[This post has too much of Morse Code. Proceed at your own peril]
Rekha is learning Morse code. For those who don`t know what Morse code is, it is a language which uses only two states – on or off – of a light bulb for example…to communicate. Audible Morse code would sound like – Dit, Dit, Da, Da….with ‘Dit` for dots and ‘Da` for dashes…and a combination of both forming each alphabet.
– – – X- – –
I was amused. Not because like me Art Buchwald is an amazing satirist but because I didn`t expect my wife to know about Morse code. I didn`t remember telling her about the times when my father and I communicated in Morse code so that my mother (and my father`s wife) didn`t know of our plans. We would blink our eyes and communicate messages.
My mother would sometimes get out of the trenches (read kitchen) and ask, “What was that?”
My Army man father, so used to making excuses to his superiors, would shout back, “Just a bit of remorse, madam.”
When my mother wasn`t listening, my father would elbow me and ask: “What does one get when Morse code is conveyed in reverse?
“What papa?” The innocent Jammy – those were the days – would ask.
As if the humiliation wasn`t enough he would then ask me his favorite second question: “Now tell me what does one get when Reverse is conveyed in Morse Code?”
Since I never knew the answer, he would thrust this (see pic on left) Morse Code board into my face.
Cutting back to the present, Rekha is now learning Morse code. She revealed the secret when we were getting out of the gynecologist`s clinic.
“Let me guess…some office politics?” I responded.
“No…why?” Rekha had a confused look on her face.
“What else would you learn Morse code for? The biggest benefit of Morse code is that… after conveying the message you leave no evidence of it – no paper, no emails, no tapes, no nothing.”
“Ok … so?”
“Don`t all these features make Morse code the right vehicle to discuss office gossip?”
“Shame on you Rajan. How could you even think of your wife like that? When I saw Pratima kiss Balu in the cafeteria…I told only four people. If Radhika had seen them, she would have immediately created a Yahoo! Group on the scandal and given the URL to 16 other colleagues.”
“What are you trying to say, Rekha?”
“I am trying to tell you that unlike Shobha De and Stardust…I don`t live on gossip.”
I couldn`t believe my wife. Since when did gossip become second in the list of must-haves? I remember when we got married, gossip was 1.5 points more than diamond in the list of must haves.
“Then pray tell me why you learning Morse code,” I insisted.
She gave me a look which when translated in a rush meant: you-pig-of-a-man-why-did-I-even-marry-you-in-the-first-place. When translated at leisure it meant: If-not-for-the-kid-I-am-carrying-I-would-have-killed-you.
“Do you know that I am carrying your baby?”
‘Do you know that the baby is almost fourteen inches long and kicks me once in a while – which gives me a ticklish feeling?”
“Do you remember the many times I have asked you to place your hand on my stomach when the baby is kicking?”
“Do you remember the many times the baby stopped moving as soon as I called your name. Probably because you still don`t exist for our baby.”
“Do you remember the many times you said you wanted to feel the baby`s kicks so that you are not left out on the big pleasures of fatherhood?”
“Good…I will be using Morse code to call you when the baby starts kicking.”
I stared into her eyes and I knew that for once she meant no harm. Just when I was about to start trusting my wife again, she said: “You might want to brush up your Morse code!”
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