There are eighteen types of people who shouldn`t be reading this article and one of them are: Those who get nightmares in which huge frogs with wet, spotted backs chase them down the street even as they slip on the road while running for safety. OK….enough of the disclaimer.
This article is about a frog that lived in my father in law`s house for three continuous days while we were visiting them for Vishu celebrations. He was my constant companion these three days. I meant the frog, not my father in law. This piece was written sitting in the verandah of my in-laws house. As of today, the house in question wears a desolate look, a stark reminder that it is people that make a home. My father in law passed away a few years back, and now my mother in law lives alone in this house.
My wife and I were travelling to Kerala for Vishu. We boarded a Jet Airways flight at Mumbai and reached Calicut. We then took a three hours drive to Kannur in an old Ambassador to reach my father in law`s house.
Before you proceed any further you should go through the map of my father in law`s house.
Notice, that the frog lived in one of the bathrooms. Also, notice that there is a forest zone in my father in law`s house which makes life all the more difficult for a son in law whose only interaction with nature was watching ‘natural` Brooke Shields in the Hollywood movie titled Blue Lagoon many times over.
It all began when we reached ‘Kedaram’, my father in law`s brilliantly named house. Kedaram is a raga in music (or so I am told).
Since I am suffering from what in medical parlance is also known as the King`s Urinary Bladder Syndrome (OK, I made that one up!)….I had to pee like a race horse when we reached home. After dumping my bags on the verandah, I rushed in. My mother in law was blocking the way, ‘Where are you going she asked?”
“If I were going for a cup of tea, would I be so hurried?” I asked.
“How about coffee?”
After 24 such questions, my mother in law guessed that I had to use the loo. That`s when she turned towards my father in law and asked him: “Do you want to tell him now?”
This triggered a pensive look on my father in law`s face. And when that expression didn`t break after three mins, I broke it for him: “Do you mind? I have been holding back diluted urea for the last three hours. What is it guys?”
At this my mother in law intervened and broke the news: “There is a frog in your favourite bathroom!”
“So?” I was indignant. “I can always take a broom and push the guy out. Or maybe pour some water and slip him out of the washroom.”
It was my father who gave me the bad news: “Rajan, we have tried that many times over in the last six months. This guy doesn`t go.”
“What are you saying? Where in the washroom is he?”
“He lives in the water closet.” My mother in law added.
Just in case you were wondering, ‘water closet’ is the white contraption inside your washroom, which is also referred to as the pot, pot seat, throne etc.
Ever since that fateful day when this frog dude flew in from the window and lodged himself (or herself – I am yet to see the frog`s gender) my in laws house I haven`t used my favourite washroom. Many attempts have been made to retrieve the lost land but to no gain. So much so, the territory occupied by the frog has been codenamed ‘Tiger Hills` so that it doesn`t understand my in law`s plans when they are discussed. Pity actually, for I found a major disconnect in the codename why name it after a hill, when the territory in question is a shallow spot?
For a casual reader, the answer to my predicament seems simple. “Use the other bathroom!” But the answer to this problem isn’t that simple. For the bathroom with the frog wasn’t always my favourite bathroom. It had become my favourite bathroom after a small snake had started living in the water closet of bathroom one.
Now you know why Kerala is God`s own country – because man and animal live as one.