Since our maid can no longer offer her essential services due to the lockdown situation, I got pulled in by my parents to help with the household chores. The magnanimous way in which the chores are split bring tears to my eyes. The toughest jobs are taken up by my parents and the easier ones are assigned to me.

The tough task of turning on the washing machine switch is taken up by my parents and the easy task of taking the clothes to the terrace and spreading them out to dry is given to me.

The complicated task of arriving at a weekly sweep and mop schedule are taken up by my parents and the simple task of actually sweeping and mopping are given to me.

Even when I offer to cook a whole meal, they don’t agree at all and want to share the burden equally at the least. The low effort task of peeling the skin of baby potatoes are given to me and the high effort task of letting the potato fry by itself in a hot pan is taken up by them.

I am fondly made to reminisce our days in Chennai, when the whole of the cooking task was taken up by them, back when I was a kid. I clearly remember that the baby potatoes were fried without peeling their skin. I was also given an explanation that all the nutrition lies in their skin. How fast the nutritional value changes when someone else does all the peeling.

Something that I recently realized was that my parents are actually more addicted to their phones than my school-going cousin. They are constantly on whatsapp, their primary content being either Perumal or Modi, and at times a few jokes that were retired by the jokes themselves in 1838. I was once scorned at, for not listening to their whatsapp joke with interest and reading some stupid Wodehouse and shit.

With their vigorous use of whatsapp one would assume that they have arrived at the digital age, but when it comes to making calls, they are still in the trunk dialing era. Even Sirkazhi Govindarajan would have been put to shame by their booming voices. I have been meaning to show them the guys/girls in our Chennai bus stands where even professional lip readers will find it hard to understand what they are speaking. The trick, they say, is to bite the microphone and vibrate it subtly to produce the necessary instructions for the microphone sensors.

After a point I realise that I am getting irritated for no reason and that I am being juvenile. I collect my calm, put on my headphones and play some music to cancel out the external noise, and it wouldn’t be 5 mins before they make me remove my headphone to ask the million dollar question.

“Enna da, Paatu Kekriya?”

“Illa, Paniyaram sudren.”