I dropped into a friend R's place (the one from Maternity Ward incident) to borrow a few DVDs. At that moment another friend, F, dropped in as well. While I was chatting, Bhabi (R's wife) asked us to stay for dinner - she had prepared chilli chicken.
"Sure, why not?" I replied. I had nothing planned. F consented too. Bhabi said she had to put the baby to sleep and excused herself. So we had 10 minutes to kill before she returned to serve us dinner.
For some reason the conversation turned to marriage and life after marriage. R, being the married man, began to share his profound thoughts.
"Man, marriage can be a constraining affair." R said. "You develop a tail."
"Tail?" We both asked.
"Yes, tail." R explained. "Wife and kids. Wherever I go, I have a tail now. I want to make some plans, I have to clear it with your Bhabi. Weekends, the kids have something to do, or there's some housework to be done."
"I see." This ofcourse, was running counter to my thoughts about marriage, which ran closely to how Bollywood portrayed it. Unrealistic - probably. Pleasant dreams - absolutely! R, a happily married man, was warning us to keep our expectations low.
"When I was in college," R continued, "my four roommates and I used to party into the night. Now I take your Bhabi to the movies - only if I can get my parents to babysit - and that's pretty much it."
"Moreover," R wasn't finished. "marriage is responsibility. You guys should now enjoy yourselves. Don't wear chains, don't ..."
At this moment the bedroom door opened, Bhabi had presumably put the baby to sleep. Since R couldn't trash marriage in front of her, he wisely shut up. Bhabi went to the kitchen, and pretty soon we were told that dinner was served.
As we tucked into the chilli chicken and rice, R commented on how tasty it was.
"Thank you," Bhabi had a smile, "but I am sure one of your 4 college roommates could've cooked better."
R had a puzzled look on his face at the reply, but continued to eat nonchalantly. Me? My spidey sense started to tingle furiously. Something was not right.
Soon, F asked how the new baby was treating her and R.
"Well," Bhabi replied, "the baby does wake up at odd hours, but you expect that. Joys and chains of being a parent, you see." She had subtly placed an emphasis on the word 'chains'.
Even R had a wary look on his face now. F and I exchanged glances. This was getting interesting. She couldn't have overheard R from all the way from behind a closed door in the bedroom, could she?
"Any plans this weekend?" I asked, after some time.
"No," Bhabi interrupted before R could reply. "R has to take us to my mother's. When you get a long tail you have to wag it - you see."
R almost choked on his food. Bhabi had a twinkle in her eye. When she glanced at us she had a hint of a smile. I knew now for sure she had overheard the conversation.
I finished the dinner quickly. So did F. We both bid adieu in a haste to leave. R looked at us as if we were abandoning him on a sinking ship, escaping with the only lifeboat.
As we crossed the living room where R had regaled us with the talk of chains and 'tails' of marriage, and for which he would now be in the soup, we heard a baby's cry. From behind the sofa. It was coming from a white object on the shelf.
Baby monitor. Ofcourse! Like a two-way walkie-talkie, baby monitors come as a pair. You place one of them near the baby's cot, and another to wherever you were seated. It worked exactly like the walkie-talkie. As soon as the baby cried, his voice would be transmitted to wherever you were seated. On the sofa. And as soon as you talked, let's say on why marriage is bad and has chains and tails, your voice would be transferred to wherever the baby was.
Or wherever the baby was being put to sleep by your wife.
And to top it all off - the baby monitors were a gift from me.
Tags: Desi Marriage Family Wife