The Post-Lunch Blues
by Vimala Ramu
We had been invited once to the house warming ceremony of a niece of mine. This girl had married into a family of my cousins once removed. I was looking forward to meeting all my cousins at their place after a long time.
As they all arrived, they too were all very happy to see me after a long time. I was my usual effusive self and my attitude infected my usually-dour elderly cousins too. They welcomed me with open arms, warm handshakes and slaps on the back. We happily discussed all the news, past and present.
Later, we were invited to go in for lunch. Being of an early batch of arrivals, my husband and I preferred to go in first leaving all my cousins in the hall. I departed for lunch in triumph that after all I had managed to scatter some pearls of jollity.
The food was good. I took my own time to polish it off, while my husband, a faster eater had excused himself earlier. I took time talking to my own nieces and nephews before arriving at the hall. My niece had prepared a unique gift for all the invitees__ half Kg of green cardamom in pods from their friend’s plantations, done up nicely in a transparent cellophane paper with white flowers and tied with a pink ribbon. Altogether, the occasion was very joyous and it was time to rejoin my cousins.
But a shock awaited me. A great change had come over them. They all had such grim, long faces and looked at me pityingly as if I was entering my cell on the death row on the eve of my execution. I was not able to divine the cause for this sudden change .My efforts to re- gather the pearls met with more pitying and funereal looks.
They all then solemnly trooped out to have their lunch.
When it was time to leave, I went to bid good bye to them in the dining hall. In spite of the hearty lunch they were eating, their eyes went suddenly teary and they said solemnly in a chorus, “Look after yourself well, Vimmu”.
As we got into our car, I told my husband about the strange phenomenon. He told me, “Oh, that must be because I told them that though you look good, you are suffering from serious arthritis and all that it implies”. So, that was the reason for the sudden change! His account must have been really dramatic and effective with a captive audience! I gave a big laugh. After all, he did manage to be the centre of attraction and have his attention-grabbing moments too in my absence!