“Could not come for your wedding anniversary because, you know, I had to go to the airport to receive my brother-in-law… The flight was delayed by an hour or so, you know these Indian Airlines flights, most undependable…”
“Who was on the phone, darling, and which brother-in-law were you talking about?” I asked after hubby hung up.
“So, you’ve been eavesdropping,” he said accusingly. “Don’t you know it is not manners to overhear some conversation, even if it is your husband’s?” I noticed hubby was really annoyed. For no reason.
“Well, I only heard the last bit and since you said you had to receive some brother-in-!aw of yours at the airport, I just wondered. You would not have meant by brother, because he is somewhere abroad and doesn’t plan to visit us in the near future,” I tried to explain.
“Nor your sister’s husband, because, as far as I know him, he is not particularly fond of travelling, preferring to stay put in Madras.”
“Oh, so that’s what you want to know. O.K., I meant neither,” he said.
“Then,who is this brother-in-law of yours, whose existence I am yet to be aware of?” I asked. “Well, well,” Hubby drawled. “If there isn’t one, you can always invent one,” he said at last.
“Yes, just because you could not attend your friend’s wedding anniversary, you had to invent a third brotherin-law who doesn’t exsist and also say you had to go to the airport to receive him. I wonder why you men lie so easily? Supposing your friend had asked you more details of your non-existent brother-in-law?”
“Don’t be scatterbrained! For all I know, he must have thought it was neither your brother nor my sister’s husband. As as far as he is concerned, the third brother-in-law doesn’t exist at all.”
“By the way, who is this friend whose wedding anniversary you were supposed to have attended?” I asked.
“It was Prakash. He had invited us for his silver wedding,” hubby replied.
“You mean Prakash and Sujata? I’m sure I’ve met them once or twice. Did you say he invited ‘us’?”! asked, stressing the plural.
“Yes. that’s what the invitation says, I think,” hubby said disinterestedly.
“Where is the invitation? Why didn’t you show it to me?” I enquired.
“Come on, darling, why over something that is already over,” hubby sounded exasperated.
“I am sure you left the invitation at the office and had forgotten all about it as well as the function. Come to think of it, I wonder how many such occasions we have been missing all these years,” I fretted, quite annoyed at hubby’s forgetfulness.
“What do I tell Sujata if she asks why we were not at her silver wedding?” I wanted to know.
Can’t you think of something, darling? Say you had some unexpected guests and you couldn’t get away, or say you had got caught at the airport with me waiting, endlessly for the arrival of the flight from Delhi, or that had a seVere headache or…”
“Enough. You seem to have a fund of white lies to reel off whenever the occasion demands. I wonder how you men can lie so effortlessly?” I said, not knowing whether to compliment hubby or not for his ability to lie sO spontaneously.
“Are you surprised, darling? What’s wrong in telling a lie now and then? You can’t be telling the truth all the time and getting into trouble. Moreover, white lies come in handy to save a lot of embarrassment, don’t you think?” Hubby tried to justify himself.
Somehow hubby’s explanation didn’t convince me.
“Won’t you get into trouble or feel more embarrassed if your lie is found out?” I asked.
“It’s always easy to tell another lie, darling, instead of admitting the truth,” hubby stuck to his argument.
“For inStance, when you go out with a friend for a drink and the wife doesn’t approve of it, you have to find an alibi, don’t you agree, dear? When you gamble for high stakes, is it not easier to say your wallet was picked? When…”
“Ah, now I know why you were keen on buying a new wallet the other day. Come on, out with it, how much have you lost?” I demanded.
“Who’s talking of los!ng? I lent the money to my friend with the wallet because he did not have one and he said…”
I felt like a deflated balloon and thought it was I who was losing something valuable… my sense of values.
N Meera Raghavendra Rao