My maid then comes in crying. Oh. Her grandmother has passed away. She says she has to go back to the village, and may be gone for a month. I have to bite back questions about why it would take that long. The family is grieving. And so am I, but for a slightly different reason. I now have no nanny, and a LOT of work to do.
After some confusion about whether to book plane tickets or rail tickets for the family, it is decided they will try their luck with the trains. I walk towards the nearest ATM to withdraw money for her, wondering all the while how I'm going to manage over the next few weeks. It's an SBI ATM, but it's not blinking that bright blue warm welcome at me. It's stone cold dead. Great.
I have to walk further along, enjoying the fumes of the traffic that mills about me, and finally reach an HDFC ATM. I withdraw the cash, trying to cheer myself up somehow. So what if I've not yet got any work done because of all the crying and the plane booking discussions and the fact that the Tata Sky guy landed up and messed up my internet connection while installing a new Set Top Box and all that jazz. I still have another hour or so before the kids come home. And after that? Well, we'll just see, won't we?
I wait patiently for my card. And wait some more. And then some more. This can't be happening. The screen has frozen with the message 'Please collect your cash.' Aha. It seems that the ATM has eaten my debit card. Hallelujah.
I somehow summon help and the fellow tries to reassure me that the ATM-cash-stuffing-man will be along soon and I should go home and wait. He takes my phone number and says he'll call me when the card is out so that I can walk all the way back to collect it. I look at his face, and it is kind. I give a hysterical sort of laugh and walk away, facing the fumes of the traffic all the way.
On the way back, I now notice that the closer ATM, the SBI one, is blinking a warm friendly blue welcome at me. It appears to be in perfect working order now. I laugh again, shaking my head, the hysteria causing a few passers-by to gaze at me wonderingly.
I would love to have a nap now and sleep the rest of this day through. But I'm expecting a call regarding my ATM card anytime now.