Mr. and Mrs. Mess

In our Spotlight this week we bring you a piece from Khurram Mahmood. You can read more of his work at

Make peace with yourself and you can take hold of the world, bring peace to others and you can put it in your pocket too.

You must be wondering who in their right state of mind could have said this, I just made that up while drinking tea and staring at the lamp. The colour of the light in my room is what makes my thoughts vague. It’s not the electric company’s fault that the lighting nowadays is beige instead of yellow, as we are familiar with. It is due to the Chinese energy savers one finds at Cash n Carry. The process of my creativity now rests in the endangerment of global health, why? Because I might be using too much electricity and invite load shedding. I would like to tell you a little story indirectly related to what I just said. It is about a couple on the verge of ignorance.

They’re your average couple, living through life trying to survive and have two children. A boy named He Mess and a girl named She Mess. They live in a peaceful neighborhood called Trash Town, located on Bacteria Boulevard. Both children go to the same school, Impolite High. Mother has a social club which she invites to lunch every Thursday when the kids are at school, it’s a club of neighborhood house wives called Untidy Anonymous. The father works at a services firm; he’s a Clutter Consultant for Litter International. He recently received a promotion and a hefty bonus for his continuous rampage on the city’s streets.

The Planeteers are missing and presumed dead.

Monday brings out the best in this family, Mr. Mess, on his way to work, grabs the daily newspaper. One of the twelve different he’s subscribed to at home because that is all the time he’ll get. Upon reaching the office he asks for his daily mail. His mail included a letter which he waited four days for. It is from the office next door which sent him minutes of the meeting they had. He wanted to formally document his meeting and since Mr. Mess is dumb enough to avoid use of emails, asked for a letter to be sent. As he sets his newspaper and coffee on the table, a pop up blinks in his mailbox, it’s from an online newspaper website. Soon he leaves for a meeting and tells his secretary to leave the heating on as he may be back in 3 hours or so. Since he personally meets clients therefore, everything in the conference room is cleaned every twenty minutes. The lights remain on and the temperature controlled all day long. His boss is a big fan of his work and takes pride in telling everyone to follow his routine.

 He Mess and She Mess, being twins go to classes together and during lunch discovered that their mother wrapped up a banana an orange and their already wrapped up sandwiches in tissue paper. Mrs. Mess knows how to take care of her children, can’t take chances with food sealed in a lunchbox now can she? Both of them get different sets of stationary; one has to be pink and the other blue. Not necessarily in the same order as their gender, alphabetically listed. Every time the feel of their pencil or rubber is uncomfortable, a visit to the stationary shop is due.

Mrs. Mess stays at home, mostly running hot water in the sink to wash dishes. Vacuums the house everyday using precious electricity because she loves the fresh air and just cannot close the windows. All the time she works and cleans the house, the television has to stay tuned into her morning shows and afternoon soaps. Even if she and the television are on different floors, a single dialogue cannot be missed. The computer she left on twenty days ago is still on standby and plugged in, just in case she wants to use Facebook to see the pictures of her family 3000 miles away.

 …living it up in Graceland probably.

While at home, Mrs. Mess thinks of a surprise for the children she bakes a cake and some cookies, cleans up the kitchen and waits for her loved ones to return. The house looks spic and she literally takes the trash out, throws it over the back wall of the house into the empty plot. The trash nicely wrapped up in a polythene bag which will take 50 years to decompose.

Mr. Mess takes the children to the park every weekend in the afternoon to toss the ball and frisbee. Children bring everything in wrappers to eat, and make sure everything they throw is right outside the trashcan. Mr. Mess tries to be the father figure that he wants to be and waits until it is time to leave and then spoils the park’s cleanliness with his coke cans and ice cream cups. On their way back, while the children finish their bag of chips in the back seat, Mr. Mess tells them to do the right thing and not make a mess in his nice car. So they throw the empty bag on the road and share a laugh.

Following the park and the shopping mall, their car trunk is filled with plastic bags of groceries and household items. All the shopping made them hungry, so they pay a visit to their favorite burger stand. It’s the agony of these business establishments to let people throw their trash roadside. And like the responsible family the Mess’ are, they make sure tissues and wrappers are left on the side of the road.

Khurram Mahmood Sheikh writes from life experiences and tilting his thoughts to the funnier side of life. He can be reached at



Categories: The World I Know


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