Keeping out of trouble

The trick to win the game is: Do not be honest, but be politically correct.

Have you ever taken part in one of those little competitions arranged by an overzealous niece where you have to use the good old brain, and cannot put it to rest as in thambola or some such innocent game.  Well, if you haven’t, take my advice and keep away from them if you want to keep your marriage intact.

I was quietly drawn in to one such game the other day, returning from an out-of-town marriage in a cool air-conditioned recliner along with an entire family of 23, with age ranging from eight to 80. This time, it was that sweet little niece who set the paper using Internet and lot of treacherous imagination.

The competition goes like this. Copies of the question paper are given to all, and you have to get the same answer as your spouse. But, you cannot sit next to her/ him and take assistance.

If you get top marks, you get the open appreciation of others who are well-skilled in hiding jealousy. If your marks are poor, be sure of the wrath of your wife back home and an overlooked dinner or two.

If you are young and recently married, you have more to lose (if you know what I mean). For a 65-plus couple like my wife and I, the ordeal was still too much. The trick is: Do not be honest, but be politically correct. Here are some examples.

1. What channel or serial do you like the most? The honest answer is “I do not even know, since the remote is with her.” But you should write the name of whichever channel she likes most.

2. What were the happiest moments in your life? If you know what is good for you, you must say something like “Her acceptance of my proposal some half a century ago.” Can you get away by saying, it was last week when she took you out shopping and you found the shutters down in all jewellery shops?.

3. What aspect of him/her do you like most? Well, what is expected is her good nature, modesty, smile etc. Don’t dream of writing, “It is her welcome afternoon siesta, when I can quietly raid the fridge for the forbidden goodies.”

4. What frustrates you the most? You must write, “It is when I have no money to get her an anniversary gift.” She will feel sorry for you and even sympathise. On the contrary, can you really say, it is when she is cross with you for no or little reasons like not switching on the lights or not closing the taps fully.

5. What is it he/she has that you do not want to change. Obviously, I do not want her to change the Rs 1,000 note I gave her. But I shall not write that. I will say, “She shall not change for the worse her charm, charity and what not.”

Well, now you know what is good for you, and the dinner is assured.

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