glasses, censorious expressions, and a tough grading point scale for house inspections. Of course, like most people who visit the home, they were perfectly warm folks who cared more about the smiles on our faces as we greeted them, than the scrub factor in the sink. But.
The inspector general in me commanded everyone in the home to smarten up too.
“Put away all those books, crayons, papers and toys – your floor should be clean.” I said looking into ‘Imagination Island’ the name the son has given his room. He gave a compliant nod gallantly suppressing a scowl. He knew this mother. She would flop back into the loving one in a few minutes once she felt the warm companionship of the folks visiting the home. But till then, it was better playing along.
The daughter, competent and nonchalant as always, set off on a brisk walk saying, “I’ll run a vacuum over the place when I come back – don’t worry!” Her back registering duty deferred, her ears twitching to music, and an almost imperceptible nod to her little brother that she understood just how he felt when the cleaning-amma-before-guests-arrive made an appearance.
I looked in to see how the husband was faring. He stopped what he was doing and said using his rare tone of exasperation, “You really need to get a hold on this mess here! Should I get you a bookshelf?”
I nodded – looking sheepish, guilty, and every bit a hypocrite after my instructions to the children to put away their books and toys. My bedside was a Mess. The number of books tumbling over each other were appalling. There were children’s books, non-fiction books, fiction books, and comic books, all jostling amiably together, and trying to keep on the make shift shelf (We had not yet furnished this space).
Some of the books were on piles on the floor – all in all an admirable spot to pick one up and start reading, but I resisted strongly. The clock was ticking, the payasam was boiling, the heater whirring working steadily to raise the temperature to that sweet spot of comfort, the rasam simmering, the fruit ripening. It would not do to read just then.
Tsundoku looked like a cute Japanese word evoking warm feelings of people with their list of unread books, chipping away one book at a time. Gluggavedur – that beautiful word that invites one to sit cozily inside and read while the weather outside is colder than it seems from inside the house. I am sure I picked one up and put it away with enormous willpower.
But these books were past all these sweet words. This suggested a problem. Order was in order.
Wish this librocubilarist (one who enjoys reading in bed) luck. The more I read about words like librocubicularist and lectiophile (one who loves reading), the more I am grateful for the reading habit. The ability to dip into a different dimension, learn something new, and roll beautiful ideas around in the head before sleep is precious. No matter how humdrum the days, how mired in the human aspect of living we are; a good sip of ideas before bed can uplift the spirits before blessed sleep claims our consciousness. By virtue of being in a better spot, aren’t our dreams that much sweeter? I suppose they are.
Amidst the chaos of earning a living, and living the life one has earned, sundry to-do lists get longer and longer. The bedside still needs managing.
Imagine my surprise then, when a friend stopped by on Christmas Day with a gift for the home. One she said reminded her of me. An antique piece of furniture – a desk that could hold my piles of reading material, and shaped like an encyclopedia.
I plan to wear the pajamas that another kind friend had gifted me for my birthday saying: “My week-end is all booked up”, and get my bedside in order.
My dear indulgent friends and family spoil me so, and I am grateful for it.
Next up: 2021 Reading List