Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The rice issue

There may be people who are adept at murdering mosquitoes with a sledgehammer but as far as I know (correct me if I am wrong), the weapon of choice when embarking on the said mission is somewhat different. I had a nurse whose tactic for solving a particular issue was metaphorically equivalent to the action of a sledgehammer-wielding personage massacring the pesky blood-sucker.

Among the number of nurses who came after the long-serving nurse had left was one nurse who seemed to be inclined to stay for a while. She seemed OK with the work she had to do and we were satisfied with what she was doing. She was on the older side (around 50) so she couldn't supply the muscle power necessary for some activities but we were willing to live with that for the time being. The only catch was that she was not happy with the variety of rice we used.

She was used to the large-grained variety of rice that is widely used in Kerala. None of us like that variety so it is not purchased and what we buy is a more standard variety which is smaller grained. This was a problem that had never come up earlier. We don't know if the variety of rice she wanted is available in Coimbatore. She said that she will adjust to the variety of rice that we had and the issue did not come up again.

Some days later the nurse informed us in a  somber tone that she had just received a phone call informing of a bereavement in her family. She said she had to leave immediately to attend the funeral and that she will come back after a few days. Since it was night, she couldn't leave that day. Early next morning, Jaya dropped her at the bus stand and the nurse promised to call after reaching home regarding when she will be able to come back after all ceremonies.

She then called up the next day to tell us about the funeral and the ceremonies that had been scheduled. She said that it will take a couple of of weeks for her to return so we decided to ask her office for a reliever for that period. Her office got back to us after a few hours with startling information that the nurse had been lying all along! No one had died in her family and she had concocted such an elaborate story because she could not eat the variety of rice we had and wanted to leave.

If we were unable to procure the variety of rice she wanted and if she was unable to adjust with the type of rice we had, she could have said so and left. Why spin such a yarn to solve a simple issue? And why carry on the charade long after she had 'escaped' from here? It was bizarre.

PS: The title of this post is like the title of a Robert Ludlum novel. He wrote novels with titles like The Bourne Identity, The Scorpio Illusion, The Matarese Circle etc. From this talk by Christopher Hitchens, I came across an anecdote about Salman Rushdie. In a discussion which Rushdie was not paying much attention to, someone asked what the title of a Shakespeare play would be like if it was written by Ludlum. Rushdie immediately perked up and came up with titles like: Hamlet -The Elsinore Vacillation; Macbeth - The Dunsinane Deforestation; Othello - The Kerchief Implication.

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