CROSSWORD puzzles always make me conscious of my poor vocabulary and lack of concentration. It is always a struggle to find correct words, particularly when something else is on your mind at the same time.
‘Not a single female’ was the clue I was grappling with, when I heard laughter. Only she can do that, laughing at some ridiculous joke on a comedy show and almost running to tell it to someone, lest it becomes stale on the way. When she laughs she certainly appears ‘not single’. Wife! I got my answer. I smiled and she thought it was because of that silly joke. Sitting on the adjoining sofa she started telling me about the absurdities of one of the characters of the show while I was thinking of the difference between love and attachment, as explained by a Sikh preacher in the early morning discourse on television. It feels good when she is around talking about things I am least interested in.
When we were married she was on probation; that was the honeymoon and life went on, like so many lives in those days. Within a year, a son became the centre of all attention. New relations emerged. We became Mama, Papa and there were chacha, bhua, tayaji, tayee, dadi, and what not. Just a few months later, came a new chachi, and so on. With her duties as a mother, in addition to every other role she played, I found my wife lost….
I didn’t notice when she left and returned with a cup of tea and cookies. It was nearly an hour after sunset and getting me tea at this time is often her veiled effort to keep me away from my sundowner. She was now trying to update me on her favourite serial. My lack of interest in TV serials is well known in the family and she has named me ‘U-turn’, as this is what I normally do — come back to sit in the living room, often taking up sudoku; an easier substitute for crosswords. I do not try to change the channel or switch off the TV as U-turn is better than being the ‘serial killer’. I was enjoying her company while she enjoyed talking about the serials and the gyan she received on some WhatsApp group.
Retirement and old age has an advantage. Your sons give you back your antique items, car, music system, etc. because they have their own latest models. I was thinking I am happy to have my wife ‘back’.
And lo, there was a musical shrill Daadeee…. my granddaughter. Her parents just dropped her at the gate and went for a movie or something. Dadi was on her feet and literally ran to the door. Without wasting a minute, they were inside the bedroom. I could hear the laughter and voices from her favourite cartoon channel. Game of Snakes and Ladders was started from where it was locked in the last session. I did not dare enter and disturb them, knowing well the likely reaction, ‘Dada aap jao.’
Now, I understand the justification in why they talk about seven lives with one wife. Because you don’t get to understand each other fully in one life, perhaps?
I am keeping my fingers crossed.
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