Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Your Wife

"We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment."
-Hilaire Belloc

After an unplanned night in Hyderabad we determined that a flight would leave for Calcutta after breakfast. We packed our belongings with a curious combination of care and haste and were soon setting off to the airport on a bus.
Along the way, Spouse later whispered to me, another passenger had made a comment that he thought worth repeating.
"Your wife is so kind and soft spoken, and gentle," the lady had said to him.
I was left astonished at such accolades when Spouse had finished telling of his encounter with the friendly soul to whom our travelling companion A had first introduced us.
Truth be told, I did not recognise myself in that description; moreover, I had barely exchanged words, perhaps a smile, with the person in question.
"It doesn't sound like me," I said to Spouse in jest. Then reality dawned and the joke paled and all was clear.
"As a matter of fact, I don't think it was me!"
We soon drew the conclusion that it was not I at all she had been referring to, but A, who was perpetually dressed in Indian garb as a result of not being in possession of the remainder of her luggage; and the poor woman had all along assumed that I was the friend and A the wife dressed appropriately for visiting her husband's birth country.
It is a testimony of A's good nature that I was able to tell the tale and elicit a barrel of laughter into the bargain.
It emerged that A had earlier witnessed the lady struggling with a heavy bag and had suggested that Spouse would come along and help her. When we gave it some consideration, that certainly seemed to be the catalyst for the error.
We said our farewells to A in Calcutta, she to go on her journey and Spouse and I to go on ours.
We had been three, then we were two.
There was more than a hint of sadness, a strange and unexpected sentiment given the fleeting and chance circumstances of our meeting.

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