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I have a roly-poly brother in law. Don’t let those eyes pop out. I am in no mortal danger for making that statement.

  • For one he stays across the ocean in far away lands.
  • For another I am a good year older to him and am confident that respect to elders is something that has been dinned into him by his parents.
  • For a third, can he bite the hand (though biting is more my sister’s forte, to read all about it click here) that has fed him all those urad dal laddoos not to mention the crispy murukkus that he gobbled with appreciative nods insisting that sis and me open a bakery when the time comes for him to retire from active service??
  • Last but not the least, is the most convincing reason: he will have to contend with my sis the biter par excellence (who by the way started her biting career at an even younger age than Nadia Comaneci her gymnastic career) if he goes around throwing things at me with intent to harm.

So I can rest assured that he will think twice nay thrice if not more before flinging whatever it is these mechanical engineers, which he is by profession, keep handy to fling at those that call them roly-poly.

Come to think of it, if I am not mistaken, there is one more reason and one which I am sure has him rolling on the floor laughing out if not loud at least in quiet mirth!! He knows I am not far behind him in this race to Rolypolydom. He had been hinting at just such a thing when he sent me that picture of mine clicked by his daughter my sweet niece Meenu proclaiming that I was fit to join King Khali’s entourage.

Hmm… Here is where I have to look into that conspiracy angle.

  • Daughter clicks picture making Valyamma (that’s me) look a fatter bimbo than she already is and well ensconced in Rolpolydom.
  • Father then sends picture to sis-in-law (that’s me again) with post script saying that she the sis-in-law (that’s me yet again), is fit to join King Khali’s entourage.

Hmm… hmmmm… hmmmm……

Yet… that can never be. I can almost see those beautiful eyes of my niece sparkling with unshed tears looking at me reproachfully and also the trembling lips from which come forth the single word, “Valyammaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!” uttered in a how could you even think of such a thing tone. Naaah!! She is too sweet a darling to be part of such a scheme. So I have to put aside this conspiracy theory. If you ask me though, one look at his French-beard which I hear many a lass is swooning over much to his delight and you wouldn’t let him off so easily.


What happened must surely have been this.

  • Sweet niece clicks picture from unusual angle.
  • Brother-in-law finds picture
  • Recognizes opportunity to pull sister-in-law’s sciatica ridden leg.
  • Grins wickedly to himself
  • Sends picture across with message about joining King Khali’s entourage.


Yeah, that’s sure to have been what happened.!!

My Lord and Master when apprised of events looks at the picture and dismisses it summarily.

“Perhaps the camera was at an angle and so it made me look so…. ummm… you know.. ummm… fat?!” I manage to say.

It IS tough describing yourself thus even if you know you are on your way to giving the Big Beautiful Women a complex. Sigh!!

“Of course you don’t look anything like that!” he says dismissing once again summarily all this talk of unusual angles.

I am dubious, so remain silent. I have this firm belief that I am headed for the title of Fattest Person on Earth.

“How can any camera lens make you look like that even at an angle??” he asks. “It looks like your head has been chopped and been attached to someone else’s body!!”

“You don’t think perhaps I have put on some weight and maybe developed some of those arm muscles, you know.” I ask him.

I have to know once and for all. Truths that have to be faced are better faced head on. No use postponing. Right Here Right Now sings Aby Baby the Junior, that gorgeously sexy guy and I agree with him. That’s me for you. Right here, right now. No putting off unpleasant things for me, thank you.

“After all I have been going to the gym!” I add proudly.

“What nonsense!” he says.

Ahhh Husbands!! Can you get them any better than this?? He still thinks I can give Sushmita Sen a run for her money at five feet nothing and weighing… ahem… well, I don’t have to reveal all that here!! Let me tell you in passing though that he, my Lord and Master, has astigmatism.

Now how the heck did I move on to my Lord and Master from that roly-poly brother-in-law under discussion?? Digression is my bane!!

Let us get back to the brother-in-law of mine. I have known him from the days of diaper-hood, no not his, but that of his Great Romance. In fact I would be right in saying I have known him since the days of the birth of the Great Romance between him and his heart throb, my sister. He was his slim dapper self those days not having tasted as yet the delicacies she was going to fill him up with and blissfully unaware of where all this was going to take him years down the line.

A jollier fellow you will never come across. Always ready for a laugh and to join the fun. Wanna go to the beach?? Wanna watch a movie?? Wanna go out to eat?? Wanna play charades?? He is ever ready to join you. Avid reader, TV watcher and net surfer. And whaddya know, a well enough cook to boot which incidentally means trouble for the ladies of the household as he keeps poking his nose into not only what’s cooking but also how it is cooking!!

The best about him is yet to come: He is past master at the art of pulling legs. Most times yours truly has been the innocent victim at the receiving end. Pretty quick learner that I am, you guessed it, I learnt fast enough to spot what was coming my way early on and instead of plunging myself headlong into it to manage and skid to a halt precariously close to the edge. Yet sadly, I have landed myself right spang in the middle of it a number of times too. Sigh!!

One day when realization dawned on me about something, I exclaimed like most of us do on these occasions of self-revelation,

“Oh what a fool I am!”

“We all know that Chechi (elder sis)” he agreed solemnly. “Now tell us what happened though…” he added poker faced while I got busy looking around for something, the most rotten of the lot of tomatoes for example, to throw at him.

There is this interesting tale about him which has become a sort of family legend. Once many a year ago, there we were at the famous Secunderabad zoo, he, sis and me with the little ones in tow. From one enclosure to the next we moved watching the animals as also reading about them from the boards displayed outside. Brother-in-law walked ahead of us to the next enclosure. On seeing us approaching, he pointed to the lone animal in the enclosure in front of him.

This” he said “is the Praying Goat.”

We looked at the animal. It was a huge one and was standing with its face upturned, motionless.

“…and the name derived from its posture.” he continued. “Look at the way it stands, with its face towards the sky as if in prayer.”

“Oooooooh” I exclaimed in childish wonder. “No wonder it’s called the Praying Goat!! It does look as if it’s praying!”

There was a tinge of awe in my tone in admiration for that unknown person who had been observant enough to choose such an apt name! Suddenly I felt something was amiss. Hmmm…. My sister had this look on her face. I quickly cottoned on to the fact. The guy was pulling my leg and royally so. That was no Praying Goat. It had been just quick thinking on his part that made it one.

Can you really blame me though?? I was familiar with Praying Mantises whose name derives from their typical prayer-like stance. If mantises can, so can the goats had been my logic. Apparently, the fashion had not yet caught on among the other animals in the Animal Kingdom and the praying stance remained and still does as far as I know the sole copyrighted posture of the mantises. Amazing don’t you think?? Just think of how humans jump into the bandwagon when anything new comes up. If Shahrukh Khan stammers in a movie you have half of India wanting to stammer and go K-k-k- !! I guess one has to take this philosophically and conclude animals have more individuality than us homo-sapiens.

Oh bother, I am guilty of digressing yet again! Next time I do that bung something at me, will you, something gentle like a feather would do, to get me back on line.

Getting back to the matter at hand, I had given one look at Mr. Brother-in-law and gone,


My sis meanwhile doubled up with laughter. Mr. Roly-poly (of course he was not one yet those days) had a cool satisfied smile on his face of a job well done.

There has been an interesting outcome of this little incident. Whenever he tries pulling a fast one on us (Sigh!! Who am I kidding, its mostly me who is the intended victim), either my sis or I go, “Meyyy.. .meyy…” imitating the cry of a goat to let the other know. At other times when we find what he is saying is difficult to digest we look at each other, shake our heads and say,

Naaaah!! It’s a β€˜Praying Goat’!

In fact it has become a family thing. Whoever tries to pull a fast one we have found this new way to let the others know. We simply have to go, “Meyyy… meyy…

Now if you and I ever happen to be talking and I go “Meyyy…. Meyy…” you know what it means, right?? And as for all you smarty-pants out there who are even now thinking up ways to try and fool this simple soul, yeah I mean good old me, guess what, I am getting smarter by the minute!! So there!!