Few things bother and irritate a 50-plus person more than a pair of misplaced spectacles,’ concluded Siva looking for his visual aid among the clutter on his desk. Having failed to spot it, he summoned his wife, conceding grudgingly that women seemed to have in their anatomy a singular tracking device — which men lacked deplorably.
Pushpa who breezed in said, “guess what?” showing a figurine. Painfully aware that Siva may not see clearly even a white cow in broad daylight without his glasses, she retrieved the pair for him nestling in his shirt pocket.
He wore the spectacles with as much dignity as an embarrassed husband could muster and peered at the object in her hand. It was a pair of small birds mounted on a base, having a tête-à-tête. Not being a knowledgeable bird-watcher, he could not name them or as bonus supply their genus in Latin.
“They are turtle doves,” volunteered Pushpa. “Shantha Sadagopan gave me. Did you know, if this pair is kept at home, the couple living there will remain close without fighting with each other, ever?”
Siva snorted derisively, a reflex action of his, whenever he took a dim view of Pushpa’s utterances, which was often. However, having had a surfeit of skirmishes with her recently, he chose to remain tight-lipped, like the axiomatic diplomat who would think twice before saying nothing. With a dreamy look, she continued, “I’ll keep it on your writing table in the bedroom.”
“What?,” he thundered, rearing up, eyes flashing. “No way. The table is crowded, full up — with no room even for a staple pin. Certainly not for birds. If by accident it gets broken, you will nag till your tongue falls out — like your wonderful mother.”
Pushpa sneered. “How dare you drag my mother into this? You think yours is an angel graced with care, concern and halo and wings? Listen. Did you not agree last week you’ll never drag my mother in our arguments?”
He nodded. “Yes, I did agree I’ll not drag that birdbrain in our arguments.” Before Pushpa could return fire, Siva raised his right hand like a traffic policeman. “Look, be fair. You didn’t allow me to shift that table which was a vaastu requisite. So why should I welcome the birds on my table? Turtle doves, my left foot. The way we fight, one pair may not be enough. We might require a flock. Will your Shantha give that many? About my birdbrain remark, well, it was a slip of the tongue from a hungry and so angry man.”
Pushpa shot up like a spring. “My god! I completely forgot you didn’t have dinner last night. You must be terribly hungry. I’ve made adai and avial the way you boast your mother makes it. Will be ready in a minute.” She vanished into the kitchen, leaving the turtle doves duo staring blankly.