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Updated: August 18, 2013 00:27 IST

You don’t know my wife!

Jose Manavalan
Comment (11)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

I was taught in my early life that whatever happens, there is no use being bitter. Never be sour, whatever happens. On the other hand, even non-events upset my wife. If there is cobweb or gossamer hanging from the roof, or, if the roof leaks during rain, she start complaining and even gets into a rage. She raises her voice as if I had climbed up and put cobwebs on the roof or made holes therein.

My house, perhaps, is one of the oldest in Ernakulam. Most houses, almost as old as ours, were either pulled down to build commercial complexes or sold to apartment builders. The result: the area is replete with tall buildings and my house and the next one look like a couple of ducklings among a group of stately Chinese ganders. Thomas, my neighbour, would always joke: “Our two houses will definitely find a place in Ripley’s Book of Records.”

The front yard is full of trees — mango, jack fruit, tamarind, wood apple — and my house sits under their shadow. We spend most of our time in the open verandah that faces the road.

My wife would look at the flats in the high-rise buildings and murmur: “Lucky people! Not much to clean and no guests to feed.”

My wife’s complaint is that there are 13 rooms in our house but none is habitable. “Have you heard of a bedroom having windows on all sides? Why? Is some kind of exhibition going on in the room? If I want to change my dress, I have to close all six windows and three doors. It is high time that we moved into a flat,” she grumbled.

Very soon, we had to attend the funeral of her distant uncle. After retirement, he and his wife were living in a flat. Those years, flats were not popular. When we reached there, all rooms were crowded with people — they were occupying even the kitchen and bathrooms; and a heated discussion was going on on how to take the body down from the 10th floor. The seven-foot coffin could not be carried in the lift, which was only five feet in length. Carrying the body down the staircase was also not feasible as it was too narrow and winding.

Somebody suggested that the body, secured inside the coffin, be dropped spreading rubber beds on the ground floor to soften the impact. Another genius suggested airlifting the coffin from the rooftop which was only a floor away. Finally, my wife came to their rescue.

She ordered them to put the body in the coffin and close the lid. She ordered that both ends of the coffin be tightly secured with strong plastic ropes. She recruited three strong persons and asked them to enter the lift with the coffin held in a vertical position. In five seconds it reached the ground floor. People began asking one another: “Who is that girl?” Someone asked me too without knowing who I was. I said: “I don’t know; but I know her phone number.”

Thereafter, her refrain changed to: “It is enough if we move to a small house”.

You don’t know my wife!

(The writer is an advocate. Email:

More In: Open Page | Opinion

It is one thing to appreciate flats which appear nice when we visit our
friends but for one who has lived in an independent bungalow it will be
a different experience to live in one. Those who were 'forced' to sell
or convert their bungalow into flats would praise it in public but in
private would moan "nothing like an independent house !" Anyway flats,
compact ones will be the norm in future for one specific reason:
expensive and scarce domestic servant.

from:  S. Rajagopalan
Posted on: Aug 20, 2013 at 13:45 IST

Nice One, thanks for making me smile

from:  puchun
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 12:30 IST

Nice one.Once more proved that you can never win over your wife.

from:  Tarun
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 02:24 IST

Your property seems to be a heritage house..maybe convert it into a
guest house...restore it and make use of it, will bring in additional
income to hire people to look after it..your wife will be happy i

from:  Nina
Posted on: Aug 18, 2013 at 20:47 IST

Funny.. So true ..

from:  Pankaj S
Posted on: Aug 18, 2013 at 20:23 IST

Though it appears to be a 'fable' there is a moral! And Chnange is always permanent.!!

from:  p.m.gopalan
Posted on: Aug 18, 2013 at 18:21 IST

Really a good one. It made me to think about the future. Everyone are eager to own a flat but don't think of the small house surrounded by trees and its environment.

from:  purnima
Posted on: Aug 18, 2013 at 15:51 IST

I would sincerely agree to your"You don't know my wife" quote. It was
simple but humorous.

Thanks for making me smile.

from:  Vinay Paramanand
Posted on: Aug 18, 2013 at 08:44 IST

It is an interesting story. In family life, social life, professional field, in administrative field, And in all areas where human beings are involved, there will be difference of opinion. It Will be good, if decorum is maintained. In this case, the lady of the house wanted a flat, Possibly because the ladies who were staying in the neighbor hood might have looked at Her with contempt, in staying in an old fashioned house. You were particular to stay in your Old house, as you were emotionally attached to the house. Both the views, according to me Are valid. In this case, your wife has shown her brilliance in bringing down the dead body in The lift and that was great. Now she wants a small house. She is brilliant and there will be A valid reason for her present desire as well. You can be proud of your wife. Wish you both A very happy and harmonious life. The new Malayalam year 1189 will bring glory to you Both.

from:  C p Chandra das
Posted on: Aug 18, 2013 at 06:45 IST

Well written! I remember the same situation my friend was in when his
father died and the body had to be moved from the first floor. Thank
god it was just one floor.

from:  Anand
Posted on: Aug 18, 2013 at 01:53 IST

Really good one. Hilarious with a profound lesson.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Aug 18, 2013 at 01:29 IST
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