I'm aware that scientists are being lauded for their spectacular achievement in isolating God's Particle, the Philae lander made a soft landing on a comet for the first time in history and soon if the behemoth, Amazon, has its way, miniature drones may as well be delivering us books, phones, and a mind-boggling variety of items at our doorsteps.
Amid news of so many exciting goings-on in the world, winter presents me with the seemingly simple, albeit extremely challenging, problem of single-handedly putting a cover on my king-sized duvet, a task maddening and exasperating enough to maybe require the attention of some mighty brain to discover an easy solution. I know sceptics among you are already wondering if I am not exaggerating a regular and mundane chore, but pray, stay with me a moment.
I usually approach the job on a day I wake up in a cheery and happy mood. I pick one of my favorite satin covers. The sunny yellow with sprigs of ivory and ox blood flowers scattered all over. It has lace and delicate ribbon trimmings and just looking at it reminds me of sunny days and spring.
The white comforter lies innocuously on the bed. I pick the corners of the quilt and insert them into the cover. While I hold the two ends, the third slips from my fingers. I search for the elusive corner but end up tangling both the quilt and the cover. Determined, I start all over again. This time I have to burrow my head into the cover to search once again for the buttons and strings that will eventually hold everything together. It is easier said than done because the recalcitrant quilt will twist and turn as if it has a life of its own.
With gritted teeth and narrowed eyes, I jump onto the bed and crawl all over, in an effort to match the correct ends but it bunches up in the centre and try as I may, the effort is once again futile. Soon the situation gets out of hand and I am like one possessed. Pulling, yanking and lugging the willful duvet and its mulish cover, I am left wild-eyed, dishevelled and ready to scream in frustration. The bed is in a tangle and I am surrounded in swathes of billowing fabric. That's how my husband finds me, standing amid the ruins of my efforts. Smothering a grin at my bedraggled state and the resultant chaos, he offers to help. It requires our combined wiles and multiple efforts to get the job done.
But this winter, I was smart, determined to get the better of the mocking quilt and its headstrong cover and of course, what else but YouTube came to my rescue. A video of a tiny, competent Chinese woman showed me how to singlehandedly roll the offending quilt like a burrito, insert it into the cover, give it a heave, a shake and lo and behold, the duvet opened up to fit seamlessly into its pretty, flowery envelope.
The scientists and inventors can take it easy because the Chinese have beaten us to it, yet again
(The writer is a Jalandhar-based freelance contributor.)