There is a certain virus in the air. It has taken India by storm. No, it is not a consequence of nature's fury in the form of incessant rains or cyclones. It is not due to the smog that starts afflicting our over-populated polluted cities at the doorstep of winter. It is a virus that hits our country with regular and deadly precision every year for a fortnight or two ahead of one of the biggest festivals we celebrate -- Diwali. No, I'm not talking about shopping or firecrackers either.
So potent is this virus that all women are left delirious in its wake. Even normally lazy people who coexist happily with clutter and dirt like yours truly. Yes, this is called the "safai virus"! It strikes all homemakers, even the Indian diaspora on foreign shores. Weekdays and weekends are spent doing backbreaking work -- scrubbing, cleaning, washing and drying with a frenzy unmatched.
"The dog goes and hides lest his services be sought as well."
Every year around Diwali, our homes undergo intensive cleaning sessions. Mind you, the cleaning is not of the kind where everything is stuffed out of sight to make things look neat. This is my number one strategy all year long, by the way. When this virus strikes, these same overflowing drawers, shelves and wardrobes are emptied. You may even end up discovering long-lost treasures while you are at it. The virus depresses you. Everything seems either dirty or super-dirty! You can't believe you were living in this squalor! The more you clean the more dirt you uncover. This seems like such a monumental task that you are constantly yo-yoing between hope and utter despair. Then this contagious virus spreads to the other members of the family either naturally or forcefully.
So, the hubby is engaged in scrubbing bathrooms and fans while the wife takes over the kitchen cabinets, shelves and wardrobes. Kids help in vacuuming the windows; even the younger one is kept busy wiping the grills. The dog goes and hides lest his services be sought as well. Yes, the maid helps too, but this kind of cleaning is best done personally. The menu on these days ranges between khichdi with dahi and chutney and khichdi with raita and papad! If anyone in the family so much as murmurs about the monotony of the menu, the mother hen breathes fire and threatens with lethal consequences. Slowly, as the cloths get grimier, the house emerges shinier (only in the eyes of the folks inhabiting the space). Strangely, others don't even notice your extraordinary effort.
Diwali is just a week away, and I am counting days till the virus loses its grip. Yes, this virus afflicts you with aches of all kinds and possesses you to clean everything in your vicinity. Excuse me, but I must finish my other work because I have to get back to my cleaning.
Do you suffer from Diwali cleaning madness as well?
This post has been previously published on Rachna says.