How many fingers do you have ?
I have ten. One of them, got cut, while performing a rare act of cutting vegetables.
Just one finger, out of ten, partially and temporarily became less active. That hardly 10% disability played havoc and I had to depend on Ammalu for many of my routines, ever for transferring water from a bucket to the valley at my lower back for the purpose of cleaning.
Ammalu is my heart beat, but it was not a pleasant idea to hear the beats within the walls of a place where privacy was of paramount necessity.
Anyway, that experience taught me a big lesson and brought me closer to her ( her inevitable company in the wrong place in wrong time, not withstanding).
This was what happened.
In the climax of our closeness and romance, she told me, ‘you are my finger!’
You don’t expect such a claim from your sweet heart.
‘You are my breath’ or ‘You are my life’ or ‘you are my everything’
or she could have even said, ‘you are my ration card’ as that was a precious possession, those days. Instead, she said, ‘you are my finger!’
I screamed at her, got out in anger and sat under the banyan tree in the village corner. Ammalu too went to meet her mother to discuss how to control my anger.
Her mother, who had received several BMIL ( best mother in law) prizes, from her club, gave a simple advice.
‘When he cools down, request him politely, to cut vegetables’
Lowering her chin and smiling, like a wife receiving her husband returning from Dubhai along with a trunk full of gifts he had accumulated from his toiling of three years, Ammalu came near me and pleaded, ‘could you kindly cut one lady finger for me?’
‘Why one, I will cut a hundred Ammalu’. I agreed forgetting that she was still on some finger!
I did cut, not the lady finger but my own!
While undergoing problems in holding pen, pencil, umbrella and other umpteen items, I mentioned, casually to my wife, ‘I never realized that finger, a single finger is so important that I had to depend on you, even for my minimum needs. Without finger, one can’t live a quality life’
Ammalu’s face became like a tomato fruit, wax polished and stored in a freezer with a glass window in an American store.
‘That was why I told you that you are my finger’
She said, gently, gracefully.