I met your friend at the bank, said my husband. She asked how you were doing.
Who is this friend of mine you met, hasn’t she a name? I said.
Well, how can I ask her name when she came and spoke to me, that too with such familiarity? Also, you don’t expect me to remember all your friends and their names, do you?
I could see his point, because that made two of us, as I too wasn’t good at remembering names or faces, for that matter, true to the saying ‘Out of sight, out of mind’.
OK. How did she look, I asked out of curiosity.
He thought for a while and said, short, very dark, very fat and not good looking at all, if I may say so.
I flared up at the way he described my friend, thinking it was more an insult to her than giving a clue to her identity.
How dare you comment on someone’s looks in such a fashion, I fumed. It is typical of you men, women who are fair and tall are invariably good looking and if they are not fortunate to be so, they don’t merit a favourible description from you men, I snapped .
OK. Tell me in what other way I can describe your friend so that you can try to place her?
Now you sound more reasonable, I observed, glad that my husband was seeing some sense at last in what I said.
As I was trying to search for the right words, something flashed in my mind.
Did she speak in English or in Tamil? I asked my husband.
Does it matter? She spoke excellent English, that too without any regional accent. Come to think of it, she even had an attractive smile.
That was enough to place my friend and also give a tip to my husband when he described someone next.
See, you could have said you met my friend who had a ready smile and spoke excellent English. Don’t you think that sounds much better instead of dwelling on a person’s looks, good or bad, which are God given and one can’t do anything about them?
My husband stared at me for a full minute without blinking and said, It’s absolutely true, I know some women can’t help about their looks, but now I realised it is too late for me to…
I knew what he was getting at and decided to leave the man to hear his own words.
N Meera Raghavendra Rao