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Rudy Ravindra
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salad.jpg
Art by Kevin Duncan

My Salad Days

 

Rudy Ravindra

 

Sunita, My Dear Wife (who I privately call “MDW—Most Difficult Woman”), came home in the evening, all sweaty and hungry—the result of a vigorous workout at her gym, and was foraging in the refrigerator, looking for her favorite Weight Watcher’s cheese. She got a couple of wedges, and was about to close the door when she saw the crisper compartment.

She asked. “Did you go to the store today?” Without waiting for my answer, she opened the crisper drawer and said. “What? Broccoli spears, baby carrots, celery sticks…all this stuff….who’ll eat all this?” She looked at me, “I know you don’t care for any of this rabbit food. So……”

I said, “You know we have our writers’ group meeting tomorrow evening, I thought I told you about it. We need something to nibble on.”

Between bites of her cheese, she asked. “What’s wrong with cheese and crackers?”

“Well, Nicole wants to lose weight. She’s a member of our writers’ group.”

MDW assumed the pose of a Dragon Lady, her eyes spouting fire, her nostrils flaring, and hands on her once slim waist. “So you are more worried about some bimbo’s weight loss than your own wife’s. You never bought me all this stuff, you made me cook rice all these years, nothing but rice, rice, rice….and those damned beans and lentils, you fart to high heaven, eating all those beans. I gained some twenty pounds all because of you…” She slumped on the couch and started to weep.

I was a bit concerned as things were getting out of control, and wondered whether MDW was having one of her mood swings. But I remembered very distinctly that in the morning, I kept the fish oil capsule (which was guaranteed to prevent mood swings that some people, women or men, were prone to have), along with her other pills, right by her orange juice, and know for a fact she swallowed all those pills without complaining, and ran off to work.

On these occasions, a non-controversial topic was indicated. So, I tried to placate her. “Baby, you know it’s unfair to blame the rice. Your mother, may her soul rest in peace…..you know…..she was slim and quite beautiful even at the ripe old age of ninety-four. And she ate rice all her life. Yes?”

At the mention of her dearly departed mother who was probably looking down at her neurotic daughter from the heights of her Celestial Abode, Sunita’s mood lifted and a smile began to form on her tear-stained face. “Oh, yeah, my mother was exceptional. Too bad I took after my father. He was anything but slim. Oh, well, lemme go and have a shower.”

I was relieved to have averted a major crisis, and sat on my blue chair, pondering about my life and wife. Presently she came back to the living room, smelling of the special sandalwood soap, imported all the way from Bangalore. “Shall we eat?”

She removed the lids of the dishes, neatly placed on the dining table by yours truly. “Mmmmm….that smells good…stir-fried cauliflower, my favorite, and sautéed potatoes, wow…and white rice. What more can I ask for? You are good, after you retired I am glad you took over cooking.”

Dinner over, when we were clearing the kitchen and loading the dish washer, she asked, “Who’s this Nicole?”

I thought, not again. “C’mon, sweetie, you met her at Wildacres writing workshop last year. Remember, we were in the mountains for a full week. Don’t you remember? Nicole joined us for a few meals. She’s the beady-eyed blonde with a beaky nose.”

Suddenly it dawned on her. “Oh. That Nicole? I never liked her. Always dolled up in her tight-fitting jeans and blouses…..showing so much cleavage, looked as though she was poured into her clothes, and that perfume…ugh…so bloody strong….”

I tried to deflect the discussion from Nicole’s alluring figure to more prosaic matters. “C’mon, honey, she’s not all that….. she’s a nice person, writes very well. Ron Rash used to praise her writing, he said she had an authentic Southern voice.”

“Yes, yes. She’s authentic all right, yes, most definitely…..she’s an authentic Southern hussy. She was always touching you, pressing your shoulders whenever she got the chance.”

I tried to defend Nicole. “She just happens to be an affectionate person. You know how some people are….touchy, feely types.”

She became alert. “Now, I remember. She’s the one you used to sneak off with every darn morning….all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway….I should have known…hmmmm…and now this.” She sighed.

I pleaded my innocence. “I didn’t sneak off with her. You know I like my morning walks. Was it my fault that you love your sleep so much…..you didn’t want to get out of bed to walk with me. I met Nicole only one day when she was returning from her hike.”

She pondered for a bit. “You said that there are two more people in your writing group. Who are the other two?”

“Didn’t I tell you? Miranda and Anna. You don’t know them. I met them at the writing class at the Cameron Art Museum.”

“What? You are trying to have a harem or what? Right under my nose?” She teased me. “I know this Nicole bimbo….who are these other two women, are they young or old?”

Although I am middle-aged (isn’t sixty something middle age?), I refuse to keep company with withered, old women. My motto is: younger the better. “They are young. But what's important is they are good writers, much better than me.”

She sighed. "Anybody’s better than you. Even your little niece who’s in the fifth grade is better than you."

 

Rudy Ravindra is a graduate of the 2012 Iowa Writers’ Workshop summer program. He lives with his wife in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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