It was a regular, maddening day at work. People were calling out information over my cubicle, the boss was calling us in for a meeting. The copy intern was making gestures about something I couldn't figure out. I was talking simultaneously on my cell and on a chat window with a PR person and my colleague in Mumbai. Then my office direct line rings.
"Hello, is this A?" said a middle-aged female voice.
"Hello ji, this is B, mother of P," she said in Punjabi English.
"Yes?" I said, uncomprehendingly.
"I just called to say that we are giving Comet a bath tomorrow."
I'm stumped. "Giving Comet a bath?"
"Yes, actually I didn't have your home number and your daughter Isha told me to inform you when we'd next give our dog his bath. She wanted to be there. So it's tomorrow."
Realisation dawned. To bite my laughter down, I said, "Oh yes, yes, I'll tell her. Her school has just reopened today so she isn't home right now."
"Oh? School has started? We can wash him on Saturday if she prefers that."
The guffaw that burst out of my mouth was completely involuntary. "No, tomorrow is just fine." I kept the phone, smiling at the receiver.
This is a neighbour I've only met once. They're a middle-aged couple who were quite surprised when a bold, trusting little 9-year-old just went walking their dog one day and came back home with him, and then repeated the activity every day. Isha is now a part of their daily routine, it looks like. She has a happening life.
I go back to my press releases, and calls waiting to be made, and mails to be answered, and shoots to be coordinated, and product information to be researched. But the sunshine this little call creates in my mind, and the bubbles of laughter it creates in my heart, stay well till dusk.
Comet's bath has cleansed me completely.