Boss in the house

“You are only the first amongst equals. Do not behave like a boss in the house,” so thundered the democrat in Indira, Varun’s wife. The outburst was  a result of his imploring her to rise to the occasion, by rising from her cosy bed to fetch some water to a family, stricken with acute shortage. There was no water even for the morning ablutions. What with the rains lashing the city incessantly, the pumps supplying water to the cluster of flats went on a sit-in strike, due to the pump house getting partially submerged. There was water, water, everywhere, but not a drop from the tap.

Having got a rebuff from her, Varun got stirred, spurred and sprang into action. Muttering the nursery rhyme, “Jack and Jill went up------to fetch a pail of water”, he strode out of the house with a bucket in his hand, unmindful of the fact that he was exposing his arid and glistening pate to the onslaught from the heavens. He appeared then like our cricket icons who saunter to the field with gusto and aplomb, brandishing their weapon of destruction. He wanted to capture the waters that were gushing out from the down water pipes. He saw to his bewilderment that a number of damsels were already busy collecting the ambrosia coming down from the rooftops.

Varun had a weakness for all beautiful things- animate or inanimate-which crossed his visual cortex. At that point of time, it was not the beauty of the fairer sex that captivated his mind but the staggering variety of the assemblage. Each female was different from another in her physiognomy, shape, size, and complexion, even though all of them came from the same ethnic group and same socio-cultural entity and economic class. Every one of them had her own stamp of distinctiveness and individuality. He was filled with awe about the extraordinary ingenuity of the Maker. If there were 7 billion people inhabiting the earth, there were seven billion varieties of people, each different from the other.

The mind-boggling variety of His creations enthralled him. He reflected with a touch of sadness, how Time would wreak havoc on these lovely lasses and disfigure and distort their comely appearances in a matter of 15 or 20 years. While he was lost in thought on such profound matters, he neatly forgot the mundane purpose of his errand. By the time he woke up to the harsh ground realities, the rains stopped; so also the outflow from the down water pipes. Wearing a crestfallen and forlorn look, he went back to his flat, holding in his hand the waterless bucket.

Watching all these, Indira naturally got serious doubts about his bona fides. She concluded at once that her dear husband had undertaken the morning mission with sinister and baser ideas in his mind. Suspicion was writ large on her face and she gave vent to it in unmistakable vituperative language. Varun became speechless. He recalled to his mind with anguish the words of Shakespeare. “Frailty thy name is woman” and added his own, “Suspicion, thy name is wife.”

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