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June 24, 2024

The Hunter

By Santosh Bakaya

He was hunting for something.
I also caught him looking at me.

Stealing glances at me ... well, nothing wrong in that, on the contrary, it would be quite edifying, in other circumstances, definitely warming the heart, but my heart was busy somersaulting, hula-hooping, going into cartwheels of ecstasy watching Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind.[And not for the first time. My mother also loved watching him! ]

When Kanchan, our domestic help, came into the room, his eyes lit up.
"Good morning," she chirped.
"Good morning. Please sweep properly."
"Okay, Sir."
With a sleight of hand, she produced the broom from somewhere and started sweeping with her usual lackadaisical air.
The bitter-half mumbled something.
His lips hardly moved, but Kanchan read his lips.

"Also under the bed."
At this poker-faced instruction, she raised one quizzical eye in my direction and the other at him.
"Sir, phir sey kho Gaya?" [Sir, have you lost it again?] The twenty-five-year-old Kanchan asked with an impish grin.
He eyed her into silence, looking cock-eyed in my direction.
She did not speak, but her eyes spoke volumes of mischievous joy.
Her sweeping became a tad meticulous and he took this opportunity to slump on the bed, singing "Zindagi hai kya, sun meri jaan, pyaar bhara dil meethi zubaan."[Listen, my love, this life is nothing but a heart filled with love and a sweet tongue.]
I shuddered.
Would he get hold of an ice- cream cart and start selling ice cream, singing this song, Dev Anand-style?
He had seen all films of Dev Anand, but not Maya, so he was watching this Dev Anand film on his cell phone.
"Asli Naqli was released one year after Maya; it has a similar storyline," This movie buff was saying to me, trying to distract me from his own actions. His eyes were saying something else, to Kanchan.

He had absolutely no idea that I knew that he had once again, misplaced his earbud. It had become the norm in our house that the very second day, after ordering a new pair of earbuds, from Amazon, he would lose one of the buds. For many a day, afraid of my poking fun at him, he would surreptitiously hunt for his lost earbud, little knowing that his body language was a total giveaway. I would immediately know that he had once again lost the earbud!

Once Kanchan found it in the pocket of a Tee shirt that had just come from the laundry. Even Pritam, the dhobi could not locate this hidden treasure. It resiliently clung to the pocket, even when washed and ironed.

He has severe OCD and has been fastidious about washing his hands even before the pandemic. This ablutomaniac often sits in his dining chair, ears securely budded, barricaded against the mundane life outside, listening to something or the other on his cell phone.

On one such blissful moment, unbeknownst to him, his left earbud fell into the napkin box and found a snug niche there; sitting pretty till the day, the box was empty. Then when I headed towards the dustbin with the empty napkin box, it was then that it made surrealistic noises, which had a real ring to me.

"Eureka!" I shouted, pulling out the elusive earbud from the box.
The glint in his eyes was the sun itself -- its rays embracing everyone in the vicinity.

Just today, as I was about to head toward the kitchen to prepare breakfast, I heard an eerie sound.
A thak!
Without looking in the direction of the sound, I knew that another earbud had fallen!
Into the wash basin this time!
Another myth had been busted -- that wash basins were meant for washing hands.
It was indeed a serendipitous discovery.
For those whom the curiosity bug has bitten, let me confess, that our washbasin also excels in rescue operations.
It has saved many an earbud from going down the drain.

"Why don’t you buy expensive earbuds?" I asked him one day.
"Are you trying to say, if they are expensive, they will not get lost, huh?
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn." He quipped with a naughty twinkle and went back to his favorite pastime of hunting for the deal of the day for earbuds on Amazon.

I gaped at Clark Gable [Rhett Butler] on the television screen who had just left Vivian Leigh [Scarlett O’Hara] weeping, his words ringing in her ears, [and in mine too.]

"Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn."

Article © Santosh Bakaya. All rights reserved.
Published on 2023-09-18
Image(s) are public domain.
2 Reader Comments
Sunil Kaushal
09:34:28 AM
Hilarious!Ha ha! Santosh Bakaya my dear,your - "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
It's quite the opposite I think-
Else you wouldn't be writing this!!
K Srikala ganapathy
09:34:28 AM
Enjoyed it so much Santhosh ji
Keep them coming
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