Emperor’s chicken is a pretty time-consuming dish to prepare, but it’s a special evening and I’ve decided to prepare it for dinner. For the next two weeks, I’d be without a maid!
While that is certainly no cause for celebration, there is no reason to avoid a good, satisfying meal, is there? Well, we actually had a little problem at the airport earlier. When it was time to send my maid to the airport, she brought out enough bags to fill the boot of the taxi.
I asked her if she was aware of the weight limit. And she was on a budget airline to boot. Her confidence was a bit worrying. Was the hazy sky been blurring things up for me? Had my vision or my powers of estimation weakened so much after turning 50?
We arrived at the airport. She went to the check in counter and moments later, came back, pushing a full luggage trolley. I was somewheat relieved that my judgement had not deteriorated that much. She had overshot the weight limit by 9kg and was at a loss. I told her to give up one bag and let me take it back for her. She gave me one of her bags. I lifted it and told her that it felt less than 9kg. She trusted her own instincts and went back to the check in counter. She was still 4kg in excess. She then went on to remove more items – noodles.
Noodles? Did she know how many packets of noodles she would need to remove to minus 4kg? Did she have so many packets of noodles? After nearly an hour of addition and subtraction, she decided to pay for the excess baggage. Expensive lesson. Well, at least it was my maid and not someone whose injured pride could erupt violently even if I had kept quiet and showed no sign of the “I told you so” look on my face.
On the way home, the sky turned orange and the odour of Indonesia kretek filled the air. Yes, it’s the Great Singapore Haze again, hitting a PSI of 71 for the first time this year. Experts have warned that it’s going to get worse towards the latter part of the month. I’m not sure if I can escape it, but in a weeks’ time, we will be leaving for Nepal. As I discussed the plans with my elder son – the only one I intended to bring and the only one actually showing interest, I realised that my maid was not the only one with excess baggage. If I have a choice, I wouldn’t bring potential mutineers on my trips. No matter how good my judgement is or how experienced I am in the Himalayas, I foresee insurmountable problems unless the excess baggage lightens up.