A little gossip

All of us moved towards the door, when the lady sprung another surprise.

There are visitors and visitors, to use a clichéd expression. They come in all shapes and forms, welcome or unwelcome, through the front door or the back or, for that matter, any crevice or hole, up or down, just anywhere!

I was watching TV in our sitting room one bright morning. The window behind me opening into a balcony, framed by the curtain rod at the top as the curtains were drawn to admit light, was clearly reflected on the screen. A swelling suddenly appeared on the curtain rod at its right end and started moving to the left, pulling what appeared to be a string behind it. Startled, I turned back to find, horror of horrors, that it was a rat. The next instant, it jumped off the rod and sped towards the kitchen. A fire alarm would not have shocked me more!

Screaming an SOS to the missus, I heard her yell from the bathroom ‘I am bathing’. After an excruciating thirty minutes, she came out of the bath, quickly picked up a stick, and tapped everywhere, eventually driving the unwelcome visitor out of the house while I ‘bravely’ walked behind her! With her practical sense, she soon got every unwanted opening in the house sealed to ensure that the incident did not recur.
Moving on to a more agreeable experience, my wife’s close friend and her husband, a lovable couple, landed on us unannounced at four one afternoon.

‘Sorry, we didn’t call before coming’, they apologised, ‘We were all set to leave for an appointment at four when it got postponed to five. Since your place is on the way, we decided to drop in’.

We were also getting ready to leave for an appointment at five! With a wan smile of welcome, my wife quickly produced two glasses of lime juice for the visitors. Squirming and alternately disappearing from the scene, my wife and I managed a desultory conversation till the visiting lady dropped a bomb at half past four! ‘You know, Mrs so-and-so’s daughter eloped last week just when her parents were negotiating an alliance and had set up a meeting between the boy and the girl’.

Pricking up our ears, we lost track of the time. She went on. Glancing at his watch at ten to five, her husband said decisively, ‘we must leave now’. With a hasty ‘so-nice-of-you-to-have-come’ from our side, all of us moved towards the door when the lady sprung another surprise: ‘Whom do you think she eloped with, the same boy who was supposed to meet her later that day!’

The clock struck five when she wound up. The youngsters had been meeting secretly and had decided to get married. Anxious not to be hustled into an unwanted relationship, neither had paid heed to the identity of the other with whom the meeting had been fixed. A fairy tale ending! We bid a hasty farewell. Five more minutes elapsed before an auto-driver agreed to take us. We were hopelessly late for our appointment!

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