Almost two decades in this capital city have been eventful, taxing, tearful and adventurous. They have been learning years to meet and understand people, young and adults, bureaucrats and friends. The one distinct change anyone would notice is the change in personality. One can attribute it to the hostile climate here as experienced by a Mumbaikar. It just brings about a cultural change in the gait and mannerisms. I have evolved as a loud, aggressive and lazier person. ‘Lazy’, because the extreme climate makes so. Summer or winter, there is ample scope to sit in one spot for hours, especially during winters. A virtual ‘no-no’, to shift our butts from one chair to another. Thankfully that has not made me a bulky woman. Over to a lighter moment.
Sharmas of ‘F’ Block
We were residing at Lajpat Nagar. He, Mr.Sharma, wore a monkey cap (in winter), smoked beedis constantly, was pot-bellied, walked in slow pace, and scoured vessels in the kitchen/fridge when his wife is out. Technically, he was our landlord for 5 years but his wife grabbed the rent with a smile that exposed her gapped teeth (all 32 intact). The rest of the time she was grumpy, reason being, her unemployed husband.
The couple is endowed with a chubby daughter (now she would be 26 years old) who was always busy with books and munching away to glory. More like her father.
A brother-in-law, estranged, a constantly transferred engineer. He, too, trembled before Mrs Sharma like a trembling leaf hanging loosely from an autumn tree. However, what was disgusting about him was when he opined once to me while decorating the balcony with lamps for Diwali.
“Oh, you are celebrating Diwali?! I thought South Indians were descendants of Ravana.”
Now that, infuriated me so much that every time he crossed my path, I gave him an earful of Ramayana, gritting my teeth. He then disappeared to a distant place on transfer to return only after 3 months.
Then my repartee was “Who employed you as Engineer, with such poor history and geography?”
From then on, his Namaste was a combination of the Indian and Japanese bow. Needless to say, our eyes never met. Better not!
Time to leave for good!
At the end of five years, Mrs Sharma made a politically and democratically correct statement. Even the government at the centre changes, every five years, so you also please vacate the place (referring to us)
I said thanks, as plans were underway to locate a new one, a better one with a simpler, docile landlady. Fortunately we left within a week.
Mr Sharma’s heart was feeble but Mrs Sharma was a tough cookie!
Although he had a bulky figure, his heart was ever prone to an attack. Whenever his wife left for her mother’s place on weekends, his schedule changed. He became more cheerful, invited like-minded tortured husbands to a party. The entire event was silent, clanging of vessels to match with munching sounds, mumbling jokes on wives in Punjabi and some choosy abuses in between. Perhaps hurled at wives as material who left for good riddance land.
He always ‘epitomised’ the script for ‘why I killed my wife?” But he didn’t kill her.
After a good, long break celebrating time without wife. He washed and cleaned the house and himself. Spoke a couple of times to me about how peaceful the house is without his wife. I chuckled softly while he engrossed himself with the neighbor. And what a change! He even spoke genially with my husband on politics and women! Ha Ha!
A few times we advised him to stay away from drinks and smoke. But his wife’s torture made him sulk and withdraw to a corner seat in a park nearby. And then one day he lay unconscious in bed quite helpless (Btw they never shared a bed or bedroom). His wife reformed for the moment. She became restless, attentive, called a doctor, called her brother-in-law, got him admitted to a hospital and saved her husband’s life. Ultimately, the picture was clear. She loved him after all. How can one ignore the man, despite his irritating habits? Love conquers all!
I presume they are still fighting to stay in love. Wow! What a couple.
P.S.: My take for this year’s Valentine’s Day:
Fight! But love outlasts all discord.
Watch out for my next post on my trip to the erstwhile Garden (now Concrete) city -- Bengaluru.