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     Volume 4 Issue 3 | July 9, 2004 |


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Slice of Life


Richa Jha

This week on Sunday The Wifey said let's dance. I said okay, let's dance. We started dancing together, but soon realised it was no fun. Each time I stepped on her toes, she threatened to leave me and go. She said her friends were a more enthusiastic bunch of chimps who enjoyed dancing and never messed up the steps, so why not call a few of them over and dance together. I said yes, why not. I got carried away with the spirit of the moment, and spoke of them as a riotous bunch of monkeys. She threw a fit, "What is this. Is this how you treat my friends? With contempt? You call them names? Have I ever called your friends hippos when most of them actually look like ones? When will you learn?" Before she could go any further, I apologised for the slip, told her I got confused between chimpanzees and monkeys. But then she said that chimps don't mean chimpanzees. I said oh, so that was what caused the confusion, and accepted my mistake. Maybe she'd meant chipmunks, but I didn't say that aloud.

Before The Wifey could think of some other reason to flare up, on Monday evening, I personally called each of her friends over to our house, and made them dance. I played loud music on our music system, and left the floor to them. Looking at them dance, I wondered if had been off the mark in describing them thus, but didn't dwell on that thought for long. Instead, was worried at the rate at which my prized collection of glasses was being destroyed. But I didn't say anything.

An hour into the dance session, our not-so-generous apartment-mates lined up before our flat door demanding explanation. This is a place for decent people to live in peace, they said. If you want to dance, go look for a discotheque, they growled, and disappeared as quickly as they had materialised. An impromptu invitation to join us may have saved the day, but by the time I thought of it, they had vanished.

Soon, with the volume being reduced to human limits again, the revellers felt cheated, and left. The Wifey was livid. "I think we'll have to look for another house,” she said, "We'll go house-hunting the first thing tomorrow". No, no, let's not take such a drastic step, our neighbours mean well, I pleaded. "In which case, I want to have a dance party some place else where no prig can touch us," she purred. Early Tuesday morning she reminded me about the party, lest (as she thought) my promise had been made in an inebriated state of wellness and positive thinking.

All of Tuesday she sat drawing up her list of dancers in town, and consulting with them on the choice of music- all hip-hop and pop. I suggested we have a few guitar oldies as well, but her cold stare in my direction suggested that I had broached a taboo topic. Before she could say something like 'What do you know about dancing?' I shut up. It hurts my ego to be questioned thus.

On Wednesday, I took down her choice of venues (in order of preference) and set about the dog-work of seeing which of these would allow non-stop madness for the entire evening. Her luck, I managed to book the venue that topped her wish-list. I knew she would be ecstatic. I also discussed the menu that had been recommended by them, and put it up for her approval. Her silence meant she had no problem with any of the items. For once, I was making myself useful by lining it all up for her, and presenting everything before her on a platter. All she needed to do was to slip on her dancing shoes and jive.

All of Thursday, as I gathered from her busy calendar, she sat up with the phone inviting her cronies. When I returned from office that evening, an ice-maiden Wifey looked up from her magazine and said with a peculiar twitch of her lower lips, almost like a quiver that spelt trouble.

"So, how's your party shaping up?"
Fine, I said. But I did an immediate double take, "hey wait a minute, what do mean 'my' party, isn't it your party?"
"You've been behaving as if it is your party."
"My party? You suggested it. And your friends will be shaking their legs, not mine. My friends can't dance, anyway.”
"So what? Didn't you go ahead and decide the menu. I never said chicken kebabs."
"What? Didn't you say earlier you liked their kebabs?"
"So, that doesn't mean I want it served that evening. You should have asked me."
"Okay, if you don't want it, I'll ask them to change it, but the rest of the menu is as you had wanted, isn't it?
"So what? You've shown me my place. Please go ahead and do what you want. It is your party, and who am I to…"

I had to stop this outburst before it became too melodramatic for me. "Now c'mmon. What is this yours-mine conflict you're getting into? Isn't it OUR party?"

"Hnaannh. As if you know what 'ours' means."
Even with the little insight I have into the workings of The Wifey's mind, I should have seen this coming. It was the only predictable behaviour from this most unpredictable creature on earth. It was she who wanted to have a dance party, she who drew up her song and guest list, she who decided on the venue, she who orchestrated it all, and now she was the one whining she hadn't been consulted!

You want to know how it all ended, don't you? Frankly, my friends, I don't know. It is three in the afternoon now, and the party is to start at seven. The sulking Wifey has told me she won't attend it. Few minutes ago I was about to get inside the toilet with the cordless phone when she snatched it away from me. "You are NOT making any changes now," she roared. As always, she got me wrong. I was just trying to cancel the party for her friends, and call mine over instead, but of course, I didn't tell her that.

So there you'll see me, stuck for the rest of the evening with a bunch of you-know-what. I wish I'd invented some leg cramps that Sunday when she asked me to dance with her, or hadn't got my steps wrong, for that matter. Those were the few most expensive faltering steps of my life.



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