Friday, June 26, 2009


During the past couple of decades I seldom needed an alarm clock to wake me up in the morning. For, my wife and children, a flock early birds, produced enough cacophny to wake the dead. Therefore, their behaviour on that October morning seemed quite out of character as they went about their chores with bottoned-up lips.

My wife, a role model for a pair of boisterous offspring, never considered silence a virtue. There were just three occasions in the past when my wife was forced into an ordeal of silence: 1) during a bout of laryngitis (then too she hissed around like a ratsnake); 2) when a thermometer was thrust between her lips during a febrile illness (she nearly choked on it trying to talk) and 3) when the ENT specialist applied tongue depressor to examine her throat.

She remained as loquacious as ever at all other times (even while she slept). Her excited prattle with bisibele bath in her mouth could truly be a auditory delight for any connoiseur of rap music and an envy of all accomplished ventriloquists.

In the light of the above facts, her new avatar of silence appeared quite enigmatic and, what's more, her paroxysms lasted exactly an hour after rising and an equal duration before bed-time. In the interim period it was buisiness as usual for her vocal cords. Despite my persistent cajoling, she refused to disclose the reason for her atypical behaviour. This state of affairs went on unabated for weeks. The mystery continued to haunt me, but not for long.

At dawn on the Diwali day, just when my wife brought the morning cuppa, a misguided cockroach took it upon itself to make a dramatic guest appearance on the coffee table brandishing its antennae. No doubt, the poor arthropod was on its way home after a gruelling night shift, but the insectile apparition forced my wife to break her silence with high decibel scream and, in the process, she spewed out (like an aerosol) some kind of oily substance all over my face and body.

Subsequent inquiry concerning the 'oil spill' revealed that my wife had taken up a new therapy called 'Oil Pulling' (a fad purporting to be panacea for all ailments, requiring gargling of certain quantity of cooking oil with lips tightly closed). Thus the secret behind the silence was spilled at last, and literally so! And inthe bargain, my wife invented a novel method of anointing for the ritual oil bath of Diwali!
The same day, I presented my wife with a fresh(large) can of cooking oil and a couple of books on 'oil pulling'. And why not? After all it was merely a case of 'oily to bed and oily to rise'.

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