(Just in case you missed the earlier post, I was speaking about the dismissive manner in which the missus spoke of single malt whiskeys. And the assault on my valuable collection of books on philosophy)
As you can well imagine, no thinking man can stand slurs to malt whiskies. After racking my brains for a suitable repartee and finding none, I decided to maintain a dignified silence.
"OK," she said, by way of compromise, "I'll let you keep six of these books. They can go into the loft on top of the loo."
As a consequence of this radical rearrangement of philosophical thought in our home, our raddiwallah is now the proud possessor of 'Aristotle's Ethics', 'Plato's Republic', a jolly old book named 'The Great Political Theories' and 'Existential Thought - A Primer'.
I sat there numbed. I had never read any of those books, to tell you the truth, but it was nice to know they were around. I mean, if you wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night realising you had forgotten a great political theory or two, 'The Great Political Theories' will no longer be around to illuminate you. I mumbled words to this effect.
The missus moved in for the kill.
"Cheer up, Naren.Look at the bright side of this. You are eligible to stand for Parliament now."
"Huh? Hows that?" I asked, leading up to the sucker punch.
"You've just sold your Ethics to the rag-and-bone man!"
"Ha Ha. Very funny. You know, Aristotle was the greatest thinker of the ancient world"
"Aristotle was a moron who believed men had more teeth than women"
"Shut up and identify five t-shirts that are going out."
And so the day continued. By evening, my cupboard resembled Old Mother Hubbard's.
"It is bare!" I exclaimed in dismay.
But she wasn't really listening. With a cheery "Bare is in, baby", and proceeding to hum "The Bare Necessities" from the Jungle Book, she went on to her own wardrobe, which I bitterly noted she did not de-populate. Women!
"How come your wardrobe doesn't get the treatment?" I wanted to ask her but she shooed me out of the room and continued the proceedings in camera.
The next day we spent all morning and half the afternoon shopping for gifts. Trays, candles, chocolates, that kind of thing.
Why this inconsequential act has to command so much pomp and circumstance is beyond me. It is not as if you gift someone a set of wine glasses and he or she says "Oh my god! Just what I needed! I resolve to love you twice as much as I used to!".
He or she just pries off the little "With Best Compliments From" label and puts one of his or her own to gift to someone else.(This has been proved true with respect to casseroles. There are only three casseroles in the world, all of which get repacked and re-gifted. Apparently this has been going on since 1902.)
We of course invest the simple act of buying presents with the care and attention of the Pentagon purchasing military hardware. Hmm. Perhaps that's not such a great simile. What I was striving to emphasize was that the six hours or so that we spent in the mall buying stuff that no one wanted could have been reduced to fifteen minutes if it had been left to me.
"I couldn't trust you to buy a flyswatter, Naren", the missus retorted, when I voiced my aforementioned views. "You got your best friend a pressure cooker last year"
"What's wrong with a pressure cooker?" The truth was that we were giving pressure cookers to the workers in my factory and I happened to have a few left over.
"Nothing, except that it is not a chic thing to give. Can you imagine say Shobha De giving Vijay Mallya a pressure cooker?". I had an answer to that. I am not Shobha De and he is by no means Vijay Mallya. But I kept the trap shut, which is the best response when the argument is drifting into uncharted territory.
(The Missus is howling for me to take her voting. Part III coming soon)