Rosy, my wife, is always blunt and outspoken. She has no compunction in telling anyone on his/her face harsh things — like he/she is a bore and moron. She always boasts of being matter-of-fact and plainspoken. Some people who come to my house at odd hours lean on the calling bell and remain there for minutes. This raises her hackles. When Mary, our maid, was about to go and enquire, Rosy would intervene and say that she would see who it was. I was sure that something would happen and I was praying that the visitor should not be anybody all of us knew. Rosy went out like hurricane Sandy. I remained in the bedroom from where I could hear what was going on. She opened the door and glared at the person waiting on the steps. “Do you think that we are all deaf in this house! A calling bell is not an alarm bell to be used to scare the owners of the property you visit. Have you got a licence to wake up all the people in this city? Now, what is the purpose of your visit?”
Fortunately, he was a stranger wanting financial help for treatment of his ailing son. When she heard his sob story, her christian charity surprised everyone. On another occasion, I was not so fortunate. While we were having breakfast, the calling bell shrieked continuously. Even our neighbours peeked out of their windows. Rosy jumped from her seat and rushed to the door. There was a presentable young man with his wife waiting on the steps. “Why this ruckus? We thought our house was on fire,” my wife shouted
“Auntie, we didn’t do anything out of the way. We thought this device is there for us to use. We use the button and the button sticks there longer than necessary ringing the bell continuously and what we can do?”
Rosy was impressed but a sense of humiliation could be seen on her face. She tried the bell button and found it exactly as described by the visitor. She immediately relented and asked: “You have come to see Jo?”
“Yes, I am Jo’s cousin from Parur and this is my wife, Leela. We didn’t see you at our marriage and mummy wanted us to see both of you.”
“My God, you are Anna ammai’s son Jojo? We couldn’t come for your marriage because that day my mother fell in the bathroom and broke her ankle.” Rosy was adept in wounding others and, like a Good Samaritan, putting balm on the wound. She realised she had done a wrong thing to Jojo and she knew how best to atone for it. The visitors were forced to stay for lunch and the dishes spread on the table perplexed them. They enjoyed the meal very much.
When they were about to leave, Rosy called Jojo’s wife by her side and said: “I am very much pleased with you, Leela. As a mark of my love for you, I give you a small gift and please accept it. Every year, during the jackfruit season, I make this halva, jack fruit halva, and divide it into portions each weighing 500 grams and pack each one in plastic bag and deepfreeze it. I feel that if you sincerely wish to give a present to someone, it should be one made by yourself undergoing hard labour. Then only it becomes a gift. I made this after days of exertion. “Jojo, you are lucky to have such a nice wife.”
Their initial mortification gave place to acute reverence. Her strategy to appease Jojo and his wife was a coup de maitre.
A few hours later the calling bell shrieked like mad. I thought Rosy would go like a wild bull to the front door. She didn’t. She wanted Mary to go and see what was happening. Thank God!
(The writer is an advocate. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keywords: human interest