The big day finally arrived. I’ve never been as excited in ages. Today would be the start of a completely stress free and a wonderful break. We deserved it, after working so hard the past year. With a spring in my step, I packed the last of my necessities and put the house in order. Next was getting all my jewellery in a box and heading to the bank locker. The last thing I wanted was to miss visiting the Bank Locker and stress about my precious stones and metals lying in the cupboard unguarded. I made a perplexing observation, my diamond mangalsutra and matching earrings were not in any of the usual hot spots I leave things at. I seldom wear it, but where could it go?
Irritated with my absent mindedness and worried about not making it to the bank on time, I decided to recheck all my secret stash spots in my cupboard. One more check turned up empty. Now is when I start to worry. Where did my mangalsutra go? Time to check with DH who is furiously typing away, sending out last minute emails like there is no tomorrow.
Me(Calling out to him): Sweet heart, did you see my diamond Mangalsutra lately?
Dh: What Mangalsutra?
Me(trying to not lose it): The diamond one that you got me for our anniversary years ago. The one I wear regularly to office on days I drape sarees.
Dh(I know this is a trick question, she is quizzing me): Ooh, that one! Sweetie, I happened to see you wearing in twenty minutes ago. Did you take it off and put it on the dresser?
Me(with a tad bit of annoyance creeping into my voice): No that is my solitaire. I’m talking about my Mangalsutra.
Dh: Look carefully, it should be in the locker.
Me: I checked thrice, it’s not there.
Dh: Oh yeah, now I remember. You did visit the bank locker after we got back from my place last month. I think you put it there.
Me(trying hard to remember): I can’t remember leaving it in the bank locker but I never leave it there. I always have it handy to wear.
Dh(walking into our room and glaring at the now wide open Godrej double door cupboard and locker): Are you sure you didn’t leave it in the Bank? Looks like you did an exhaustive search.
Me(trying hard to think): I’m not sure.
Dh(who knows my memory quite well by now trying to be supportive): Lets go to the bank. Anyway you needed to leave your jewellery in the Bank.
Me(to my ever faithful assistant): A, did you see my Mangalsutra around, the black bead one? Do you remember the last time I wore it?
Assistant: Yes Akka, the day you went out with your parents when they were here. You took it off and put it in your cupboard.
Me: Are you sure?
Assistant: Yes , Akka. I selected your bangles myself. You came back took off your jewellery and put it in your cupboard as usual.
Dh(After glancing at the contents of the now ransacked locker): Lets go, it’s not here.
Me(grabbing the rest of the jewellery in a rush, mumbling an instruction to my assistant to handle DD while I went out quickly and rushing out the door): I hope it is there.
Dh(who has gauged my stress levels by now): Calm down. We’ll find it.
At the bank
Me: Sir, I need to operate my locker.
Manager: Ma’am we are closed. We’ve been closed for an hour. Please come back tomorrow.
Me: Sir, it is an emergency. I have to check something. I’m flying out for a couple of weeks and would be really obliged if you let me ensure that MY belongings are in order.
Manager(Acting like he owns MY locker): Ma’am, everyone has a locker emergency. Come back when we have our locker timings.
Me: Why are bank timings different from locker timings? I don’t get it.
Manager(losing interest): Please come back tomorrow. That’s our rule.
I walk out trying in vain to control my anger, frustration and my overactive tear glands. All I needed was to see DH waiting in the car to burst out and wallow in self pity.
Me: I hate this bank. Who operates a bank from 9.30 – 2.30? I’m pulling out my money and my locker. I’m going to an MNC bank. No more wholly Indian banks for me.
Dh(with the I told you so look): Come on, cheer up. We are going for our vacation. Is this chain of yours that important? How much can it cost? Is it more important than us? We are celebrating a milestone here, let’s concentrate on that. Remember you wanted to de-stress!
Me(Crying harder): OMG, I can’t believe I lost my mangalsutra. How can you even try to put a price to something so precious?
My not so dear anymore H(with a quizzical look): I thought we didn’t give undue importance to such things. What’s in a Mangalsutra?
Me(Totally ignoring DH and calling my sis): Did you borrow my Mangalsutra since we got back?
Sis: No, but I remember seeing it. Remember you wore it when Amma and Dad were around.
Me(handing over my mobile to DH and crying my eyes out): OMG, she does not have it either.
Dh(talking to sis, driving and trying to control my sobs, all with an air of total calm): The story is your sister’s CHAIN is missing and she is going bonkers.
Sis gets out of her all important meeting to rush to my place. En route, she calls me on my mobile. I’m back home by now and totally inconsolable.
Sis(really concerned now): Hey, I’m on my way. Will be there in 10 mins. Btw, do you remember putting the blue jewel box in the bank locker? That’s where I saw you putting it the last time you took it off.
Me(even more desperately): No, the box is right here but my stuff isn’t in it. God, I lost my mangalyam. This should spell impending doom. What will I do? I’ll have to cancel flights, rebook for tomorrow and go to the bank.
Sis: Look once more in your locker.
Me(half heartedly): Alright, but I looked there thrice. It’s not there.
And then a eureka moment!!!
Me(shouting in relief): I found it! I found the mangalsutra and earrings in my locker. It’s not in a box or in the special bowl Amma gave me. It’s just placed in the locker. It somehow got under our passports.
Sis: Wonderful. I’m parking downstairs. I’m famished, do you have lunch?
Me(mumbling): Who eats lunch at 4.00 PM?
Dh(coming into the room): Show me the chain.
Then, eyeing it, he sighs. “Oh this one”, he proclaims, like I have a thousand other Mangalsutras.
“I didn’t know you were looking for this! I saw it this morning as I took out our passports and put them in an accessible location in the locker”.
Me(in utter disbelief,plonking on the bed): I have a terrible headache. I don’t remember crying like this since I was a teenager. I can’t believe this happened on my special day.
Me(in my head): I have a husband who does not know what a mangalsutra is! I’m too tired to even sermonize now. Maybe some other time!
Sis(walking in): Gosh, you look terrible. Get some sleep. You look like you were hit by a tornado.
Of course, I couldn’t sleep. I could not get the ordeal out of my head until I boarded the flight and downed a glass of the great French wine they served on board that night.