Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Frying Pan Saga

Oh no, I groaned as I flew out of the house. “What a way to start the day!” My wife stood at the door, brandishing a frying pan, a non stick one at that, which she maintained in its immaculate condition.
However, there were times when she did forget about taking care of it, as now, a moment ago, when it descended on my head more than once. “I’ll fry you, you worm!” she screeched at a glass shattering pitch that would have done an opera singer proud. The worm squirmed. I cocked a wary eye behind me, and thankfully saw her retrace her steps. She would never come out on the street minus her lipstick. The storm had abated for the present. I was so occupied in sneaking a peek behind me, that I failed to notice the paper boy sailing along merrily on his shining paragon of a bicycle. He saw me too late and we came together with a resounding clash.
I picked myself up gloomily and dusted my poor rear which had come off the worst in the encounter. Maybe I should acquire a suit of armour for days like these, I thought distractedly as I looked around for the culprit. However, he seemed to have taken to his heels, faster than a streak of lightning, before I could nab him.
His cycle lay glinting in the sunlight. I don’t know what prompted me to have my cycling ‘arangetram’ right then. The cycle beckoned like a sultry temptress, and I picked it up gingerly, and lifted one foot over it. After a couple of false starts, I got it moving. People around scattered at the fierce scowl on my face, as I concentrated on getting my feet to move and keep my balance at the same time. I found myself going down a gentle slope, and had I been a bit surer of my balance, I would have almost enjoyed the ride. In reality, I was now wondering how to get off. Should I let go and tumble off? Or should I hang on and clutch on to something solid like a branch and heave myself off? I felt both ways were rather undignified!
I wobbled past a jewellery shop, and this brought back bitter memories of the spat with my wife. The crux was that I had forgotten her birthday, which had landed up a couple of months too soon (or so I thought!). The day also happened to be Woman’s Day, which she had pointed out sweetly, even smiling when I parried that by asking her if every day didn’t belong to the fairer sex.
As I sat sipping my filter coffee, after an unusually sumptuous breakfast of my favourite ‘upma’ done to a nicety, with tiny vegetables and aromatic curry leaves, and finished off with a bowl of rich carrot halwa, she had waited expectantly. I had belched in enormous satisfaction and complimented her on being the best cook in the world. What a wonderful way to begin a day, I had thought.
And then, the day had blown up in my face. A simple question about what the occasion was, and she had turned into a regular Godzilla. Her eyes flashed, her nostrils flared and her ears waggled. And that is how the frying pan episode took place!
Now here I was astride a cycle, and I had no idea how to stop the darned thing. The wobbling was becoming more noticeable, and suddenly a huge pothole materialized before me. I grabbed onto the right hand brake, and suddenly found myself whizzing through the air at full speed. After a not so gentle flip, I found myself flat on the ground, my nose in a handful of dust, with nothing bruised but my ego. The day seemed to be going just the way it was meant to go! Was it true about getting up from the wrong side of the bed, and straightaway getting onto the wrong side of one’s spouse?
I hobbled to my feet, my bones creaking in protest as I straightened up, and turned my face towards the way back home. As I limped along, I suddenly found myself in front of the jewellery shop I had passed earlier. Here was the perfect solution to appease my Lady Godzilla. I walked in, only to find myself bedazzled. There was a little bridge within, with water running below, and bright fish darting to and fro. The counters sparkled as light fell on the different varieties of earrings, bangles and necklaces strewn around in perfect order. Eager sales ladies converged on me, sensing a kill.
“May I help you, Sir?” trilled a particularly musical voice, and the charming young lady beckoned me to her counter. Dazed as I was, I was astonished at the alacrity with which she whipped out a dozen or so trinkets, and soon the counter overflowed with glittering, eye catching articles. I sent up a silent prayer of thankfulness that my wife was not with me. In the end, I chose a charming bracelet that was as charming as the salesgirl, and left for home, my wallet as light as my heart, now that I had done my good deed for the day.
I stepped out jauntily into the balmy day, sunny side up. My mood had lifted miraculously, and I felt like singing with the birds, but refrained from doing so as I did not want to alarm people enough to cause a traffic jam. I tripped along merrily, imagining a pleasant reunion with my spouse. I straightened my collar, and brushed an imaginary speck off my shirt. “God’s in His heaven/ All’s right with the world”. Browning’s words seemed to fit in with my mood, as I hummed a tune beneath my breath, this time to avoid scaring the birds.
As I neared my house, the gate stood open, invitingly open. The sunrays were falling on the roof, turning it a mellow yellow as I quickened my step and made my way in. This was my home, my haven!
Ah! What a tender moment – tender enough to awaken a poet’s senses. I stepped in carefully and looked around for HER – my Muse! She came gliding down the stairs, as beautiful as a queen and looked at me with a raised eyebrow. She seemed to have got over her blues.
I was in fine fettle, and going along with the romantic mood of the moment, I knelt before her and presented my offering (I mean, offered my present) to her, expecting nothing less than a bear hug in appreciation. I closed my eyes for a quick moment, and then opened them again.
I was never sure about what happened next. The lights flickered for a frozen moment, and my wife held out a delicate hand. My mind whirled as I saw a familiar bracelet nestling on her slender wrist. The penny dropped as I looked on in dismay. I had made the supreme mistake of giving her the same present twice over. A grave folly indeed in her eyes!
Her eyes blazed fire and she reached out for something on the table behind her, and to my horror, out came the frying pan for the second time today, and made contact with the same spot as it had done earlier.
“Oh, no”, I groaned, as I flew out of the house yet again. “What a way to end a day!”

Eves Times Magazine

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