Slips of Conjugal Happiness

7

As I was boarding the bus that my hotel uses to pick up its guests from the station, I looked behind for my wife to help her in. But the landscape that greeted me was empty of my wife. And this was strange, for to the best of my recollection, she was walking next to me even five minutes ago! I asked the porter if he had an explanation, but he responded that the luggage I entrusted him to carry didn’t include my wife. The bus driver was honking his horn asking me to hurry up. I had to make up my mind. Leave my luggage to the mercy of the departing bus or my wife to the mercy of God.

Presence of mind! I stood in front of the bus preventing the driver from starting and searched the universe for my life’s companion, much to the irritation of the driver and the passengers in the bus. At such moments, I have learnt to turn deaf.

And then suddenly, she appeared from behind a parked Tata Sumo. It didn’t seem as though she was playing hide and seek. Looked more like she was limping as she held her right elbow with her left hand, apparently in pain.

“What happened,” said I.

“Fell down,” she replied grimacing in pain.

“How come?”

“Well I was looking upwards and walked into a pothole …”

“Why were you looking upwards? In search of God?” said I, lending her my shoulder to lean on, thereby transforming a limping woman to a limping man.

“No, not God exactly, I was trying to read the signs on the buses. These signs are normally not written inside potholes. And please note, in case you didn’t know, women in sarees tripping on the wayside take a while to get back on their feet to join stupid husbands. ” She glared back at me.

The lady was in pain and needed to be soothed. I did that as well as I could. Arnica 30 and Neosporin ointment did the rest. They were more potent than my observations on the art of walking in the vicinity of train stations.

Which reminds me of Okayama. We were visiting one of those pretty Japanese gardens. The garden was crisscrossed by narrow, winding canals. As we were crossing over to the other side of one, I thought I should take her picture on the little bridge. She struck a pose for me. Satisfied, I looked at her through the viewfinder. She had vanished! I searched everywhere in the world through the viewfinder, but there was no sign of her. And then it occurred to me that she might reappear if I looked for her with my naked eyes. I removed my eyes from the camera (or the other way round perhaps) and looked for her where she had last been spotted. Success. There she was. Only her pose had changed. She was lying on her back at the foot of the bridge. “You were supposed to stand, not lie down,” I said in dismay. “What could I do,” she said,” I slipped down the slope of the bridge!

My wife disappears every now and then.

Slips of conjugal happiness.

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