I've just completed 36 years of marriage and we are a unique couple who were born on Indian Independance and Republic days respectively and tied the knot on July 4th that happens to be United States of America's Independance day. I am sure both of us were freedom fighters in our previous births or perhaps scheming politicians who were sent again to lead simple lives - far from the madding crowd - one may say. I am indeed surprised how naive (read stupid) both of us could be and I think it is this quality that holds us together. I am planning to share some of the major goof ups we were involved in and leave it to you readers to tell me whether as a 'Ram milaye Jodi' we are entitled to celebrate our years of togetherness.
Three weeks back my husband brought home some toovar dal for half the market price from a roadside vendor who sold his stuff on Sunday mornings. The dal cooked really well and the flavor was also very good. We got worried if it was smuggled stuff or what. How else could a person be able to sell good quality dal for such a throw away price. I promptly asked him to get 2kgs. of dal each for two of my colleagues who were supporting large families. He gladly obliged. My colleagues were thankful for my concern and reported that the dal was indeed very good. The following week I decided my ex and current maid servants should benefit by the reduced price and my husband heartily agreed with me. He went in the scorching sun and although the man had increased the price by Rs. 5/- and he had sold most of it, my husband bought whatever he had and came home with 4.5 kgs. of dal. This time however the dal was not of very good quality with small insects creeping out. The two of us sat and cleaned it up - each one duly blaming the other and finally decided that it could not be given to anyone including my servants. I suggested that we roast it lightly to prevent it from being fully eaten up by the insects and we are now stuck with a container full of dal in addition to the amount we bought the previous week and the normal quota purchased from the market. We may have to consume it for the next 4-5 months. However I did give my servant 1 kg of the dal (good quality) purchased the previous week. She was the one who enlightened me on why the price quoted was so low.
"Didi, this is not toovar dal at all. This is called 'kussi' dal and is consumed by tribals in and around Chota Nagpur plateau. It is not very popular among people from the city. It tastes like toovar dal but is available at very cheap rates in the village side."
We felt like fools but were relieved that it was not smuggled or black market stuff. For all you know the person who sold it may not be seen again and we may end up being questioned. I request all of you to pass on recipes that involve the inclusion of a sizeable proportion of dal in it - ofcourse 'adai and vadai' excluded.
We went for the foundation day celebration at a local Sai Baba temple. My husband is a Sai devotee and I am a devotee of a lesser degree. We donated generously and bought two tickets for 'Bhog'. Later one of the volunteers who recognizes us said that we could eat bhog there for free and take back bhog for others at home in packed containers for which tickets were needed. Since there was no one at home we decided that we could use 1 ticket and give away the other one to someone else. I suggested that the ticket be returned to the volunteer who would in turn give it to someone in need. From a distance I saw my husband return the ticket and take out some money that he gave to the volunteer. 'He should know what he is doing' I thought and said nothing. The next day he asks me why I asked him to return the ticket and pay him money for a bhog coupon already paid for. I was apalled. I had said nothing of the sort. In fact I had told him not to take a refund for the coupon and in the din he thought that I had asked him to pay for it. You can imagine the 'tu,tu - main, main' that followed. It would have been better to have brought back more bhog and distributed it among our neighbors. The volunteer must have thought that we stupidly naive or naively stupid to return a coupon and also pay for it.
Looking back I realize that we are two of a kind but like the 'man in black' depicted by Goldsmith we like to pose as people who cannot be taken for a ride. But let me tell you we can be taken for a ride not in a bullock cart but in Rajdhani express. I realized how gullible we appeared to be when my ex servants daughter in law rang up from Chennai and asked me to lend her Rs. 50,000/- for the purchase of a flat (part of booking money). I really believed that her MIL would have no knowledge of her phone call when my ex servant surprised me by saying that the DIL had asked her to approach me but she was the one who suggested that since the amount involved was heavy, she should approach me herself. I made it clear that I was no Tata or Birla and being a bank employee she'd get a home loan for nominal interest. Within 2 months the son rings up for 1 lakh this time. I had to tell his mother to ask them not to pester me or else the 2 or 5 thousand I had planned to give them when their daughter joined college would also be withdrawn. The phone calls have stopped since and I hate myself for having had to say so.
There are many more such instances but I stop right here lest I sound repetitive. We are usually prudent spenders or so we like to believe but whatever we save is only to be squandered for nothing. I for one feel that I may as well spend the money with careless abandon. But how? I love Ice creams but I have blood sugar and tend to put on weight. My closet is full of clothes that I can carry over for for years to come. Medicines are all I need and I cannot over eat them. So I suppose I can continue to goof up with the full support of my husband and feel happy about it. I really wish I were naive enough not to recognize an act that could be called goofy!
Tell me now whether the following song could apply to us and even if we are a compatible couple for wrong reasons, should we not celebrate our 36 years of togetherness??
'Once a cock eye met a squint eye under the coconut tree.
Said the cock eye to the squint eye - will you marry me?'