One of the few people I find a little difficult to get on with is Mrs. Rajani, the well known do gooder who is our neighbour (Well, not exactly our neighbour she stays four or five buildings away, but in the same street.)
So, the other day, when she rang the bell in her usual premptory manner I told the wife: "Don't let her in. Once she comes in she will start lecturing as if we are some taxi drivers or gas wallans.
The wife said: "That is not being good neighbourly. Besides, if she does lecture you, it is for you own good."
Mrs. Rajani entered, looking as she normally does blank. She stared at me then looked around the house then asked: "Which soap do you use to wash your clothes?"
I shrugged my shoulders, tried to look as if had not heard the question then said: "I don't really know. Whatever soap is in the house we gibe to the servant to wash the clothes."
"How much tankha do you give the servant?" she asked looking in the bathroom if one of her well dressed servants was there. "People like you have no consideration for their servants, who often are the only earning members of the family and have to support their drunken husbands. In any case you have not answered my question what soap do you use to wash clothes"
I put on the radio loud so that I could pretend I did not hear the question.
"Don't play the radio so loud. My child is not well and has been advised complete rest. Other children in the street have their exams and have to study," she said.
So I put the volume down, not wanting to get involved in a police case (it is my police in life never to get involved in a police case).
Mrs. Rajani looked around the house observed that we had got a new gas cylinder asked "How much extra did you pay for the cylinder. It is people like you who corrupt the gas wallas." Then remembering what she had come there for once again inquired. "Which soap are you using for your clothes? They don't look very white to me. Always remember though they may not be my lines there is a lot of difference between cheap things and good things."
Then after checking the telephone to see if it was working and looking at me suspiciously as if wondering how much I was paying the deputy general manager to keep it working she asked: "Which soap are you using to wash clothes? If you don't know I will tell you Always use Tata's 501 Bar Soap.