The Lord and Master (L& M) and I were walking down the aisles of Spencer’s Daily one fine day, whiling away the time waiting for the fish we had bought, to be cleaned and cut. I stepped over to where the breads were kept, eyeing the fresh batch of roti that had arrived debating whether to give in to my laziness and take home a couple of packets or be the conscientious homemaker and make them from scratch later on in the evening. Of course I don’t mean from growing the wheat and harvesting it! The very idea!!
“Shall I buy you some roasted kaju (cashewnuts)??” I heard a voice asking.
Well I have heard that voice for over a quarter century now, so I knew to whom it belonged. But I couldn’t immediately get to the bottom of who the roasted and salted cashew nuts were for. This I had to see for myself I thought as I turned in wide-eyed wonder and curiosity to gaze in the direction from whence the voice had come, which was coincidentally the exact place where I had left the L & M and moved on.
My eyes weren’t disappointed in anyway at what they found. They got the priceless chance of feasting on a sheepish looking L & M who was apologizing to a young lady who herself seemed dazed, with an almost nymph surprised while bathing sort of look. (Not my own, it’s from the Master, Wodehouse). People, I mean of the con artist kind, come in all varieties nowadays and God knows one could very well come in the guise of someone offering to buy you roasted and salted cashew nuts. So I really didn’t blame the lady. Even as I watched, barely managing to suppress my insane desire to giggle, she hastily and demurely withdrew from the scene dragging her child along, looking around frantically for her husband.
L & M looked up to see my gaze upon him and gave me another sheepish grin, admitting that he hadn’t realized that I had moved on to the next shelf in the aisle. Or at least that was his story. I was sorely tempted to give vent to silent mirth. But that could wait. This was good, extremely good. It is not everyday that I get an opportunity to pull the L & M’s extra long legs.
“So this is what you do when I take my eyes off you for a minute!” I said giving (or at least trying to give) him a censorious look.
“Offering to buy roasted cashew nuts to sweet young things while my back is turned! What next??!”
At this point I spoiled the effect completely by giggling helplessly. Sigh. I have never been good at even hiding birthday presents.
It is not easy to get the better of L & M. Quickly recovering lost ground, he came up with his rejoinder.
“Thank your lucky stars that she didn’t accept my offer and instead ran away! I would have been obliged to get her a packet of crisp cashew nuts if she had said ‘yes’!”
He paused before going on.
“Think of it. She’d take it home and when her husband asked, would have told him, a nice gentleman at the store kindly offered to buy it for her and that she accepted since she did not have the heart to refuse him!”
Once started there is no stopping the L & M.
“And what’s more,” he continued “she could easily have told me, ‘I’d like those and those and those too!’ and then where would I have been?? Being the perfect gentleman, I would have had to buy them all for her!”
I almost choked on the musk-melon milkshake right then and L & M got busy thumping my back. Phew!!