All newly weds would have some interesting anecdote about their spouse. Highly mushy incidents related with the honeymoon hangover. Even if you have known your guy/gal for 5 years or more before marriage, you will still discover something quirky that you would relate in front of courteously amused friends. This is an incident which happened within a month of our marriage. The days when I still bothered to be a good housekeeper ( or at least felt guilty about it). And this story always reminds me of why I am married this guy 🙂
This happened on New Year’s eve 2007
It was one of those rare days when Chandu had got home early. It was still one of those early settling in periods when I could use all the help I could get to set up house.( its another matter altogether that now, 10 years later, I have given up the endeavour of trying to “set up” my house – this is an eternal bachelors’ pad)
I asked Chandu to go and buy some grocery (or something along those lines). As he was running out, I asked him to pick up some fresh flowers for the house (yeah…. He is a sweetheart but if you want something as pretty as flowers, you better mention that very specifically!)
Our hero is gone for an hour or so. I get a call from Shelly( my old roomate) telling me that her wedding date is fixed. While I am gushing at the good news and giving her all my newly acquired “weddingy” experiences, the bells ring. Since its almost 10 pm I am positive its Chandu.
While still on the phone, I go and open the door between continuing to congratulate Shelly and bid her good night. I guess it was only fair that I was expecting to see my prince charming standing at the door brandishing a bouquet of flowers ( I was willing to act all surprised and totally swooned over by the gesture – even though I had specifically asked him to pick up flowers).
Now if I were to describe Chandu’s posture and gait to someone who has not seen him, the two most precise words would be “unaligned” and “uncoordinated”. So there’s my boy standing outside with a very Mohanlal like tilt. The large grocery bag is dangling from his left hand. And in his right hand, held firmly and close to his chest is a closely cropped …………….. BROOM!!
I was appalled…. No..No… I was beyond appalled. It was one of those moments when you feel something heavy dropping in your belly…. It kind of takes your breath away and you are just not able to name the various emotions that rush through your head. Well, anyone who knows me would naturally assume that I read him the riot act…. But surprisingly I did not.
It was one of those conflicting moments between the brain and the heart. The brain telling me… “Yes, yes… it is a broom…the lowly thing that sweeps and cleans …. You asked for flowers and he got you a broom… now SCREAM at him… Aarrrhhhh!” and the heart, desperately seeking some salvage value out of the disaster telling you, “There has to be an explanation…. C’mon, of course you knew he was different from other guys (that’s why u married him)…. Take a deep breath and let’s just give him that one last chance to save his life…..Grrrrrrrrrr”
I was so busy trying to control my tongue that it was all I could do to breathe and not talk. All I could manage was one exasperated sentence that was somewhere between a question and an exclamation… “It’s a broom…?!”
Now Chandu is someone who has sold his soul completely to world of plastic cards….. He is waiting for the day when he can pay the pani-puri guy and auto rickshaws with his credit card ( I write this Jules Verne line in 2009 and now we have Ola ). So, as usual he had the bare minimum cash on him. Grocery done, beer purchasing done and he were left with about 20/25 bucks to buy flowers.
Now you can hear the story in Chandu’s words.
“I bought some beer and was walking around Gokuldham (Mumbai) looking for the flower shop when I noticed this little kid of about 4 or 5 perched on the carrier of a cycle. She was fast asleep with her head resting on the seat. The cycle looked like a haystack on wheels with a lot of brooms of palm leaves tied all around it – on both handle bars, tied in bundles on the front bar and around the carrier, even just behind the seat so the kid was half resting on the brooms and half on the seat…. Quite an interesting sight to behold. Unconsciously my gait swerved a bit towards the cycle and before I could get my guard back on, a dishevelled man in a banian and lungi accosted me
“Ek jhaadu le lo saab… ekdum majboot banaya hai. Lamba chalega” He was demonstrating the durability of the broom by tugging at the grip.
I couldn’t care less. But my attention kept going back to the kid resting her head on a pillow of brooms on the cycle.
“ ye aise kyun so rahi hai” ( Why is she sleeping like this?)
“ subah se kuch khaya nahi hai na saab… iss liye…. “ ( She hasn’t eaten anything since morning)
“ saab, koi jhaadu nahi khareedha aaj…. Dhandha bilkul nahi hua hai” ( I have not sold any broom today. No business at all)
“ ek ka kithna hai”( How much is one?)
“mujhe do jhaadu de do” (I will take two)
Cut to circa 2018 – Chandu has progressed to the level that he actually gets me flowers – sometimes even without me asking for them!! Somehow no bouqet has ever looked as pretty as that broom.