We have a new Bhai tailing us. He’s tall, dark – and very handsome too, if only a princess obliged by kissing him as in the fable.
I spotted him circling my house on foot last evening as I was walking one of the cats on the terrace – yes, we do that for our cats, all six of them, turn by turn, every day.
Bhai was zeroing in on our house time and again because we had a coaster-full (that’s what a mini-bus is called in Pakistan) of people from a TV news channel sipping ginger tea with my husband, when I decided to beat Bhai at his game by keeping an eye on him too.
Soon enough I saw Bhai accosting one of the TV crew. The crew member was on the phone and Bhai couldn’t wait for him to finish. Bhai grabbed the crew member’s huge ID card, hanging around his neck like a school kid’s water bottle, and started talking. The crew member had to hang up.
Usually I wouldn’t waste time staring at Bhai-types, but this time I had no option. We’ve been without a maid for a few weeks now (yes, the pregnant one I wrote about has disappeared since) and the rumour mill has it that the Bhais have been shooing away all prospective candidates from our gate by telling them – “why do you want to work here”; roughly translated that should mean: “don’t you know they are Indians?”
So I stared hard at the Bhai; noticed his regular-fit denims, his colourless half-sweater and even his sandals (Bata, for sure). I stared because I had lined up a new maid with great difficulty and wanted to make sure that he didn’t scare her away too.
Bhai was in two minds. Sometimes he checked me out, perhaps wondering why I was checking him out; sometimes he did the next best thing – stare at my cat. My cat, of course, didn’t mind, because he’s cute and is quite used to being coochie-cooed by silly strangers.
A few minutes later the maid showed up with her husband and Bhai decided to check their NIC (National Identity Card). The husband obliged and was let in because, by then, I was at the gate ready to breathe down Bhai’s neck.
My hard work had obviously paid off. I was ecstatic. The maid moved in a few hours later; showed up for work this morning, promising to return at 5pm.
She was back half an hour before the promised time, to tell us she had packed and was leaving.