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  • Writer's pictureanjali mohapatra

Mr. and Mrs. Nathani!

Updated: Jan 16

Look- this is Mr.Nathani's apartment. Mr. and Mrs. Nathani, the old couples reside here. Only one outsider Babua- the servant cum supervisor is the extra family member existing in the apartment. Mr. Nathani is a gentleman and a retired ex-officer. Both Mr and Mrs are an interesting and amusing couple. Most of the time their breakfast and lunch are converted into brunch. Constantly Babua has to remind them about their snacks, lunch, tea, and dinner at night. Otherwise, one of the schedules would be omitted.

Babua after fifteen years of service is well acquainted with the ‘do’ and ‘don't’ sort of work. However, when he was in distress, Mr. Nathani was the first person to offer him a job in his office. But after a few months, he voluntarily chose to work in his home. From that day onwards he has become almost a member of his master's family.

Mostly the couple's conversation happens while relaxing on the sofa or the dining table. Sometimes the slow, dull conversation ends in a hot argument. The next moment their frowned faces turn in opposite directions. Babua is the only mediator who dares to solve the problem with his witty resolution. Eighty percent of their fight is based on the topic of their only son Saurya presently residing in Toronto. Both of his parents strongly opposed him going abroad, they didn't want him away from home. After so many explanations, Saurya convinced them how important it was for his career! Finally, he accepted the offer and departed from his parents.

The couple kept on blaming each other for his absence. Any time they start this topic, Babua intervenes in the middle and defies his little master Saurya. Babua is short, bald, and quite clever in the sense, that he preserves everything in his bald head. Usually, he is twisted in between the hot verbal exchange of Mr. and Mrs. Nathani. Their fight ends after a period of silence from both sides and Babua keeps himself away from that scene.

Like everyday routine, once Mr. Nathani after finishing his morning walk took a rest on his lavish couch. Shortly Mrs. Nathani joined her husband. Five minutes passed both were silent. Suddenly Mr. Nathani cleared his throat and said, 'Hey listen- I have booked two tickets for Simla. The price has been reduced for the time being, so I thought, why wouldn't we take advantage? We are going tomorrow, understood? So get everything ready.'

'Why didn't you wait a little longer? The price would be reduced into half in another few days,' said Mrs. Nathani satirically.

'Oh, yes.. yes…I do understand your words.'

'Really? Thanks for your kind understanding! Oh! By the way- I am not going anywhere.’

'Why?' Mr.Nathani asked innocently.

'What do you mean- why? Did you ask me before booking the ticket?' she charged him angrily.

'Why? What's wrong with you?' asked Mr. Nathani.

'Oh, come on! I haven't forgotten the last bitter experience and you want me again? No way!!'

'Why?! What happened last time?! Not remembered anything,’ Mr. Nathani stuttered.

'Aha! Forgotten?! So nice! That giant wheel…I vomited and the play was stopped, remembered! So embarrassing! I don't want to go anywhere, understood?'

'Come on! There is no merry-go-round or any giant wheel, darling! Nothing will happen, okay?'

'Oh, yeah! I know. No giant wheel no merry-go-round! B- but snow and skiing, right?'

'Well! So?!' he pulled his brows.

'Uh, yes- yes! If I break my leg - that's ok, isn't it? You’ll enjoy the hobbling of this old lady, right? How do you expect me to walk in the snow? Better you forget that trip. I am not going anywhere, clear?’

'Hmm..ok, I’ll take care of that.'

Mrs. Nathani grumbled but packed the luggage for the next day's journey.

Next day morning——- 6:30 a.m! Departure time to Delhi- at 7 O'clock morning. The old couple were supposed to be at the airport forty-five minutes before the departure time. From there the next connective flight to Simla. But- poor oldies! Mr. and Mrs. Nathani forgot to fix the alarm clock.

The next day when Mr. Nathani woke up, he jumped off from his bed as if he got an electric shock! He yelled aloud, 'Hey! You- you lazy old woman?'

There was no answer. Furiously he shook his wife’s shoulder. Mrs. Nathani got up from her bed abruptly. Her eyes cast an eerie look at him. She was stunned!

‘What has happened? What's wrong?' she babbled out. Her words ignited Mr. Nathani's temper like a firecracker.

He shouted again,' You have ruined my money! Have you seen the time? It is 7 O'clock! We have missed the plane!'

Now Mrs. Nathani realized the plight but it was too late! She grumbled and left the room. That whole day both of them didn't talk to each other. Once again, Babua had to settle down their fight.

A few months passed—— Mr. Nathani informed his wife that he had booked two tickets for the USA to visit their son! Mrs. Nathani growled but left no choice. At last, the final day approached. This time Mr.Nathani was alerted. 'No more mistakes,' he warned himself.

Exactly four hours before they reached the International Airport- Delhi. Huge crowd. The passengers were busy checking their luggage. Crew members and attendants were all engaged in their work. After the luggage check, Mr. and Mrs. Nathani went for the security check. The formalities of the security check were over, and a few minutes later they boarded. The plane flew towards the destination.

The seriously long journey was not a joke for Mrs. Nathani! However, she had to manage it! Eventually, the plane landed at JFK, New York- the International Airport of the USA.

Mrs. Nathani was out of the blue! Her first experience in the outside world. Her eyes widened and rolled over the whole airport.

‘Where are we?!’ she whispered.

‘Shh..airport. Quiet. Sit on this couch. I’ll bring some snacks,’ said Mr. Nathani and rushed to a snack stall. She stared at the crowd. She became dumb and deaf. Neither she could understand nor she could speak English! Five minutes later, Mr. Nathani came back with a hot burger and some lemon juice. Mrs. Nathani stared at the food and instantly said, 'What's this? No rice, dal. Or bada-samber, dosa- idli anything? I can't eat these.'

‘Please adjust for today?’

'Huh?!This food? I am not going to eat,' shaking her head, she turned her face.

'Please...,' Mr.Nathani urged her.

But his wife was too adamant to accept his suggestion. Both were hungry but since Mrs was not eating, Mr. Nathani had to sit without food. The food was lying on the table untouched. Half an hour already passed, but no resolution. The luggage clearance would be over after a short while and they were supposed to leave the New York airport for Canada.

Both were pretending as if casually they were sitting, no fight, no quarrel nothing had happened between them. Amidst the silence, Mrs. Nathani felt guilty that because of her, her husband was bound to stay hungry! But she was not ready to compromise first. Whenever there is a quarrel, she wants her husband should break the silence first and Mr. Nathani wants the same, too. So, the silence was prolonged for a long time! Suddenly the floor attendant drove his cart towards the couch. Humbly he said, 'Sir, your breakfast....' 'Oh, yeah! Thank you so much! We are just doing our silent prayer. We will have it later. Thanks again!' The attendant smiled and turned his cart in the other direction. He went away, but Mr. Nathani was in a dilemma. He began to mull over the reconciliation. Though she is extremely sensitive she has supported him throughout her life like an iron pillar in his worst time too. He remembered- how she spent her night in the hospital without proper food and sleep when he was under heart surgery! It was a nightmare for three months in the hospital and she never grumbled, never complained! She was great!!! Now she is old and gets annoyed very easily. Even he gets annoyed so quickly! Of course, aging is the factor of this typical behavior, there is nothing new. In the last few years, Babua always intervened to settle their daily quarrel. He never got a chance to pacify her. They never bothered about how to settle their argument without a third party. In the meantime, Mrs. Nathani was almost in a frantic state of mind, drastically waiting for Mr. Nathani to break the silence. Gradually the silence became unbearable for him. So, without any further delay, suddenly he started addressing his wife, 'Hey! You know what? You look fabulous with this particular saree and your simple face with gorgeous red bindi is looking beautiful! You still look so attractive! By the way, when did you buy this saree? Moreover, you are such an amazing cook, I know you may not like this food, but for the time being, we have no choice left, so please have your food! Mrs. Nathani instantly stared at her husband. For a moment, she became dumb. Then she burst open with laughter. She looked at him smilingly and gestured, 'Shhh...others will laugh at you. You know what? For the last decades, I don't remember when I cooked for you. It was Babua, who managed everything for us. Anyway, I appreciate your praise, but now stop flattering me further, please! Why didn't you talk to me before? I was waiting for you to come first. By the way, it is already so late, let us have our breakfast.' Mr. and Mrs. Nathani had their breakfast, lunch, dinner everything together happily. Throughout the journey, no more they needed Babua's interference. It was truly a wonderful experience of reconciliation without the interference of any third person!! After all, 'This is called life'! You know what? Whatever it may be, Babua's role in Mr. and Mrs. Nathani's life undoubtedly had a significant contribution, because of his absence Mr. Nathani at least tried to understand his wife after such a long period, otherwise, it would be the same usual pattern that Babua had to interfere to settle down the quarrel. So, indirectly, his absence was a blessing for the couple in disguise to understand each other once again!!!! Of course temporarily, otherwise, they do need Babua’s help to run their old age!!! Whatever, they always give value to Babua, that’s the finest part of both the couple! , ReplyForward

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