Not all writers are absent-minded. But those who are, sometimes get into the most absurd scrapes because their heads are stuck in clouds at the wrong moment.
Not all writers are absent-minded. But those who are, sometimes get into the most absurd scrapes because their heads are stuck in clouds at the wrong moment. This is what happened to me when my husband was posted in a small town. My neighbours plainly disapproved of me because I was always reading or scribbling instead of dusting, cooking or sewing. Nevertheless, they dropped in now and then with the hope of getting me interested in the more important things of life.
I usually dreaded their visits. But one evening, I welcomed them enthusiastically because I had something to say that would interest them.
"Have you been out?" asked the first lady, looking at my travelling-case.
"Did your husband take you?" asked the second lady.
"No, he had an important meeting," I replied, "I went with his director." I saw them exchange glances, and shrugged. I couldn't help it if my husband happened to be a workaholic! "I suppose his director also took his family?" asked the third lady.
"Oh, no," I said, thinking of the Mandakini river and the limpid green pools among the rocks, "We didn't want the children to miss school. I didn't take mine either."
There was a pause. "Isn't it a rather long journey?" asked the first lady, giving me a queer look, "You must have returned well past midnight!"
"Oh, we stayed the night there, and visited the temples and caves the next morning," I replied and added, "One can't enjoy the gorgeous scenery if one is in a hurry."
I was thinking of the long road to Chitrakoot with flocks of peacocks and deer roaming wild part of the way.
"It's lucky you found rooms at such short notice," said the second lady in a strange voice. "Yes, indeed," I replied, "The place was teeming with people. I didn't think we'd get a room either."
I am not observant by nature. But even I could feel the icy tang in the air. The silence that followed was so solid, you could have cut it with a knife. I was even more astonished when they refused tea and rose abruptly after what seemed an incredulously short visit.
I supposed it was because I gushed about the beauty of the place rather than its religious significance. And then I suddenly realised that I had not bothered to spell out yet another significant fact: my husband's director, with whom I shared a room at Chitrakoot, was a lady, too!