Some Accounts -men see only accounts in everything. Life is a ledger of credits and debit columns for them. My friend Muthukrishnan was an auditor with good credit balance of expertise. Mostly, he used to be on tour and during the few days having food at home, his wife, affectionately used to stand by his side, after serving appropriate food at the appropriate slot on the leaf at appropriate time, watching what he enjoyed and what to serve next. He never realized the significance of her waiting and used to ask always, stupid questions such as, ‘how may tomatoes did you use for the sambar?’ etc.
I happened to join him for dinner one evening when Lakshmi had made Pavakkai potla and invited me for food as she was aware of my liking for that item.
“You have served us the first round; why don’t you too join us, Lakshmi? We will help ourselves for the next rounds,” I invited her.
“That is Ok, Shivudu. Let him finish his food,” she said and continued to wait by her husband, looking at is face and leaf before him.
“Your puliodarai and Pavakkai pitla are made for each other, like you and Muthu,” I commented and looked at her face. Her eyes were swollen. Was there a droplet of tears on her right eye, awaiting to escape from the tight hold?
After food, I called Lakshmi aside and enquired, ‘anything wrong?’
She confided: ‘every time I serve him food, I long to hear one word of appreciation of any one item I served, from him and wait eagerly, patiently, by his side. Not once, did your friend say a good word so far. When you commented appreciating my puliodarai and Pavakkai pitla, I became emotional”
I was moved. No words came to my rescue to console her.
Motivation is very important for any job. A pat on the back of an employee or a letter of appreciation from the boss rekindles his spirits. The ‘besh’ praise from the vocalist, in the presence of the audience, stimulates the percussionists. A house wife whose field of activity is restricted to the four walls of her house and she diverts her entire time and energy to take care of her husband and children . Natural for her to expect a word of appreciation, encouragement from her husband. The present womenfolk with other activities may not be that sensitive to the admiration of their culinary art, though everyone likes praises, especially a wife from her husband .
My wife had her own way of tackling the issue. She used to ask, ‘did I add more salt?’ Or, ‘is it too spicy?’ Or, ‘ I should have switched off the cooker one whistle -before , perhaps ‘ etc.
‘No, Ratnam. Very tasty is your food today,’ I used to reply.
I had made her day!