This is a tale that happened a long time ago; so long ago that everyone involved has conveniently pulled the chain on that particular branch of memory, choosing to bury that unforgettable day behind a haze of more pleasant, more colorful and even more mundane memories. But like they say how murder will out, this is not a memory that could so easily be repressed. You really cannot hold in certain things. Once in a while, it catches people unawares, and like a scandalous relative you pretend doesn’t exist, but drops in at the most inconvenient times, this memory too turns up right in the middle of some of the most pleasant conversations at get-togethers. Everyone involuntarily goes down that rather mucky memory lane, grinning sheepishly at each other and taking extreme care not to point fingers – at those present and those present in spirit. But as for the incident, as gatherings go, it was indeed an unstoppable.. err.. I mean an unforgettable one!
It all began at a farewell party to some friends who were moving out of state. It was quite an enjoyable event with fun and games, lots of conversation and sentimental speeches that are the trademark of such parties and of course, excellent food. As was the tradition, it was a potluck lunch with every guest bringing in a dish. And as usual, each one outdid the other in cooking up some scrumptious fare.
After all the speeches were done, pleasantries exchanged and the last bit of garbage thrown into the trash can, everyone left loaded with the delectable leftovers that were in plenty. “ Ah good… looks like I don’t have to cook for at least a couple of days. The kids can pack this for lunch tomorrow and my husband won’t complain either,” gloated one, as another remarked gleefully, “I can survive on this for a week! What with my husband away, all the cooking I need to do next week involves pushing the buttons on my microwave!” Unmistakable signs of a successful party and all was well that ended well, or so everyone thought… until the rumblings began.
The first warning bells began ringing at around 10 pm. Slow grumbles and suspicious glances started in several homes. Quite a few had gone to bed early and they had to get up to answer calls – calls of the natural kind, that is. Soon, the proverbial something hit the fan. Almost…
Pity the ones that had to answer those calls en route to wherever they were heading. One person was flying back home and he had to leave his seat several times. That’s one way of joining the exclusive ‘Mile High Club’, if you ask me. Apparently the airhostess had to haul him out of the in-flight bath-cubicle to be seated and belted for the landing. Being seated on the ‘throne’ simply does not count.
Another was driving back and had to make several ‘pit stops’ all through the three-hour drive. There was not a single bathroom along the highway where he did not mark attendance. His routine went thus: Look out for next bathroom- rush to park – mad race to the bathroom- do his business- heave a sigh of relief- get back on the highway –look for the next bathroom… He had it on an endless loop.
Someone had to rush back from the wholesale store where she had gone to stack up on… what else but toilet paper? Luckily, she made it back home on time, bundles of toilet paper and all.
Regardless of the hour, phone lines were busy in the wee hours of Monday… “Are you ok? Anything wrong with anyone there?” People asked each other in hushed voices. “Oh, ivide chettan bathroomilaayirunnu innale urakkam… avideyo?”
Two kids had to report in tardy to school on Monday morning. Not the kids’ fault, mind you. Come on, at least one of the parents had to get out of the bathroom to drive them to school.
And someone had to make an emergency call at the neighbor’s since all the bathrooms in his house were occupied. Well, you gotta go when you gotta go. It is not only Time and Tide that wait for no man.