Tara had come home in a hurry as she had to appear for passport verification. She hardly took three pairs of dress, her sandals, and laptop for her four-day long holiday. On the last day of her holidays, she playfully tried on a metal bangle for five seconds. She was very sensitive and allergic to almost all metals, except gold, which she did not like. After five minutes of trying on the ornament, her left wrist started to itch. Then it grew into an irritation, which she scratched to her heart’s content. The satisfaction of scratching the sore area was too much. Though she tried to ignore the sensations on the skin, it soon became red and hypersensitive.
By the time she reached the doctor, her wrist looked like her upper arms, swollen and thick. Her whole arm resembled a sausage with a knot in the middle, which was her elbow. Tara was taken to a nearby clinic, given an injection and brought back home. She did not even dare to imagine what will happen if the injection spot also reacted. She did not have to imagine for too long as even that began to itch slightly, then aggressively.
Tara cursed and screamed and kicked who ever tried to hold her down. Now both her hands were swollen and ugly. Remember how Popeye’s hands used to swell up with a bit of spinach from that tin? Well, it looked something like that, minus the super power. All she wanted was to scratch the sore spot on her hands. It hurt and irritated like hell. She wanted to scratch and scratch and peel away that skin.
After nearly two hours, the skin on her hands seemed to calm down a bit. Tara had cried an ocean and cursed like a sailor, before restoring control over herself. Damn. She wanted to sleep. But she did not trust herself not to scratch her arms in sleep, unconsciously. So she asked her sister, Chanda to tie her hands together. Chanda was apprehensive but she obliged out of sympathy for her sister. That was some real desperation, man!
With her hands now safely tied away, Tara went to the guest room to take a nap. She already called her HR and extended the leaves by two days because the swelling wouldn’t go away so soon and she didn’t want to take any risks. This allergy means she cannot have shell-fish for another three months, she’ll have to continue that homeopathic medicine, that means no coffee, that means, she was going to be frustrated in the office. This again meant that she was going to be cranky with her friends, room mates and team members for the next few weeks.
Tara slowly sat on the edge of the bed. Thinking of the sad plight awaiting her, this new year, she slumped back heavily on the bed.
The crack sound of the bed was lost in Tara’s scream as she fell in a heap in the middle of where the bed stood. Everyone within one mile radius of the house woukd have heard that scream. She could not get up as both her hands were tied. Lying down on the floor with her legs kicking in the air, Tara tried to roll off the bed. She succeeded in the feat, only to roll over and hit her head on the sewing machine stand. That was another swelling on her forehead.
Tara was running out of cuss words today. By the time Chanda came and rescued her, her head was throbbing. As her mother was rushing to her aid with hot water in a tumbler and a sponge for her aching back, their cat, lovingly called as Sher (hindi for lion), jumped in-between them, wanting a share of all the excitement. The hot water came tumbling down on Tara’s legs. There was never so much of ooohhs and aahhhs as today in that house. The terrified cat ran to the top of the shelf and hid behind the old newspaper stack.
Now Tara had two dried up sausage-like hands, a hurting ass, a possibly dislocated spine and a half-boiled leg. And yes, of course, a temper threatening to burst like a volcano. Finally when she sat there in the veranda, afraid even to walk or talk to anyone, for the fear of attracting anymore chaos, the day was gone and night was fast claiming the sky.
But then came the biggest terror of all. Mosquitoes. Racing towards her swollen juicy hands and exposed legs and humming in her ears… Could the day get anymore worse?
Tara ran inside and closed the door. Little did she know that her next step would be into a bucket of water. Their maid was cleaning the acquarium.