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I am the business communications expert and teach the subject but the Lady of the House (LOH) beats me hollow. At home my generally garrulous self gets tongue-tied and I find myself at a total loss for words. The LOH specialises in brevity when it comes to my turn to speak. The most common snatches of conversation in our home go something like this.

"Will you get me that thing from there?" calls out the LOH as she rustles up my breakfast in the morning. I am by then in the midst of tying my shoelaces or combing the few hair that still make their presence felt on my balding pate.

"What thing from where?" I ask.

"Oh! You know that...It is lying on the bedside table," she clarifies.

I wend my way to the table. There is a whole assortment of things lying around. Her reading glasses, her little purse in which she keeps all her change, her assortment of pens, a few slips from my scribble pad, a small diary in which she notes all the phone numbers that interest her, her hair band and a whole lot of other small paraphernalia.

I make the best guess I can. Perhaps, she is trying out a new recipe and needs her reading glasses. So I hurry off to the kitchen with her glasses in one hand and the comb in the other.

"Why can't you do something right," she chides me with exasperation in her voice.

"But why don't you ask for what you want," I counter.

"We've been married for thirty long years now. I thought by now you would understand my needs," she berates, "Get me my hair band. My hair are falling into my eyes." So off I go to get her hair band.

I am still brooding over her last sentence while I gobble down my slice of bread.

"And don't forget to bring it while on your way home," she reminds me just as I am rushing down the stairs. I reach my office and get down to the daily routine. At closing time suddenly a sense of uneasiness comes over me. The LOH asked me to bring something. For the life of me I can't even hazard a guess. I am tempted to ring her up but dismiss the thought just as quickly as it crosses my mind. It is, indeed, thirty years since I married her and I do start feeling guilty that I still don't understand her despite her best attempts at promoting understanding and harmony.

But what was it she wanted. Was it some magazines from the library or am I supposed to get her a packet of 'Paneer". I just couldn't make up my mind. But I must take something or else....

So I settled for a bouquet of flowers. She was totally floored by the surprise and is still going on about how loving and caring I am. She seems to have temporarily forgotten what she wanted. So till next time...

Bio:   I have served for over 33 years in the Indian Army Corps of Engineers and am retired now. Love writing humour and short stories. I have also written books on Military History and Management. Some of my short stories were published when I was much younger. Professional commitments pushed my fiction writing to a stand still. I have the time and the inclination now and wish to share my wit with others.


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