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Musings of an Aunty Stuck in a Foreign Land

by Aiden

Dolly Koghar recalls her 25th Anniversary.

This incident is from more than a quarter of a century ago, but it, along with many of my other grievances against hubby dear, will go along with me to the grave and beyond; through all of the seven lifetimes of togetherness that we’re blessed with as an Indian couple. Just imagine, if “familiarity breeds contempt,” what being together seven times over would breed. After all, in the first round of togetherness you already know you’ve heard everything that’s being said a million times over, and it holds no interest for you whatsoever. The flip side of coming together again and again, is that it provides ample time to sum up each other and take a call on whether the rough edges are worth ignoring, tolerating, or manipulated to one’s advantage; it also gives plenty of time to hunt for a pundit who can undo the blessing.

Anyway. ‘Twas May of ’94, which also happened be our 25th Anniversary, but I’d never been one of those into gifting each other for any occasion. It’s like borrowing each other’s wallet to buy gifts for each other. So, I was going about my usual headless-chicken routine, oblivious to the events that would unfold in the morrow. The saga germinates from hubby dear’s habit of throwing open the doors of both his heart and house to all and sundry, plenty of whom would take it literally and land on us avec their entire family. All this was fine and dandy except that it so happened that I was already running after my own tail, tying up all the loose ends.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, amongst the steady stream of people that went through the house and my cooking, there was an Indian couple from a land far removed, for whom the offer meant an ‘open house.’ They visited us several times for extended stretches, and expected to be waited on hand and foot like The Mandarin Oriental hotel. I grudgingly was nudged into doing soThat’s because once we got off the flight, we literally walked into a hostage trap; we couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. All the host wanted to do was to enjoy by hubby dear, for the sake of his ‘dear friend’ and wifey. After each trip, the gentleman, which he thoroughly was both in demeanour and manners, would profusely thank us, and would more than beg for an opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality at his home in the far-off continent.

So, on this fateful morning of May ’94, another one of hubby dear’s wild ideas kicked in. To kill two birds with one stone, we would make good on the gentleman’s invitation and we would also get the chance to see a new country with just the flight expenses. Such a faux pax that I’d never made till date, and have vowed to never, ever make again.

That’s because once we got off the flight, we literally walked into a hostage trap; we couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. All the host wanted to do was to enjoy hubby dear’s gift of the gab, which is what got them together to start with. But this time around, even for dear hubby, it was too much to ask; he risked my wrath! For this big milestone, he’d flown me so many miles to see a new country, so as to wipe clean the slate of past lapses, hoping to start over on a more amicable note. Instead, here we were stuck on the sofa doing gup-shup, small talk that wasn’t going anywhere; and cooking and washing plates. I kid you not, but we saw that beautiful city’s main attractions and famous landmarks through our host’s car window, and that too, at the unearthly hour of the day when the tickets booths weren’t even open nor had the shoppers and tourists yet brushed their teeth.

So, on the third day, before the host could drawl, “g’morning,” we made good our escape and headed out the door straight to the airport where we caught a flight to a neighbouring city, and spent the rest of the trip laughing, in-between the quarrelling, which continues to this day, about that trip and tons of past and recent misdemeanours. All of which I, as a woman, will not and cannot let him forget!

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