“Where were you? I’ve been ringing the bell for over five minutes. Were you taking a bath?”

“Taking a bath so early in the evening? No way! I was in the arms of Morpheus.”

“You were in the arms of another man? When...”

“Relax, will you? When you tell someone that you were in the arms of Morpheus, what you mean is that you were fast asleep.”

“I see. Who is this Morpheus?”

“He is the god of dreams in Roman and Greek mythology. So when you are in his arms, you are in the land of dreams.”

“Do you want to return to the arms of Morpheus? I can always come back later.”

“Not really! I’ve been in his arms most of the afternoon. Do you know that it is from Morpheus that we get the word morphine?”

“Guess that explains why people who are given morphine have the feeling they are in a dream world. So, how was lunch with your boss?”

“O.K, I guess.”

“What do you mean, ‘O.K, I guess.’ Didn’t it turn out to be the dream lunch you’d hoped for?”

“Not really. It turned into a nightmare the moment he asked me to pick up the tab.”

“Pick up the tab? What tab?”

“A tab is the bill. When somebody asks you to pick up the tab...”

“They want you to pay the bill.”

“Exactly! It’s an informal expression mostly used in American English. Usually, when you go out with someone, it is the person who invites you who picks up the tab.”

“Even I know that! And that’s the reason, I don’t invite anyone. How about this example? Since the accident took place in the office, the company was willing to pick up the tab.”

“Sounds good! Whenever I go out with my friend Govind, we take turns picking up the tab. Sometimes, we go Dutch.”

“You and Govind go Dutch! Why don’t you go Indian?”

“Not very funny, I’m afraid. When you go Dutch with someone, you share the bill. You pay for what you have eaten, and he pays for what...”

“For what he’s eaten. Understood. Whenever my friends and I go out, we invariably go Dutch.”

“That’s what most students do. I thought my boss would pick up the tab for today’s lunch. The least he could have done is...”

“Forget about your silly boss, will you? Did you hear about Harish and Mythili?”

“Yes, I believe they have called off their wedding. The news of the cancellation hit me right between the eyes.”

“Hit you right between the eyes? What are you talking about?”

“When you say that something hit you right between the eyes, it means, it shocked you. This week’s article on how corrupt our politicians are hit me right between the eyes.”

“Corruption and politicians go together. Why should the news hit you between the eyes? How about this example? The filthy condition of the hospital hit them right between the eyes.”

“That’s a wonderful example. Are we going to the new ice cream parlour on M.G. Road today?”

“Why don’t we go after dinner?”

“Sounds like a good idea.”

“Will you be picking up the tab?”

“Nice try. Let’s go Dutch.”

“Women like silent men. They think they are listening.”Marcel Archard

S. UPENDRAN