Mumbai, 5 June, 2020. 6.28 pm

It was only a while ago that, if I had happened to notice the dirt on the wings of the fans, I would have muttered under my breath, “I always have to tell them to do everything. They will never do it on their own.” For several minutes, I would have fumed, my eyes darting again and again towards the fan, even while I distracted myself on my laptop. 

The next morning, I would wake up, and the first thing I would notice would be the fan again, with a little bit of distaste. I would remember having tossed and turned a few times the previous night, “I must remember to tell her to clean the fans tomorrow.”

As soon as I opened the door to the maid, I would have said, abruptly, briskly, “Lalita, please clean the fans today. They’ve become so dirty.” 

She would have said, “Yes, I was going to do it one of these days. I saw they were dirty.” 

“Well, do them today, then,” I would have said. “It looks so bad. If anyone comes home and sees that, what will they think?” Lalita would still be putting down her bag, and drinking that glass of water she needed before she began work. 

I would go back to my room and my laptop muttering to myself, “They never do anything unless they are told.” 

Today, when I noticed the dirt on the wings of the fans, I looked again, and once again, then turned back abruptly to my laptop, muttering to myself, “I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ve done quite enough for the day.”