”Ammalu, be prepared to laugh and roll on the ground. Our Ammini is pregnant”
”Had you told me that her husband Nair is pregnant I would have rolled on the ground laughing. Anyway, you got your message wrong. Her daughter is pregnant”
“But Ammalu, it is Nair who gave me the news”
”Didn’t you quarrel with him yesterday and scream in anger, ‘’are you a man, Nair?’
He wanted to prove that he is one. Don’t take him seriously.”
“What else is serious if not Ammini carrying at a wrong age, Ammalu?”
“Your believing what he said and passing it on to me”
“’I spend the whole day uttering ‘Rama, Rama, Rama’ .Rama does not appear before me.
At times, in dream, I call unknowingly, ‘Bhamaa!’At once, my wife appears with Kothandam , Parasu and halam.
If Sree Rama, Parasu Rama and Balrama do not want to respond to my call it is OK. But why should they lend their destructive weapons to my wife?’ ”
“Don’t know who said these words, but believe me Ammalu, it was certainly not me”
”Certainly not you, I know that you know, I don’t need any of those weapons to face you.”
“At times, I feel that it was good that I married you. The way you dress, the way you talk, walk, write, laugh, snore -there is the innocence of a child and simplicity of a village folk, combined with some fun at every Act. Life therefore is not monotonous. When our children wish on phone, “Amma, have fun”, I tell them, ‘what other fun I need when I have your dad with me?”
”I am proud of that, but why that ‘at times’ adjective, Ammalu?”
“Because, sometime you speak like a saint or a scholar and I look at you in awe without following a word.
You, then, seem to be too tall for my height”
“Could you please write for me, a love letter urgently, please?”
“Have you gone insane, Ammalu? Is this the age for us to exchange love letters? I didn’t write one to you, even during the spring, when you were blooming with fresh foliage. Will I now, when you are like a Maple in winter and I continue to be like an ever green Pine?”
“No time to argue with you on your senseless similes. An elderly woman known to me is lying in a critical state in the hospital and her one disappointment is that she never received a love letter. I consoled her telling a lie that she did receive one and it was delivered to me wrongly, long ago. I can write one but you being an expert in fake materials, thought I would seek your help. Please write one, immediately”.
”OK, if that will save the life of a friend of yours, yes. Wait for a minute”
“I don’t think it will save her life but at least she can go to the other world peacefully. Otherwise that soul may have to come back to the earth again and wait for a love letter.
“OMG, is this the way to write a love letter?
‘Safe’ on the left, OM at the center, place and date and the right, Subham bavathu below that, Kuladevatha, Gramadevatha, Pardevatha sahayam and other prayers and blessings next to that? Is this a pre-wedding invitation or a post wedding greeting?
Oh, wait a minute. I think I adore the way you address your imaginary lover.
“The Divine beauty in the form of a human marappatchi( a small wooden statue in human form, not carved to scale, kept along with other dolls in the Navaratri display) .
There is no need to read further. That ‘Marappatchi’ alone will make my friend to laugh if there is a pint of air left in her lungs. Her ambition for a love letter will be quenched forever and her soul if it goes up, will never think of coming down fearing another love letter.”
” Ammalu, when I came to see you in your house, along with my parents , for the first time, which merit of mine became the deciding factor in my favor-_ my irresistible personal charm, irrevocable moral status, enviable erudition, commendable communication skill,unequivocal status in the society ?”
”None of the above, though you had all those in abundance”
” I am sorry I could not list all my virtues and values now. But tell me one specif attribute of mine which attracted you all in the family and prompted your father to declare in the open assembly, at the top of his voice,’ SP, my daughter needs you, we all need you?’ ”
” You enjoyed the sweet and other snacks served, as if you were seeing them for the first time and we were happy about that. But when you removed from your shoulder bag a steel dabba and asked my mom to pack the left over, from the plate, we were stunned. Your mother’s f ace turned blood-red , your father pinched your lower back, your sister gave you a concealed but strong punch, your friend whispered ‘vadikettina madaya'( fool of an ass) , your colleague Ammini pulled your hand down, saying, ”SP sir, vidditham officeil pore-? Reserve your crankiness for the office’ etc etc.But one person in our group, my grand pa was immensely pleased with your act, dragged us all to the inner room and advised,
” Never lose this boy . He is so informal to ask for a carry-home -tiffin supply. I am told that the practice in the US restaurants is that the leftover food out of what you have ordered is packed and handed over to you in a carry bag, on your demand. When he goes to USA, He will definitely follow this practice thereby saving money and labour for Ammalu for half a day”, .Patty, my grand ma, endorsed his advice and added, “Be glad that he did not ask for a carry bag; wisely, he brought a vessel with him. Admire his intelligence; grab him for our Ammalu, before someone else snatches him away. ”
“What happened? Why did you return so soon?”
“I met Ammini in the bus stand and she tells me that I look great. Came running to tell you that, Ammalu.”
“Thank God, there were no bus stands in our town some 40 years ago and there was no Ammini, when you chose me as your wife.”
You are a “Self Dubba”, I always enjoy your sense of humo(u)r. Praying you both a very long married life.
Ravi and Geeta
Some of the restaurants in Mumbai do not look upon the request to pack up the left over, favorably, though a vast majority of restaurants do not murmur. Be that as it may, there are other significances too. The request to pack the left over shows our concern for food waste. Why to leave behind what legitimately belongs to us? The steel dubba confirmed that the food would be consumed conveniently later and would not be thrown in the dustbin. To crown them all, my friend Shri Perinkulam Sivasubramaniam may have felt,” they may or may not offer me Ammulu. Why not take with me at least what is already offered”?
A lovely story almost in an epigrammatic style.
“Ammalu, quite unfortunately, unintentionally, unexpectedly, my hand rubbed with a lady’s back, while traveling in a heavily loaded bus and I came running to share my sincere regrets on my wrong doing with you and seek your pardon.”
” You are unnecessarily tormenting your pure heart. The bus was jam-packed, your action was unfortunate, unintentional and unexpected. And many men of your age in a crowded bus have done the same mistake in the past and will continue to do in the future. Instead of coming running to report to me, you could have said ‘sorry’ to that lady and forgotten that innocuous incident”
” I did say sorry to her but I can’t forget that incident, Ammalu”
“Why, may I know?”
”That good lady replied: ‘That is OK, You are Ammalu’s husband, right? She has told me about you. Please come to our club this evening so that I can introduce you to my friends”
I am worried what you told her about me and how will be her introductory speech”
” Don’t worry, You know that I speak only truth about you or about any other person”
” Truth, at times, is unfriendly Ammalu and that exactly is my worry. And how will be her introduction?”
“She speaks less. Might say that your action was ‘unfortunate, unintentional, unexpected’. She might also say, ‘if I happen to be in the same bus along with him, next time, his action won’t be totally unexpected, for me”’
”Ammalu, in the olden days, on husband’s birthday, wife used to prostrate before him and take his blessings. Either your mother did not teach you this good practice or you have conveniently forgotten it”
” Your birthday, today, is fake. You were not born on the day which is wrongly shown in all your records. your suit is our son’s, not yours. Your watch doesn’t show the correct time. Your kadukkans are not of gold. Your smile is only from your lips and not from your heart. Your stories are copied and pasted , not your original. Everything is fake about you. How am I to worship you, my dear husband ? ”
”My dear wife, I am really your husband and not a fake. Why should you then bother about my other attributes and ornaments?”
” Wah, those words only you can say , I am now convinced that you are not fake. You alone are not fake.”