“We will start our morning-walk”- He declared suddenly.
“You are putting on weight”.
“You are fatter than me” I wanted to return the compliment, but refrained, lest, affronted, he walked away alone. No, I would not miss the exercise for the world.
Dressing up hastily, with great enthusiasm did I start. What fun accosting people in different types of dresses trotting, jogging! Meeting friends-relatives after a fairly long time was a rejuvenating experience. Naturally, they too were pleased to see me, and of course we had to exchange a few words of greetings, the social enquiries snowballing into spicy gossip. Indeed, it was an embarrassing situation for all the escorting spouses needless to mention ‘HE’ who showed mounting displeasure in his own silent ways. The climax came when he snapped this question, “Were you silly women discussing the ‘Idiotic serials’? About whether the foolish heroine really eloped with the no-good hero during the power-shutdown? Or, how to prepare jelabi thissabji, that pulav-chutney-salad etc?”
Deliberately putting on a stiff face, I walked ahead. Are we women fit only for discussing serials and cookery items? Don’t we also read papers, and hear news? Come to think of it, it is the men folk who avidly watch the serials, especially the romantic ones while we women are forced to attend to kitchen. “Next time the serial comes, I am going to switch it off”-I decided—“And watch the fun”.
Coming back to our walk, in-between bridegroom-hunters swooping from nowhere and pelting questions regarding the eligible boys in our family, a grand time enquiring about the girl’s accomplishments, basking in their adulation while all the time knowing not a wee bit about the boys in question.
Oft would I lose myself viewing flourishing trees, burgeoning flowers, twittering birds, blooming sun. And stand in the middle of the road offering prayers to the sky-deity, with eyes closed…and lo! An auto or motorcycle would swish past, sparing me by a margin!! Immediately he would rush back with panic to verify whether I was alive or dead, and if alive, show surprise, then bang me like anything (no, certainly not for being alive). “Poor thing, some inspiration to scribble poetry must have overtaken her”. When some fan who recognized me sympathized, he would walk away with ‘Have all the accidents in the world madam poetess, I don’t care!’ attitude!
Perhaps he is jealous of my celebrity status? As the husband, he should be proud of me, but no, ‘Man’s ego’ raising its hood!
While walking, routes are another problem. He can maneuver roads filled with litter, water, dogs but for the life of me, I can’t. And he doesn’t even turn around to see whether I have slipped, have been bitten or have been kidnapped.. Disgusted, I really revolted one day. I stood in the middle of the road like a statue, refusing to follow him. A jogging girl stopped in her tracks to help me out. Very smartly, I pointed to the side road. Reluctant to give place to any scene, he took that road, while I jubilantly followed. Alas, my exhilaration received a terrible jolt, for there was water-water everywhere what with the car drivers bathing their cars! We had to really do circus-tricks to reach our destination.
And his mood? You can guess. . . .Blood pressure, heart complaint, what not, made a beeline towards him. I took refuge contemplating the temple nearby.
Yes, having a penchant for temples, the moment it looms into view, I stand before it immersed in fervent prayer till his ‘ROAD-LECTURE’ arrests me…
Same restriction when I try to purchase some urgent provision for breakfast on the way home. “No shopping while walking”. Invariable rejoinder to my argument is “Purse at home”.
But He learnt his lesson this morning when the watchman grumbled “Couldn’t you buy bread on the way back instead of sending me now? I am also an old man, older than you.”