Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Husband In Hot Water- True Story

What does a poor man do when he has a misunderstanding with his stroppy wife? Find out what this husband did. 

Meaning of 'dosi' - old lady

Cartoon by Debajyoti from 'Facts and Nonsense'
On one of our walks my husband and I came upon a five year old playing in his garden. When his eyes fell on our dog, he came running to the gate. Our dog went up to him immediately, tail wagging furiously and eyes full of joyous expectancy. The boy stooped down to pat her.

"Hello, little doggy," he said. All of 800 millimeters high, I guess he felt mighty tall compared to her. He looked up at us and asked, "What's your doggy's name?"

"Kara," I said.

"Ka--ra," he felt the name on his tongue, stroking her gently.

"I like it," he pronounced, smiling happily. We were both absurdly pleased with his seal of approval.

“How old is Kara?”

"She's an old lady. She's sixteen," said my husband.

"Oh,” said the young fella, looking up at us with eyes that were suddenly anxious. Mystified, we looked back at his worried face. We could tell he wanted to say something. We waited, encouraging smiles on our faces, as Kara ran off to investigate a smell.

“I have a dog too,” he announced at last.

“Really? What’s your dog’s name?”

“Cuddles,” he said his eyes softening momentarily. The next second they clouded over again. He quickly turned away. We wondered what was bothering him as we watched him, fascinated. What an amazingly mobile face. Unable to keep his worry to himself a moment longer he turned to face us and blurted out, “He and my mum are very old. They’re twenty-one..." His voice trailed away.

If our hearts hadn’t melted at the troubled look on his little face we would have laughed. Instead, with grave faces we assured him twenty-one wasn’t old for humans. Only dogs. A bit comforted he bent down to hide his obvious relief and patted Kara again.

“Fre-dy,” called a soft voice from inside the house. We’d sensed her presence behind a window, ensuring her son was safe as he chatted with strangers at the gate.

“Bye, Kara,” he smiled, waving at us and our dog before running off. “Com-ing...”

With a wave at him that somewhat included his mum, we continued walking.

“I guess that was his old lady,” I smiled.

“We should meet her,” said my husband gravely.

“Why,” I asked, puzzled.

“Just to reassure her twenty-one isn’t old ...” he said, the look in his eye belying his serious tones.

I laughed. His being all of thirty-five I couldn’t resist teasing, “Coming from you that would be perfectly believable.”

“Wonder what the little chap would think of your age,” my darling hubby, four years my junior and not to be outdone, pondered solemnly as he looked for my reaction out of the corners of his eyes.

“Wonder what she’d think of yours,” I retorted, smiling grimly. It was his turn to laugh.

We continued walking in companionable silence. Braced by the heady scent of jasmine and pine mingled with roses we breathed in deeply. The New Zealand air felt crisp and cool. As we approached our favourite park we picked up our pace.

Suddenly, my husband took off from behind. “Come on my two dosi-s*,” he teased as he ran past. Kara would’ve easily caught up with him. Unfortunately for her, she was stuck with me. We chased after him, but he was already sprinting way ahead. We ran around the park, and slightly out of breath, reached the exit closest to home.

Settling back into a leisurely pace I said, “Even with you shooting off without any warning, us dosis came a very close second. Didn’t we Kara?”

Her tongue hanging right out, Kara looked up at me and wagged her tail. My husband, I could tell with an inward smile, was ready with something smart on the tip of his tongue. I waited, only to have him bite it all back. He darted a guilty look at me at exactly the same moment as I looked at him, puzzled. He looked away hastily.

As we neared home, I noticed him glance at me more than once. What’s bothering him? I wondered.

“Hope you’re not upset?”

 “Why would I be?” 

“That quip I made about your being a dosi? That was just a joke.”

Oh, so that was it. “I know,” I replied, lightly. Something in my tone must’ve been at variance with my words for his eyes went to my face and looked away warily. I pretended not to notice.
Why’s he going all apologetic for nothing, I wondered, ever so slightly annoyed. My mind had begun churning out thoughts I couldn’t help. Why does he think I can’t take his calling me a dosi? Does he think I have no sense of humour? Or does he think I’m so overly sensitive it will undermine my confidence?

Slight resentment began seeping through my mind and it showed in my stiffened bearing. Have I ever let my age dictate who I am? My thoughts were on a roll. There simply was no stopping them. Perhaps he has begun worrying about our age difference, I thought uncharitably, knowing it was neither true nor fair.

I kept ignoring his worried looks, pretending it would make matters worse if I said anything right then, while I was feeling negative. I gave myself a little pat on the back for wisely keeping mum. Had I examined my true motives closely, I might have had to face the uncomfortable fact that watching him stew in his apprehensions gave me a perverse sense of gratification.

Finally, realising I was unwilling to admit I was put off he gave up trying to probe. We passed the most majestic of golden ashes, a copper beech with outstanding red foliage that contrasted vividly with the greenery around it, and a eucalyptus that shone silver in a gentle breeze before I managed to get my own thoughts in order.

I felt vaguely ashamed of my silent tantrum but the moment to say anything had somehow passed. I’d apologise some other time. For the rest of our walk we indulged in our favourite pastime of peeking into and commenting on interesting front gardens of private properties. Both pretended to enjoy the exercise as much as we always did, but it was an uneasy truce.

Tired, yet refreshed, we reached home. As we let ourselves in I was acutely conscious of what lay ahead - the inescapable weekend grind. The house, the garden, cooking... I normally attacked it with vigour but today the thought made me grumpy. That I was trying hard to forget how small minded I’d been might have had something to do with it. The kids were away – a sleepover and perhaps a blessing. I needed to work this feeling out of my system but not by slaving over the stove or attending to their needs. Damn the housework, I thought. It can wait.

“I am just not in the mood for cooking,” I sighed and flopped on to the sofa.

“Why don’t we go out for lunch,” he suggested.

“Oh no,” I replied, “Too soon after our walk.”

“What!” he exclaimed, feigning surprise. “Who’s getting ol..” and he stopped in his tracks.

I looked at him in dismay. Oh no, I thought, this has got to stop. This time though, my anger was spent. I just wanted to clear up the misunderstanding.  

I began tentatively, “I’m sorry if I was upset during our walk.”

He shook his head and I don’t know why, it made me emotional. I continued in a distinctly wobbly voice, “I should have cleared the air right when it happened instead of letting it fester.”

“That’s oka...”

“But I was offended at the implied criticism – that I was so totally dour lacking in confidence that I’d get upset if you joked about my being a dosi.”

He opened his mouth to protest but I was eager to carry on giving vent to thoughts I’d bottled up since the walk.

“It made me think to myself, am I such a frump?”

He winced and shook his head weakly. “I... no, of course no..” he began just as I reproached, “I thought you knew me better.”

“I..Yes, yes, of course I do. I mean - know...” and his voice trailed off in confusion.

Having spilt out all that had been spinning and buzzing at the back of my mind, I realised the poor chap needed a little time to gather his thoughts. I decided I’d wait patiently for his words of apology and when they came, I’d accept them graciously.

After an interminable silence I darted him a quick look. Why didn’t he say something? Anything? Oh no! Was he remembering the incident and feeling upset all over again. Should I simply have left well alone - not raked it up? Never mind his apology, wasn’t he at least going to accept mine?

My mind was racing but my heart had slumped into my shoes. I’d almost given up when I felt an arm slowly go about my shoulders. Then he patted them affectionately.

“Sorry, old girl,” he said

Had I heard right? I looked at him suspiciously. He was trying hard to look chastened but his lips were twitching. I watched him, my confused mind trying to grapple with what he’d just done. Three words and he’d managed to say it all. The ratbag! Struggling with how best I should accept those words I watched the tic that still worked at the side of his mouth. Then I caved in. Together, we laughed helplessly.

Never down for long my man was back to being his irrepressible self.

It had turned out to be quite a lovely day after all.

dosi - old lady

Also a guest post on, "Facts and Nonsense" - Debajyoti's blog. Got to thank you for the  hilarious cartoon, Deb. Enjoyed your readers' comments.

More crazy Indians enjoying life in an ad.  

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  1. I was about to ask what does dosi Mean :)

    And this is such a sweet incident and happens so many times with all of us. X says something we understand somethingelse and then we go on different tangent all together. Most of the time ppl don't even clear the air and misunderstandings creep in. I guess ultimately it is on how well tuned u as a couple are :)

    1. That's exactly right, Smita. Thanks. Also, I've put the meaning of dosi at the beginning rather than the end after reading your comment :)

  2. Excellent post. Misunderstandings do happen in our life. Some times it takes us completely apart, some times it catalyses our bonding (after effect :)); should be under control.

    At the end of the day it was lovely :)

  3. Nice one. Small misunderstandings, if not resolved early can create havoc.

    1. Thanks, Aamjunta and Rajesh. Glad you liked it.

  4. Wonderful narration! Brings home the point of how to nurture a relationship.

  5. The crux of a successful relationship is to always go back and remove the folds. Enjoyed reading this.