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The story of an umbrella and a stick

The story of an umbrella and a stick.

My father used to say that in our families, women live longer than men. An exception was my wife and fortunately for him, he preceded her.

There has to be a scientific basis for every happening unless the celestial masters opt to intervene in human affairs. Now, I discovered the reason for the longevity of women in my family- they were all housewives!

How do house wives live longer. They are active always, physically and mentally. Their brain is alert and limbs on motion throughout their waking life!

Yes, during my short tenure as ‘house keeper’, I have found that
a house wive does maximum physical and mental exercise as a matter of routine, as necessitated by her job. See my case. I don’t go to Gym nowadays and there is no need for that as I shuttle a hundred times between hall, kitchen, verandas, portico and backyard and font gate of my house.

Why to the front gate? To buy vegetables, raw maize and many other items after bargaining from the vendors who come to our gate to sell. Time has to be set aside to chat with the neighbors who come out of their houses seeing my face, as if they were waiting from the morning for me to come out for discussing on various issues, some of them of extreme importance.

Now coming to the mental exercise. See how active and alert my mind has to be.

The servant woman, YAdamma, switches on the lights and fans in all rooms before sweeping the floors and swabbing and despite repeated instructions, doesn’t put those off when the need is over. So, I keep a watch peeping into all the rooms. Suddenly, I remember that I forgot to switch off the stove which I should have done ten minutes before. I rush to the kitchen. The water kept for heating had already transformed into vapors and the bottom of the vessel had started turning black. The servant asks, ‘eami Saar, maritchupoyAra?- you forgot?’ That was her way of teasing me for blaming her for not switching off the lights and fans!

My brain starts working. How to pay back this old woman in the same coin?
Vicha Anna asks, ‘Anna Chukku vellam is not ready yet?’

‘Vicha, your water has gone up!’ I tell him .

‘When did water started going up?’ He asks to tease, ‘water finds its way to go down!’

No time to argue with him. I keep another vessel full of water when driver Ali asks for an umbrella. I tell him that I have only one umbrella and I need it. ‘Then, how will go I back home, Sir?’, he asks as if it was written in my employment offer that I should provide him with an umbrella or rain coat when it rains.

‘Don’t go’. I tell him in anger.

‘Teekey, Saheb, chai banavo’ – ‘ok, make tea for me’.

‘Naaku kooda chaya kAvAli Sir’ I too want tea, says Yadamma, the servant woman.

‘Didn’t Lakshmi give you?’ I ask her. Lakshmi, our cook, has gone back after finishing her morning duty.

‘She gave, but a cat came, tilted the tumbler’

‘I let out the cat to tilt your tea tumbler?’, I ask her.

I go in search of the cat in each and every corner and in that process, locate an umbrella behind the built in cupboard.

‘When did I buy this umbrella?’ I ask myself. To the best of my knowledge I haven’t spent a pie to buy an umbrella or a rain coat or a hat.

‘Could it be my KasiyAtra umbrella? There was a stick too which Amman, my father in law presented to me during my wedding, Where is that? I search for the stick in every nook and corner and Yadamma reminds that the water kept for Vicha had again gone as vapor.

‘Chukku vellam ready Atcha, Anna?’ He enquires.

‘The water has gone up again,’ comments YAdamma.

‘Saheb, chatri hena aapka hatmae?’, – there is an umbrella in your hand!’, teases Ali.

‘But where is the stick?’ , I ask him.

‘What stick?’, he asks in bewilderment.

‘Sir is looking for a stick to chase cat,’ Comments Yadamma.

‘But, where is cat? It would have reached London now!’ Comments Ali.

I go almost mad! What else do you need to keep mind alert and active which, combined with physical movements, leads to longevity?

No, but that is not the end of the story. The stick which I was searching for is hanging from another corner! That makes me sad, very sad. The person who gifted the umbrella and stick and also many others who were present then, are no more. Even the girl for whose wedding those were gifted is no more, but the bloody umbrella and stick are still alive.

I have a good habit. I switch over from negative thoughts to positive thoughts quickly. I console myself: ‘ you think only about yourself. Your umbrella and stick are already dead and gone. The one you see now belongs to your son!’

Oh, those are great treasures to be preserved. I remove those, clean and hang in the original places!

‘Chatri – umbrella!’ Ali asks

Yadamma asks for stick to chase the cat.

No, I don’t give them. I keep those in a safe place.

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