The call

“Ravi, did you practise and rehearse at home, like I told you?”

“I don’t need to rehearse, Priti. I know what I am doing. I have been doing this since long before I even met you.”

“But this is not your usual event, Ravi. It’s special.”

“Special? What do you think is so special about it?”

“Well, it is not just the usual prayer and song meeting, you know.”

“I know that. I have performed at meetings of this type before. Many times, in fact.”

“But you have never had me with you.”

“I know. And I’ve always managed perfectly well.”

“I don’t think so. You want me here. You need me here. And, deep inside, you know you do.”

“I do?”

“Yes, you do.”

“Why, my precious little gift from the gods?”

“Because you know that without me, you are nothing. Without me, you have no confidence. Without me, you will forget your role. Without me, you will be incapable of making your performance as you should.”

“Then how do you suppose I have managed all these times, for all these years?”

“That, Ravindran Shankaranpillai Nair, is one of life’s mysteries.”

“Have you ever heard any complaints about my performances?”

“No, I haven’t?”

“And why do you suppose that is?”

“Look at me. I am a woman. I am your wife. No man will complain to a woman about her husband’s poor performance, especially where such matters as these are concerned.”

“My before wife never spoke of any complaints, either.”

“Again. Woman, wife – why are you surprised?”

“Listen. Shankar is starting up the introduction music. The men are beginning to take their places. I must prepare.”

“And there’s another thing. Why am I the only woman here?”

“Perhaps it is because none of the other men has a wife who does not trust him.”

“No, Ravi. It is because these events are always advertised as being for men only. Why is that?”

“Now you are going too far, Priti. It would be unseemly for a woman to take part in this activity. Particularly one who should now be at home preparing the evening meal for her husband and children.”

“So you are one of those men who think that a woman’s place is in the home. Is that what you are telling me?”

“Where else would she be?”

“You don’t believe that a woman can function as an individual, only as an appendage of her husband?”

“Priti – why would she want to? Where would any self-respecting woman want to be if not in the very heart of a well-run household, doing what she was born and brought up to do?”

“And yet here I am. And, for your information. I do respect myself – more, it seems, than my husband does!”

“Yes, you are here. But remember. This was your idea, not mine. I expect we’ll end up having to eat at a hotel this evening because you have not prepared our meal.”

“At least if we eat at a hotel, the owner will have some income to buy food for his family.”

“True. Food that his wife will prepare. At home. In the heart of her well-run household. While the man does his work to provide for her and the children.”

“Is that what you’re doing here, Ravi? Doing your work to provide for your family? And when will you make me with child, so we can be a real family, not just a couple?”

“Alright. I’m not paid for this. I do this as a service to our temple and its community.”

“And you still expect me to stay at home while you’re here taking pleasure.”

“Who said anything about pleasure? This is still a job.”

“But one that pays no bills. And what about my other question. When will you make me with child, so we can be a family, not just a couple?”

“Can we talk about that later, at home?”

“No, husband. I want to talk about it now.”

“I’m sorry, but we can’t. The music has stopped, the clients are poised and ready, I must start.”

“Then start.”

“Thank you.” [Switches on the microphone] “Good afternoon gentlemen. On card number one, we’re looking for the four corners; and the first number is: clickety-click, sixty-six…”


I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 165, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.


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