How we Oldies celebrated Valentine Day in 2009

“Bye grandma, we are all off to Mainland China” said Kirthi, adding, “hope you oldies enjoy yourselves,” and she disappeared with her gang of friends. mostly boys.

I thought I made a mistake in telling her well in advance that we were celebrating Valentine’s Day with our own group of friends and relatives in one of their houses. Naive that I was, I expected the teenager to eagerly look forward to this day to join us (the 60-plus group) in the fun besides offering a helping hand with arrangements at the dinner meet.

 We had planned to meet at seven 0’ clock but by the time all the couples arrived it was well past eight.

 Are we going to have dinner straightaway? asked the senior most among us, coming straight to the point.

 You and your obsession with food, can’t you relax just for once, his wife snapped. She appeared oblivious of the fact that there were 15 pairs of eyes watching them.

 What is the menu? Asked another rather in a loud voice making sure everyone heard him right.

 All attention shifted to the frail looking man.

 His wife tried to politely snub him but he refused to take the hint and repeated the question, this time even louder.

No one bothered to reply him.

Are we waiting for anyone else? What’s preventing us from starting dinner? said  the third  impatiently. Its already past my dinner time, he added.

 Nothing just that since it’s Valentine Day, lets all say something nice about our spouses and vice versa, I suggested keeping my fingers crossed at the reaction of the group.

 Not a bad idea at all but not on a hungry stomach. “The complaints, sorry, I mean the compliments   can wait till after dinner, don’t you all think so”, said the youngest among the senior citizens.

 Without further ado, in anticipation of hearing some nice things said about each other for once, everyone had a go at the varied fare with the exception of the last course which was a sweet dish, as most of us already had it in us in abundance!

 Now, let’s begin with the men. Mention one quality that you like most in your wife, I said turning to the septuagenarian.

 He promptly got up from his chair and straightened himself to his full height of five feet something. All of us cocked up our ears not to miss anything he said.

 Adjusting his hoarse voice he began in all seriousness, “Everyday is Valentine  Day for me, because unless I compliment my wife on her cooking, I am not sure of getting my next meal”.

 His words were crystal clear as there was pin drop silence. None had the courage to look at the wife.

Appearing unabashed the wife said with a smile, “because that’s the only time my husband says something nice about what I do.”

All of us let out a loud guffaw with the exception of her spouse.

Even when we were eagerly waiting to hear what the rest would say about their spouses, the septuagenarian said, “Friends, shall we leave. The others can have their turn in 2010”.

You guessed it right, we all left in a single file without bothering even to thank our hosts.  

 N Meera Raghavendra Rao

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