On my guard

Mamma, better be on your guard today, warned my daughter Kirtana before rushing off to college.

Be alert the whole of today, advised my husband even as he was leaving for his Business School.

Aunty, don’t fall into anyone’s trap today, suggested my neighbour’s son, Karthik. ( I was his Godmother).

Thanks a ton for warning me, I said feeling touched at the concern all the three showed towards me and went about my chores.

Amma, what do you want me to prepare for lunch, enquired my cook, Shanta who was more a good person than a good cook.

Why don’t you make something different today for a change? I said.

Yes, amma, that’s a good idea. Do you want Andhra, Karnataka or Chennai food, she asked quite excited at the thought of probably to experiment her culinary prowess on us.

Whatever you are good at, I said stressing on good.

Amma, please allow me to do everything by myself today. Right from chopping vegetables etc. she insisted and made her way to the kitchen.

Just then the phone rang and it was my friend Sunitha. She wanted to know if she could drop in.

“Most welcome, why don’t you join me for lunch,” I invited her and she readily agreed.

Even as I hung up the phone, it rang again, “What’s for lunch mamma? Is there something that I like or shall I have it in the college canteen? Kirtana asked impatiently, (I could sense she was ravenous).

I am sure you will like what Shanta is preparing today. I can assure you the menu will certainly be different, I said.

Again the phone rang, it was my husband on the line. He called to say he was bringing along a guest for lunch.

“Try not to be late”, I said knowing his poor sense of time.

It was one ‘o’ clock and my friend Sunitha was the first to arrive followed by the other three.

Let’s have lunch straightaway. I can eat a horse, I added not able to contain my hunger any longer having worked up an appetite to relish everything Shanta made.

What lunch? Don’t expect us to eat again, all the four said in unison.

But, but, I thought you people were coming ……I stopped halfway noticing their subdued smiles.

What am I going to do with all the food Shanta prepared! I said flabbergasted.

Why don’t you have a look at what she prepared? Suggested my husband laughing.

I rushed into the kitchen and quickly opened all the casseroles one by one. I was shocked to find all of them empty except for the last one. There was a slip of paper on which something was written in Tamil. Since I could not read tamil, it made no sense. However the number written at the end made but it was too late!

N Meera Raghavendra Rao


8 thoughts on “On my guard

  1. orrvee

    I suppose the number in the last casserole and its meaning will remain a mystery for ever. Anyway, what did you have for lunch? It could not have been a horse, knowing that you are a vegetarian!

  2. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

    Two reasons why this piece makes you laugh. A feeling of superiority and a feeling of incongruity. The joke is on yourself and the best way to tickle someone’s funny bone is to laugh at your own ignorance or gullibility.The reader unconsciously feels superior to the butt of the joke and this makes him feel nice. The suspense is maintained throughout and you have nicely set up the incongruity until the time you open the casseroles. When you find no food in them except a mention of April 1, the incongruity is resolved and the relief makes us laugh. The very same people who warned you in the morning to be careful and not get trapped by others have planned the practical joke on you. Not quibbling but a clear mention of April 1 at the end of the episode, like your husband greeting you with ” Happy All Fool’s Day !” and “We have brought you a carry-home lunch” could be added for a sense of closure.

  3. orrvee

    Transcript of e-mail correspondence


    This is one of the best articles you have written. You should have got it published on AFD in one of the dailies. It would have provided a good laugh to the readers.

    Mrs Rao:

    What is AFD?


    After writing two articles on AFD, you are asking me “What is AFD?’! … Got it?… If not, we will have to label you also as “Slow on the uptake”!

    Mrs Rao:

    It is the privilege of Journalists to ask questions, sometimes silly ones, just to get intelligent answers from readers/ viewers!

    Oorvee adds:

    I sent the article to a friend. He wrote back saying he figured it out immediately. He also added that his computer crashed as soon as he opened the article. But it became alright shortly afterwards. Oh boy, he has some imagination! Maybe he is adding to the general mirth on AFD!!

  4. Amritha

    Entrapped… even as you are warned of the trap… the writer gets you!! I enjoyed this one…

    It lightens up to think that even when women get fooled by women—men do come to their rescue!! or do they???

    I have to give credit to gallant men wherever they are …. I actually look forward to be treated to a fine dinner sometime ….

    On a finer note—I really commend Meera’s your sense of the ‘enigmatic’ woman—Even if most of ‘home’ work gets unnoticed- in its absence it does get noticed. Women work in ways their presence is felt only in their absence. We miss our ‘bhai ‘only when she comes up with her excuses, or the dibbawala when he forgets to come one day.

    On April fool’s day to be guard is one thing, catching you off-guard serially is quite an achievement. I have dreaded being fooled by my mother- who never failed each year. I would be on guard the whole day and late in the evening with the sigh of relief just when I am to hit the bed… she would .. and her laughter ‘I got you’ would remain. Bless her light hearted spirit and … for all those who fool and are meant to be fooled….

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