Monday, December 03, 2007

Three Generations of Cleanliness

I hate to admit it but it is true. I am a control freak.
I feel a bit relieved when I look back and find out that it is genetic. My mom and her mom are control freaks too!
There is a remarkable difference in the kinds of control freaks we are though. :)

I am a self-obsessed, compulsive cleanliness freak. I do not care who makes the mess, I clean it.
Even if I have had a long day at work, when I come home my feet direct me to my running shoes. I walk to the riverside telling myself that I would not exert but when I start jogging, my legs refuse to obey my mind. I end up doing a bit more than I did the last time and the happiness I feel at the end of it defies the trials I have been through throughout the day.
I do not try to scare people by being the way I am, but sometimes they do get scared. =|
Earlier, I used to daydream about inspiring people. I used to imagine my friends watching me run and eat healthy food and then trying to emulate me. I used to think that maybe a few years down the line, I would have inspired a couple of hundred people and have a fan club on my own name but it doesn't happen that way.
I am what can be called a "Blissful Control Freak". Who is in her own world and happy about it although it would have been better with the fan following. :D

Aai is a control freak too but she is perpetually wounded by the disparity between her world and the real world. She goes through pangs of heartbreak every time she sees my dad's clothes lying around the bed with no definite destination. It kills her soul to see people living in disorganized offices and bedrooms with no sign of claustrophobia. When she cleans a glass table, she probably thinks of all the people who would NOT have cleaned it the way she did.
She has procedures for storing vegetables in the fridge and she insists that the maid follows her Standard Operating Procedure exactly like she does. She is like a very famous painter who is ahead of his times and is constantly hurt by the boorishness of the world around him. She goes into a bout of self-pity when she finds closet doors left ajar by people who get dressed in a hurry. Her heart goes out to the non-stick frying pan that was scratched by the callous maid and then she wishes she could stay at home and clean all the non-stick pans herself. She will feel sorry about my dad being duped into buying rotten tomatoes for a week till she goes and teaches him how to "buy good tomatoes" the next time. She is a "Disillusioned Control Freak" who could do with some increase in the levels of perfection around her. :)

My Aaji is one of her kind. I would eventually want to turn into her.
She is a detached dictator. If you throw your clothes on her bed and run out into the balcony for some hot gossip, you will find them folded and sitting nicely in your rack beaming at you when you come back. If you refuse to eat something, she keeps talking about the outstanding qualities of the food that you are evidently "missing out on". If you don't budge even then, she will go on to tell you about all the combinations you can have it with. She will keep talking without anger, urgency or even love. She will just elucidate all the important things about the dish and list her past experiences with an impassive expression on her face. Somehow, after a while you find yourself digging into what she wants you to eat. She looks detached and calm but she gets everything done from others more efficiently than anyone I have ever seen. If she wants me to read a book, she will talk about the author for such a long time that it is easier to finish reading it and tell her that I liked it than listen to her self-less sermons.
It is really difficult to find a crease on her linen and no one except her cat is allowed to mess with it. She does not get mad at you if you sit on her bed and leave it unmade. She will make it right in front of your eyes. She will remove the linen and put it back stretching her eighty-four year old body like a sixteen-year old till you are forced to get up and make it for her. She never needs to iron her Saris because she folds them so well that they never get a crinkle on them.
When we visit her with our knapsacks and airbags, she is always waiting impalpably in the background to clear any mess with her saint-like alacrity.
She is a "Yogi Control Freak"

I have made some very important observations in my defense. When you are a self-obsessed, narcissistic control freak you lead a better life because
1. Your happiness depends upon really small things like trying out a new brand of dish-washing liquid that has a better fragrance than the one you already have. You don't need symphonies to entertain you..even the squeaky clean bathroom floor is enough to make you feel peaceful.
2. You don't feel bad about other people's success because you have already ruled out competing with them and most of the times you don't realize that they are getting ahead of you because you are too busy competing with yourself. :)
3. Since you spend so much time being self-critical even a hint of a praise from important people turns you into a butterfly.
4. Your friends like to hang out in your room. ( Only as long as you don't fuss around like my mom)
5. When every minute of every day is used to shine,clean,organize and rewrite something you end up making a busy present and a busy past and you hardly have time to worry about the future.

I guess I speak for all the Monicas out there. :)
I really cannot deny that I love being one. ;)


शिरीष said...

Hi "Control freak"!
Out of the three generations narrated by you the Middle generation is obviously miserable!

This type of freaks are always unhappy as they are bound to see people not subscribing to their"SOPs" all around.I always sympathies with them.They dont understand that it is not in their hands how other's would behave/react.

Aajji type freaks make you ashmed and they many a times are responsible to improve unorganized people effectively.

Good description.It showed me lots of flashbacks! Thank you!

Raj said...

:) reminds me of Amir Khan in DCH, "Perfection ko improve karana mushkil hota hai"

Saee said...

@ baba
Thanks..:) Yeah..I should have written more about aai's stories.
:) Yes..But we chase something or the other anyway..perfection is a better goal..keeps you busy!

Ameya said...

Although I enjoyed readin ur blog,I happen to have (as u already kno) conflicting opinions abt all this... :P
I think leavin tables unclean,clothes unfolded,doors ajar,books open,purses stacked on a chair(which go on the bed when u want to use the chair and vice versa) saves on a lot of time and energy that u could spend on things like eating,sleepin,readin a book,gossiping with a friend,talkin on phone,watchin tv... or simply... watchin the rain with a cup of steamin hot coffee... :)
And I'm sure kaka and Neha would agree with me :D

Ameya said...

Actually... I have so much more to say on this blog....

But well... it'll turn into a looong comment!! :P So let it be!! :P

Saee said...

@ ameya..
yeah I know you have a whole new other side of the coin.
How about some

Alien said...

I prefer the world of 'order in chaos'... believe me even entropy and the universe are on my side...

wrote a post on that a couple of years ago!!

Saee said...

@ Alien
=) I guess the "fear of chaos" is the driving factor for people like me. :D
Yeah..and I know what you mean about entropy!! Even though I scraped through my thermodynamics papers. :D