I am R H said a gentleman whom we met at a party. It was a novel way of introducing oneself, we thought. Normally men associated themselves with their profession which acts as a prefix to their names, especially if they are doctors, professors or judges. But here was a doctor (we came to know of this in course of our conversation) who omitted the prefix and we wondered if it was deliberate or meant to be a joke, the way he laid stress on his initials.
What do R and H stand for? I am sure RH are your initials and there must be a name following them, I said trying to sound as polite as possible.
Does it matter? He replied with a counter question.
Well, yes. “What’s in a name?” may be a cliche, but still names have their importance, I said him.
What do you do? he asked.
Well, I am a housewife, no, a home maker, I corrected myself.
That makes two of us, he said with a bored look.
What? I asked in consternation.
Don’t look so shocked. Do you mean to say men can’t be home makers? he asked quite innocently.
No, I don’t mean that. But why give yourself that tag, when you are a doctor. I am sure you must be quite in demand, I said.
Yes, but not when you have been away the better part of your life making money to keep your family live in luxury and decide to come back to spend the rest of your life with them.
Why do you say so? I asked, getting more and more interested in knowing him better.
Oh, forget it. Why don’t you tell me more about yourself, he asked.
Surely, your wife and children must be happy that you are back with them after a long period of absence, I persisted, not wanting to change the topic.
Yes, they were happy as long as I was a visiting husband and father but not so anymore. Perhaps these things do happen if one gets used to being independent most of one’s life, he observed (I could sense the pain with which he was saying the words).
Our conversation came to a halt as we were joined by a few others who came for the party.
Party over, we all bid goodbyes to people known and the ones we had met that evening. Our Mr RH came close to me as we were departing and said almost in a whisper, Madam, I don’t want to leave you guessing about my initials. They stand for “Redundant Husband”.
n.meera raghavendra rao