Humour: War of words

Humour: War of words

Read all about Badri and Ganga, a couple like no other


Badri and Ganga led a quiet, uneventful life. So when half a dozen relatives descended on them, they were more than happy to welcome and entertain them. There was no stir in the air, no stir in the sea, as the poet said, and it augured well. But it was the prelude to disaster when he cut the Inchcape Bell. So, the initial camaraderie between the relatives gave way to a full-scale war of words. Before anyone realised the cause of the argument, it had escalated to a royal battle.

Badri took exception to an innocent remark that his niece made. It wasn’t malicious, but Badri read far more into it than was meant, and he was quite vociferous in his objections. She was not to be outdone. So the decibel level was pretty high. Badri, when roused, cannot see the other person’s point of view; the niece was the star debater at the school level.

Neither agreed to disagree and the slanging match that ensued put the Lok Sabha members to shame. The peacemakers tried to intervene and restore a modicum of reason but neither paid attention to them. They continued to imitate the Parliament in full spate and with as much decorum. Who would have thought that a minor skirmish would turn into a full-fledged battle of Pyrrhic proportions?

At that juncture, Providence intervened. The niece received an important call from her office which, fortunately, was protracted. And Badri, not having anyone to direct his vitriolic remarks at, quietened down. The diatribe came to an abrupt end — not to say that it was not welcome! Talk of the calm after the storm. Such instances are a common occurrence in our household. But it doesn’t mean that will cause a rift or a serious misunderstanding. Things will revert to normal in next to no time.

In any situation, Badri is in the habit of thinking he knows best and his thinking is right. Take films, for instance. It will usually be with a lot of fighting, shooting and killing. The decibel level is an assault on the ears. Other than noise and violence, the film will offer no challenges by way of conversation. And he watches it with rapt attention. Should anyone happen to disagree with him, that person will be dismissed with scorn. The same holds good for books as well. He will download the latest books and copy them on his Kindle. Then he will go round recommending to all and sundry.

He will also forward it to friends and relatives — young, middle-aged and old. He does not realise that people may have other pressing work that demand their attention. They can’t drop everything to read the book and give their views. (Not that he will agree with them. He does not believe in opinions differing.)

In a voice heavy with hurt, he is wont to say, “I give them the best on a platter. They don’t even bother to check their mail.” Driven beyond endurance, Ganga once asked, “Why do you feel compelled to do it?” To which the answer was, “I believe in sharing.”

“What if others are not interested? Do you consider yourself a do-gooder?” she countered. He mumbled something which she couldn’t make out and thought it prudent not to ask. “He is like a salesperson trying to sell a product,” she grumbled and let it rest at that.

So it goes on and on, small storms and severe storms that, fortunately, don’t do lasting damage. The brief awkwardness passes off. So Ganga has hit upon a plan.

At the first sign of trouble brewing, she interrupts saying the food is served or tea is ready. Deftly, she sidetracks the warring factions. The family is united in making critical comments about the food. Bonhomie prevails. Truce is restored.

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