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June 03, 2004 12:41 IST
My uncle on my mother's side grew up never having to do any household chores. This was not because he came from a family where 'boys don't work', it was because his eyesight was poor and he had to wear thick glasses.
His doctor advised him to switch to contact lenses and a pair of glasses, a combination that would have improved his vision. But uncle was just too comfortable with his old glasses to try out his doctor's suggestion.
He was doing pretty well even after he got married and was transferred to another city. His wife looked after his every need. All went well until the day my aunt was confined to bed with high fever.
It was 6 pm and uncle was getting ready to leave for office. It was still dark as he groped his way into the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea... something he had never done before.
He scrupulously followed the instructions of my aunt, who was still in bed.
He turned the knob and lit the gas, measured out two cups of water and put the kettle to boil. When the water was ready, he added the tea leaves and waited for the concoction to change colour so he could add the milk.
A minute passed, then another and then yet another and then a whole 10 minutes, but nothing happened.
Flustered, he went back to the bedroom to tell my aunt her instructions were wrong.
Surprised, she asked him to help her walk to the kitchen. When she got there, she found out that my uncle was brewing kaala jeera [black cumin seed] instead of tea leaves!
Sarani Tarafder, Chicago
Credit card kid
My six-year-old daughter and I were doing currency denomination study.
She said, "A penny, a nickel [5 cents], a dime [10 cents], a quarter [25 cents]" and then I barged in and said, "And finally a dollar."
"No, Mommy," she retorted. "What about the credit card?"
Shalini Kathuria Narang, Foster City, California
Brinda and I were waiting for my friend who was supposed to arrive from Belgium by train.
After he arrived, we took him to a nearby park.
Brinda, who is crazy about photography, wanted to take his picture.
She asked amicably: "May I take a snap?"
My friend was confused. "Now?" he asked.
"Yes," said Brinda, "of course now."
My friend asked again, "You mean you want to take a nap, now?!"
Srijit Bose, Switzerland
Waqt ne kiya…
I'm not too fond of shopping. So you can imagine my state of mind when I had to accompany my wife and two-year-old daughter on one such excursion. My daughter fell asleep as we continued to walk past innumerable display windows.
Just then, I spotted another Indian man, almost 20 years older than me, calmly humming Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam while his wife was busy shopping. For some reason, his calmness irritated me.
We bumped into each other again at the trail room, where both our spouses were trying out new outfits.
I was completely drained out by then and was leaning tiredly against the wall when this gentleman says, "Aap to kafi thake hue aur hairaan lag rahe hain janaab [You are looking extremely harassed and tired]!"
Irritated, I shot back haughtily, "Kya mein aapko jaanta hoon [Do I know you]?"
Pat came the reply, "Koi baat nahi agar nahi jaante. Mai hoon Praveen from Ghaziabad... [It does not matter if you do not know me. I am Praveen from Ghaziabad...]"
Then he started humming the same song again with a smile. That's when I what he was doing -- he was using the song to describe how shopping had actually redefined his relationship with his wife!
Rajneesh Garg, Seattle
Illustrations: Dominic Xavier