Wednesday, 01 December 2021 | Krishan Kalra
This happened a few days before our son’s wedding. The house was full of relatives, there were many visitors every day, festivities, endless phone calls… generally a lot of activity and – as usual – confusion.
As the phone rang one evening, perhaps I picked it up a few seconds late – not realising that the servant had already answered and informed the lady at the other end that Deep – our son – wasn’t home.
The moment I said “Hullo” there was an angry retort, “So you are sitting at home and telling the servant to tick off callers.” I was taken aback but made an excuse that the servant perhaps didn’t know I was in; I also ventured to ask who the caller was. This time the response was even harsher. “So now you don’t even know my name, you….; after all the trouble I’ve gone to find your number. I had to make so many calls. Anyway since you refuse to recognise friends now, I’ll let you know this is Vinita.”
“Hi Vinita, how are you,” I mustered the courage to say. This was curious. Only the other day we had gone and delivered the invitation cards and mithai to our friends Vinita and Suriner Pahwa, and here she was talking about finding our number! Why was she being so difficult? Had we slipped up and not delivered all the cards. Was there something wrong with the mithai? Had we forgotten to write ‘with family’ on the envelope? A hundred thoughts crossed my mind.
“But our numbers are on the card,” I added. I like that she piped up, “who the hell has got the card? That’s what I wanted to tell you. Really I’ll have to come and sort this out with you mister Kalra, so and so.”
By now, I was thoroughly confused. Why was she playing games, or was it another Vinita we knew and I just couldn’t recall. My mind was working furiously but I couldn’t, for the love of god, come up with any other name. “Aren’t you Vinita Pahwa,” I decided to take the bull by the horns.
“How many Vinitas do you know, Mr Casanova? I am not going to take this insult. I must come and whack you.” Now she was shouting like a maniac. I was flabbergasted. I needed time to think.
“Listen, Vinita, this is getting serious. I‘m confused and I also have guests. Give me your number and I will call you in 15 minutes”. Condescendingly she rattled off a number. I poured myself a stiff drink and sat down to think. Just then Deep walked in. The moment he heard my tale of woes he knew it was his friend Vinita Tuli Khanna. He dialled the number and before he had a chance to say much, there was another flowering comment, “So, now you know who you are talking to.” Unlike me, he was ready. “Wait till you find out who you were talking to,” and he told her the story. Poor girl was distraught. She even considered going back to Bengaluru without attending the wedding. Throughout the wedding functions, she tried to avoid me. She was just too embarrassed for words. And of course there was no whacking!
(A veteran of the corporate world, the author now does only voluntary work in various spheres)