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     Volume 5 Issue 103 | July 14, 2006 |

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Common Cold

Attitude for Life

Neeraj Sinha

I do not know whether any of you have ever felt this way, but ever since I got up this morning I get a distinct feeling that I am a plant. You know, like one of those nice, green leafy creatures that grow abundantly in the wild and which many of us happily keep in pots or hang from overhead hooks…!

Things were fine and 'routine' till yesterday. I woke up early in the morning bleary-eyed and did my bit of shadow practice at the 'course' as usual. Like all other fellow men of my standing in the city I spent a perfectly 'normal' evening, partying late into the night and contributing my own two-bit to the meaningless chatter that goes well with roasted peanuts that most hosts serve, as part of the 'snacks' drill at these DOs.

I was fine too when I hit the bed yesterday night, or so it seemed. It is another matter that the hang-over of the party had clouded my judgment a bit and I don't readily recall now as to which of my friends it was who steadied me and got me into the bed instead of the bath tub that I was apparently insisting on getting inside. Apart from these minor judgmental errors which I am sure every man worth his salt is entitled to on weekends, there was nothing last night I assure you, to suggest this strange turn of events.

The issue of whether I am a normal potted plant that stands on its own merits or one of those exotic creepers that need support, is as yet, unsettled. There is a raging debate that is going on within even as I write. Confused as I normally am whenever I am forced to make choices, I continue to get swayed on either side of the debating divide! This would suggest that I were a creeper, easily dislodged by a small puff of wind. After all, isn't it wonderful to have a fall back position in life, especially when the winds of adversity are blowing hard and true…!

On the other hand, a normal potted plant has its merits. For one there is a degree of stability about you and as long as your normal watering needs are taken care of, one doesn't need much else to complete one's tenure on the planet. Besides, you are standing on firm ground and not at the mercy of the vagaries of nature. Unlike the creepers and other varieties, the potted plant has an attitude and a firmness of character which I would like to believe mirrors my own.

With this minor issue of the exact nature of my 'plant' status out of the way, I decided I was ready to face the world. Now I don't know whether I have shared this with you before, but for the past few days I have been noticing a certain defiance in the way in which my wife was responding to everything I did or asked to be done! Like all battle hardened strategists, who believe that talking, while preparing for a battle, is a precious waste of time, she was not speaking much today.

As a consequence of her new found reticence, the status was that I did all the talking, explaining my position over and over again, using logic and illustrations from world literature to augment my point and just when I thought that the winner's trophy was there for the taking, she would simply get up and walk away. The result was that every half an hour or so, I would have to begin detailing my position all over again.

Now this was strange! For we have had arguments before. And the matter at hand usually got resolved on the strength of the respective residual lung power for the day. In other words, whoever was able to speak at the top of the voice for a longer duration, won. You will agree this is a healthy way of addressing all marital disputes. On the one hand, it adequately exercises your throat muscles and on the other, keeps neighbours and passers by, fully in the loop. We have with experience discovered that this, our version of 'reality' TV, keeps questions and queries from curious neighbours, minimal.

All you married ones will concur that with spouses, like in the aviation industry, it is the final 'approach' that is the most difficult. With my new-found resolve and belief in firmness of character (remember the potted plant bit I told you about), I decided that enough was enough, and prepared to take matters securely in my own hands. Any good pilot will tell you that once you decide on a course of action, any delay in its execution can have fatal results.

Having chosen my course, I went to the far end of the house where my wife likes to keep all odds and ends that she feels qualify the junk and scrap grade. There amidst rusted pots and pans, stacks of old clothes, broken shell of our previous juicer and grinder and our daughter's forgotten dolphin, lay the object of my desire. The room was dark and dingy but my practised eyes could not miss the gleaming set as it shone through the open bag. Hardly had I gone a few steps towards the elevator that my wife found her voice back and neighbour's, their peace of mind.

I have had a good second game of golf today. I am now looking forward to a bit of throat exercise which I am sure to get the moment I return home! If not, I assure you, a third game of night golf at the artificially lit course, is sure to do the trick. Trust me, a bit of 'attitude' and 'character' always help!


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