The Bewitched B's and B's
by Vimala Ramu
An electronic goods sales engineer while in profession, my brother-in law took to farming after retirement. Thanks to his sincere efforts, the two farms he purchased had thrived well. Not only the family but the extended family also came to be the recipients of this bonanza.
Whenever there was a family get together, he would bring fruits and vegetables in his pick –up truck and we would all help ourselves to as much as we wanted.
The occasion recently was my 75 th birthday. I had invited all my in-laws, 20 of them for a catered lunch at our place. As usual, basketfuls of papayas, bananas and brinjals were there, courtesy my brother-in law for general distribution.
One of my invitees that day happened to be Malini, a daughter-in law of the extended family. Malini wanted to send some brinjals and bananas to her own mother in Malleswaram. She decided to send it through my daughter Chandrika. Chandrika's husband was not only a neighbor of Malini's father but his cousin too.
My daughter who was to leave for Dehradun on official work that night decided to drop the bag of b’s and b’s at Malini’s mother’s place on her way to the railway station But she found the house locked and the inmates out. Since she couldn’t carry the bag with her to Dehradun, she went to the window and pushed the brinjals one by one through the grill on to the floor. As for the bananas, she managed to push them through one side and catch it in the other hand, tie them in a small cloth bundle and throw it on the cot that was close to the window. When all the fruits and vegetables were inside, she left for Dehradun asking her husband to ring up his cousin and tell him about the b’s and b’s.
But my son-in law, returning home after dropping his wife at the station, forgot all about ringing up his cousin and went off to sleep (to sleep the blissful sleep of a man whose wife had just left on a 10 days’ trip!).
Next morning, when my daughter rang him up to cross check about the job assigned to him, he admitted sheepishly that he had forgotten to do the errand and hurried to make amends.
He rang up his cousin. When he told them about the b’s and b’s, they were highly relieved. His cousin’s wife told him,” Aaaah, so that’s what it was, eh? We were so scared to see those brinjals scattered on the floor. We thought someone had thrown poisoned brinjals in an attempt to kill us. We never collected them. As for the bundle on the bed, it was so eerie looking that we did not even touch the thing. We had in fact planned to give a complaint to the police and get at the mystery of what we thought were the voodoo items!!!” Then recollecting her manners she said, “Thanks for ringing up. Thanks also for bringing and delivering them. Now we can really enjoy the stuff.”