"What special dishes are you going to prepare on Saturday," Hubby said to his wife in what he assumed was a romantic tone.
"Why what's special about Saturday," Wife said in a tone that was definitely not romantic.
"Well it a holiday and that means we will both be at home for a change. Don't you know Saturday is 15th of August, India's Independence Day," Hubby expressed mock surprise at his wife's 'ignorance'.
"In that case you might do well to go to the stadium. Better still if you join the parade. That will do you far more good that sitting at home and acting the glutton," Wife said in a voice full of irritation, pointing with her ladle to Hubby's belly which was beginning to look like the basal portion of a hubble-bubble. "Besides your absence will make it look more like an independence day to me," she added tartly.
Poor Hubby hastily drew in his abdomen and tried to hold it in without much success however because of the respiratory distress that the effort caused. So it was with real distress that he said, "What has got into you. You do fly off the handle when I so much as talk to you."
"Talk!Talk!Talk! What else do you do except talk? And idle talk at that which means nothing. You sound like India and Pakistan rolled up in a combo offer!"
"Come on what's bugging you? What do you want for God's sake!"
"Well for one I could do with some independence…" she said.
"Independence? From what?"
"Your parents to begin with, especially your mother! For her every holiday is cleaning day and I know I will be beating rugs for most part of the day because your mother still thinks that a vacuum cleaner was invented by some daughter-in-law to spite her mother-in-law. Then for the rest of the day I will be beating my forehead till I land up with a headache. And of course there are these pesky neighbors of yours whose idea of spending a holiday is to listen to loud music all the day long."
"Now! Now! There is no need to get so worked up. It is not good for your blood pressure." Hubby tried to act solicitous.
"You are not good for my blood pressure!" Wife retorted, banging pots and pans by way of emphasis.
Hubby realized that the discussion was not moving in an auspicious direction and that things as they stood between him and Wife did not augur well for domestic peace so he racked his brains for some solution to the impasse.
"Eureka!" he said after some time.
"Who Rekha?" Wife said sharply.
"Why it is just an expression! Remember it was you who taught it to me 25 years backs!" Hubby said adding unctuously, "You taught me many things."
"Yeah and forgot all of them myself, forgot myself as well for that matter," Wife said in a huff.
"Come now! I got this idea just now which is sure to jerk you out of your blues. Guess what? We will go to Gulmarg on 15th and celebrate our Independence Day! Hubby's package tour!"
"Does the package include your mother as well?" the Wife asked warily.
"No!" Hubby said triumphantly, "They are all going visiting some relatives on 14th and will spend the night there. It will be just you and me!"
True to his promise Hubby woke up at dawn on the 15th and had already loaded all the picnic paraphernalia in his car before waking up his wife who completed the rest of her sleep in the car on way to Gulmarg opening her eyes only when her husband shouted a cheery "We are there!" into her ear.
For a moment she was confused as she could not get her bearings. Then she realized that they were in a traffic jam at the entrance to Gulmarg. It was after more than an hour that they managed to reach the famed meadows of Gulmarg only to find that almost all the space was taken up. You see most of those who live in Srinagar, which gets kind of stuffy on Independence Day, as well as people from other areas 'celebrate' the day either in Gulmarg or Pahalgam.
As they got down from the car to stretch their legs they heard someone calling out to them. Locating the source of the loud hailing they saw that it was their neighbor with a blaring old fashioned tape recorder by his side. "Halloo! Right over here," he waved to them, "Come you can share our space. We are neighbors back home let's be neighbors here as well. Ha! Ha! Neighbors Forever!" he said laughing heartily in his usual fashion.
"Were you looking for something," the jovial noisy neighbor said as they joined him.
"Independence," was the wife's laconic reply.
The neighbor who never stops laughing nearly choked with this additional increment of mirth.
"Ha! Ha! You were looking for independence and got this huge democracy instead," he said sweeping his arms to indicate the crowds that had taken over Gulmarg.
"Actually we arrived just now…" Hubby muttered.
"But I saw your mother and your sister and sister-in-law an hour back…" the noisy neighbor said.
The Wife looked accusingly at her husband who stared back in horror as his facial features went through paroxysms of contortions and convolutions in a mute attempt to express his ignorance and innocence.
"Bhabhiji what do you think of this Independence Day thing," the noisy neighbor asked her.
"It is a charade!" the wife spat vehemently.
"My! Your wife does have strong political ideas!" the noisy neighbor said and launched into another bout of laughter.
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at email@example.com)