Four nights back Rekha turned towards me in bed and started at me. Been married to her for the last six years I knew this was a dangerous move. As a weapon, it ranked a little below Arnold Schwarzenegger’s AMT Hardballer Longslide (with laser sighting) in the movie Terminator but above Sylvester Stallone’s SVD Dragunov in Rambo III.
I immediately closed my eyes and lay still thinking playing dead might work. But through the dark room, Rekha’s piercing eyes noticed that I was still breathing and she started: “Rajan, you awake?”
I continued to play dead.
“Rajan, you just adjusted your pillow. You can’t be asleep so soon?”
The problem with my wife is that she can never make up her mind. She is always confused if her sentence should be a statement or a question – and that confuses me to bits.
I continued to play dead. Better be dead than fight a battle weaponless and die injured.
“Rajan, I am feeling romantic. Must be the fact that you came home early from office, after about two months.” Rekha sure was persistent.
But at the mention of romanticism, I lowered by guard just that little bit. If you are married you would know that wives never feel romantic, leave alone in bed. So when she does feel romantic you don’t want to let that chance pass.
I said: “Sorry, you were saying?”
“What is it with you men? You force me to play dirty…I am not romantic or any crap like that…just wanted you to respond.”
“Rekha, I just liked the thought of it. You should have at least continued to play dirty for a while.”
But Rekha was determined to not let silly girly thing called romanticism come in between her mission.
“My friends and I have planned a picnic this Saturday.” She was blunt.
“Picnic?” I shouted. And almost woke up our daughter Rhea whom Rekha conveniently places between the two of us every night. If I were the Prime Minister of INdia, I would have definately suspected that ISI had a hand in placing Rhea in between to stress me out…but alas no.
“Yes picnic. In the Leisure valley park, this Saturday.”
Rekha’s voice was commanding now. It felt as if she was coach Tony D’Amato (played by Al Pachino) in the movie Any Given Sunday…and I was one of her players. She was playing me.
“This Saturday? But why? Can’t we just chill at home?”
“Nope. I have already agreed to bring you along.” Rekha continued to insist.
“Agreed to bring me along? Then there are others as well?”
“Yes, my friends in the apartment complex.”
“But Rekha, I barely know them.”
“Rajan, in case you haven’t noticed I barely know any of your colleagues but when they come home…don’t I behave?”
“Hmmm…behaving is such a subjective word. Anyway, that is for later. So, how many ladies are coming?”
“We are four – Sonal, Pallavi, Meetu and Smitha – and we are the gang in Uniworld.” Through the dark I could see that Rekha had a smile when she was reciting the names. She must really like them. How naive, I thought.
“Not fair right? Five ladies and just me? You know me…I would be shivering.”
“Don’t get your hopes up. They are all coming with their husbands.”
“No way Rekha. I can’t come. If it were just the women I would have managed…how do you expect me to have a picnic with strangers?”
“But Rajan, this isn’t fair. I always do it for you.”
So saying, she grabbed for my hands in the dark. She always does this when she has to convince me…and every time I fall for it. Anyway, to cut the long story short, after 30 minutes I was laying on the bed thinking…what a stupid idea it was …to sacrifice one whole day on picnic with strangers just for 30 minutes of you know what.
We were the first to reach Leisure Valley Park – I wanted to be done with it and move on with life.
It was as if I was indebted to somebody and I just wanted to pay it back and be answerable to no one. Within an hour everybody had assembled. Rekha introduced me to all. Here is how it went:
“Rajan, here are Sonal and Rahul and their kids. Remember we have been to their house on their son’s birthday?”
Rajan: Did we?
“Forget about it. And this is Pallavi and her husband Anmol. We have met them before, remember?”"
Rajan: Yeah? Hmm….I don’t remember.
“Anyway, this is Meetu and her husband Amit and their daughter Molly.”
Rajan: “Hi Molly!”
“Rajan, do you want to say a Hi to Meetu and Amit as well? I have told you so much about them…haven’t I? ”
Rajan: Have you?
“And this is Smitha. They are Konkani and have settled in Kerala…so I can speak to her in Malayalam.”
Rajan: She knows English, doesn’t she? Or should I speak in Malayalam as well?
“Rajan, she knows English and now if you don’t mind saying your greetings…I would really like it.”
Rajan: Hi Sunitha.
To cut the long story short….the first one hour of the picnic was a disaster. The wives and husbands were telling their kids not to go near me. I did notice two of the parents pointing their index finger to the sides of their head while telling them to stay away from me. And five minutes later I did hear a few of the kids calling me crazy and throwing stones at me.
In moments such as these the genes in the 24th chromosome of the Rajan clan gets activated. The right juices started flowing and soon, I was that suave, sophisticated conversationalist that the World has seldom hoped for but never seen.
If you have been reading this blog for long, you know that the Rajans are a clumsy and crude lot but when challenged, they rise up to the occasion. That is exactly what happened at this picnic. Within the next 3 hours this Rajan had become the most popular picnic-er in the party.
When the stray dog attempted to eat our food, I was chosen by all to chase the dog away till a distance of 2 kilometers and come back. When a child from another picnic party was lost, I was told to go and find his parents…and that took a whole 45 minutes away. And when we ran out of water, I was the guy who was selected to take the car and buy some bottles of water. We had great fun at the picnic…and my co picnicers loved me!
I am sure my wife is pretty proud. Do see some pictures below: