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Wife-battered life

”Enough of this wife-battered life”, my friend Pattabhi lamented when I met him an year ago and vowed in utter desperation,” if you want to  meet me next time, you should climb the steep Himalaya mountains or plunge into the deep Ganges”.
” Where is that good lady, your wife? I am not seeing her here”,  I inquired looking for her, in every corner of the house.
“You call her a lady? She is a karadi, bear, who sucked honey form my bank and blood from my body”.
He got up from his seat to emphasize his hatred for her and headed towards me as if I was  that carnivorous animal he wanted to do away with.
I got up but  wanted to  explain to him that I am a different person, in fact his close friend and not his wife.
Ammalu pulled my hand and said with a smile, ” he will recoup, this is a mild infection. Let us go”
”Mild infection!”, I chided her, ” it is a wild, incurable problem. He has thrown away his wife from home; they are never going to meet each other”
She smiled again as if Pattabhi’s  problem was no problem at all and every morning and evening, she had been meeting such estranged couples.
One year rolled by.  I wanted to go to my friend’s house and find out whether he had already left for the mountains but Ammalu said,” wait”.  So, I waited.
This morning, he was waiting for the bus while I was passing through. Stopped my car, asked him to board. Thank God that he didn’t embark on his mountain expedition  or had come back, unable to bear the climatic conditions there. I was relieved. Wanted to enquire about his life  sans wife,  but Ammalu signaled, ‘wait’. So, I waited.
”Where do I drop you, Pattabhi?”, I asked when I was about to reach my destination.
“At Kalyani Nursing home. Pattu has given birth to a girl baby and I want you to come along with me and bless the child” .
I almost got up from my seat out of surprise and happiness but Ammalu signaled ‘wait’ and I waited.
After blessing the baby and greeting the parents, I whispered into Pattabhi’s ear, ” glad that you saved me from the trouble of climbing the mountains or diving into the river. We could meet on a plane surface and that on a very happy occasion.”
”Anna, any problems which you don’t want to share with me?”, enquired Pattu. Before I wanted to reply her, Ammalu signaled ‘wait’. I waited. But, my friend answered: ” Anna seems to have some misunderstandings with Ammalu manni, but you don’t worry; that is a minor infection.”
Infections are there every where, I thought and  raised my hand to slap that guy but Ammalu signaled,’ no’; so I kept quiet.
After coming home, I casually mentioned to Ammalu, “enough of this wife-battered life. if you want to  meet me next time, you should climb the steep Himalaya mountains or plunge into the deep Ganges.”
Her response was not encouraging: “Old man, don’t nourish any such ambitions. My reproduction cell is locked, sealed and abandoned”

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