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You have to be choosy in your words while talking to even a close relative. Once I told Ammalu ( not now, long ago, during our honeymoon days, when we commit all blunders and regret life long):

‘Ammalu, you are the most beautiful woman, I have ever come across in the world’

‘How many you have come across?’, she asked.

‘A few thousands,’ I replied.

‘Then, you are bluffing’, she admonished me, ‘if it were a few hundreds, I would have accepted your compliment’

I never realized till then that the gap between a hundred and a thousand is so wide!

Ammalu, my friends are repositories of kindness. Ammini is an epitome of kindness. Pattu is pristine merciful—‘

‘SP, enough. I follow my mother’s advice. ‘Be kind only to your husband and be cruel to other women’s husbands. I can’t change and I won’t.’

Ammalu, I want to gift a cell phone for you’

‘Thanks, but I don’t need’

‘Why Ammalu? When you go out ( most of the time you are out), you may like to talk to your friends’

‘Yes, most of the time, I’m out to escape from your nagging but I don’t need a cell phone ‘

‘Why Ammalu?’

‘The moment I have it, you will follow me wherever I go and when I talk to someone you will come near me to overhear. Once the talk is over, you will enquire, like an old time mother- in -law, who it was I was talking to, that person’s sex, age, house address, height, weight etc.
No, SP, I don’t want a cell phone ‘

‘Did my mother nag you, ever?’

‘Only once, when I entered your home for the first time, after our wedding’

‘But, we didn’t have a phone, then’

‘She was enquiring what we were talking in the bullock, during our journey’

‘She was with us in the same cart’

‘She was throughout except for a short while, when you got out of the cart to see whether our other carts too were following us. Then she asked, ‘what was my son telling you, while getting out of the cart just now?’.
I told her, ‘amma, you son was asking whether I could drive the cart. I told him, ‘I can drive the bullocks, you drive the cart’

‘A foolish answer it was, Ammalu. My mother would have thought that you were an unadulterated idiot’

‘Quiet possible. But, then on, she never asked, ‘what my son told you?’


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