It was a lovely potted plant with two blood red roses caressing one another. The plant was nestled in a cane basket that was painted white. Just perfect as a gift for a bride on her wedding day. Besides, a plant symbolised fertility and a green environment. For me it was certainly preferable to a gift of an ornamental bouquet that dazzled more with synthetic superiority than any natural beauty. I took the basket home from the store and sprinkled some water on the plant. That should keep it fresh till the wedding reception in the evening, I thought.
Just when we were about to leave for the reception that evening I discovered to my shock that one of the two flowers had wilted! On closer inspection, I discovered that the stem on which one of the flowers had bloomed had been snapped at its base. Someone had not only broken the stem, but had also cleverly concealed the offence. What a crafty piece of mischief!
I looked to my wife and asked, “Now tell me, which one of them was it?” She had her astute ways of ‘divining’ our children’s conduct and cornering the culprit. But she was being miserly in sharing her findings with me. I tried to encourage her by quoting a story about George Washington. “Washington, you must have surely read, reportedly cut down his father’s favourite cherry tree and then manfully owned up to it, in spite of the risk of inviting the wrath of a fuming father. I wish my children were made of such mettle!”
She laughed. “You are in a wrong epoch, my dear, if you are still hanging on to George Washington’s honesty. Today belongs to George Bush — admit no responsibility!”
I winced. So she won’t cooperate in solving the ‘whodunnit’, at least, not immediately. In any case, in her current mood she would only humour me in front of the very children who deserved to be chastised! Better to probe further into the case later on.
“There’s no time to fetch another plant from the market,” I said. “So we will have to decide: To overlook the broken stem and present the basket to the couple as it is, or to remove the offending stem and present a solitary rose to them?”
My wife swiftly resolved what I had perceived as a Hamletian dilemma. Before I could say ‘George...’, she had removed the broken stem from the basket and dumped it unceremoniously in the garbage bin, wilted rose and all.
“There,” she quipped, “that still leaves us with one full beautiful rose in an attractive basket.”
I raised my eyebrows. “But a single rose for two persons? Wouldn’t that look rather measly on our part?”
She looked at me as if I were a numbskull. “After marriage a couple are ‘one’ — two bodies linked to one soul. So it’s befitting to celebrate their oneness with a single romantic rose!”
“Wow!” I couldn’t help admiring her logic. In fact, I was so swept away by her sensual chimera that I wished the newly-weds to have a proliferation of roses on the charming plant, as also in the size of their family!