There is a peculiar thing about glitters that I have never liked; they used to fall off from my craft work very often, giving me a handful of reasons to feel embarrassed. As for the other students, they used to derive sardonic pleasure out of this sight and the teacher used to go mad at me. Chumki (glitter) is a human version of that decorative item who used to give me a similar kind of feeling, that too in the days of my adulthood. Chumki Dutta has been my landlady for four years and there hasn’t been a single occasion on which she has “glittered”(demonstrated any activity to make her look like a bright individual). Contrarily, I’ve always seen her dealing with murky affairs.
In the initial days of my stay, I used to find her friendly, but that notion of mine perished sooner than my drunken thoughts; all that I could see was a humongous balloon, who, I felt, had a chip on her shoulder for being married to Gautam; this seemed pretty evident from the way she used to chide him every morning. Well, Gautam is that adhesive who claims to hold Chumki in place but this adhesive is too weak and short to cope with the growing demands and tantrums of Mrs Dutta.
I used to pity her children for being born into that family but after observing them from close quarters, I had no option other than blindly believing in Nature’s sense of fairness. Her daughter used to get involved into love triangles at an age when she was supposed to be solving problems on triangles and one could clearly see her son letting out his urine from the narrow slits of the fence guarding their verandah. Surely, his intention was not to calculate the horizontal range of this projectile.
Chumki believed that she looked like a princess in golden ornaments and she had every reason to believe so, for she had a few admirers who made her feel special on occasions like Holi. Don’t ask me about their ways, I’m afraid I might die out of extreme laughter and shame. She seemed to know of everything happening around her; news ranged from lovers getting at each other’s throats on the streets to shady murder cases. I could not help myself from gazing at her with amazement; I’m sure that the other tenants will echo my words.
The day when we were evacuating our rooms, we saw her shedding tears and we cried too but I knew that those tears were coming out for two reasons: one, out of a sense of grief that she would have to find new tenants and the other one, out of a sense of happiness that we were leaving. Sometimes, I really think that the society should produce more of these glitters to bring wry smiles on our faces whenever we are at a dearth of topics to explore. It is true that Chumki left no stone unturned to humiliate her tenants but reminiscences of our days spent at her place will drown us into fits of laughter off and on, I can vouch for this.