Thursday, January 24, 2013


One Sunday morning, as the unsuspecting Popley Jewellers on the corner of Turner and Waterfield Roads were opening up for business, a young woman walked in and showed them her middle finger. It didn’t help that she was wearing a t-shirt with a cartoon Veerappan operating a Sony “Betascam” camera with the words “Daku-mentary” written below.

Then, as all the cleaners, polishers, shelf-arrangers, etc. looked on, the woman sheepishly confessed to the friendly-faced woman at the first counter, “meri ring ungli se utar nahi rahi hai, aap ring kaat sakte hain?” That’s when Bineesha noticed a multi-band ring clamped onto a rather swollen (actually, a rapidly-swelling finger). “Arre, soap dalo, nikal jayega!” she assured. The young woman glared at her and thought “What do you think I’ve been doing all morning?!”

Let’s rewind a few hours, shall we?
Anando woke up at 7 am to find his wife sitting on the floor, her right arm resting on the bed, the hand soaking in a large bowl of ice water, which in turn sat on the fattest pillow she had found. That’s because WikiHow had told her (after a frantic 6 am Google for “removing+stuck+ring”) that she needed to soak her hand in ice-water while restricting blood flow to it – that would cause the swelling to subside, the ice-water would further shrink the finger, and the ring would just sliiiide off.


Rewind some more.

She had already tried soaping it. Failure.

She then tried slathering on mustard oil. Failure and a strong smell. (That’s what woke Anando.) No, thank you, Google Search, page 1 results.

She then read that she should try inserting sellotape under the ring, and push the ring back to create a tape-ring of sorts, and then slide the ring over the tape (which would offer minimal friction), and voila: ringless hand at your service. Ermmmm, no. Not working.

By then her right hand looked like she was wearing a puppet hand over her real one, or at the very least those foam fingers sports fans wear on American TV. Her right hand was also rather confused – should it shrivel up in dry protest at all the soaping, or swell up in a shiny, unmissable kind of way at all the mustard-oil massaging? Time for another left-handed Google search.

Of course her husband had slept blissfully through all the angst. And so when he woke up and suggested several of the same nuskhas, and even smirked a little, she thought of some violent act of revenge – something she could perpetrate with just one hand of course, without disturbing the ice bath.

Picture this girl then. Her hand has throbbed since last night because she wore a ring that once fit her middle finger (but obviously no more). She has gone off to sleep, convincing herself, Scarlett O’Hara–like, that tomorrow is another day. But tomorrow (today) she has woken up with a definitely swollen hand and a useless set of Google suggestions.

So it was that at 10.50 am, when she walked into Popley Jewellers and gave them the finger, her demand was simple: “Cut off my ring and give me my freedom.”

Bineesha swung into action – she escorted the woman to a tiny washbasin at the entrance to the staff toilet. Then, pumping huge amounts of soap from the dispenser, she proceeded to soap the poor hand and work up a rich lather.

Dear reader, you already know how that works out (not)! The woman protested – just cut it, nothing will work, I know it.

Industrious (and strangely reluctant to give up), Bineesha called “Maneeeees, idhar aa.” When the 6-foot tall, burly shop assistant walked up to the washbasin, she said “Tu ring ko kheench, main inka haath ulti taraf kheenchti hoon.

Whattay plan, thought the young woman, and feebly protested, “Arre, yeh mera haath hai.” Thankfully, Manish was the silent, non-violent type. The woman pulled her hand back and hid it behind her back, demanding a ring cutter or nothing.

Pramod Babu came up, with a pair of scissors that cut metal. As he angled the woman’s hand, she noticed two things – they were far from a light source, and Pramod Babu was in his fifties and missing his spectacles.

As he short-sightedly held the scissors close to the ring and looked for an entry point, she suggested meekly (never offend a man holding scissors and your hand) that they move closer to the light. By now he had positioned the scissors and was reluctant to move them, so they moved, like Siamese twins joined at the hand, to stand under the light. Pramod Babu brought the scissors’ handles together, and snip, snip, snip, snip, snip, snip, snip (the ring had seven slim bands held together by one clasp).

Lighter in mind and body, our young heroine walked out of the door, resisting the urge to hug Pramod Babu or ask the price of the diamond ring that winked at her from the counter near the exit.