Sometimes I get a little suspicious of my wife. No, No, don’t get the wrong idea! Not the kind of suspicion Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith shared for each other. I have never been able to understand how she manages everything and I am not talking about household chores. For instance, I have never been able to remember any traffic routes but she seems to have a google map in her head. Is it possible that she may have been chasing criminals on these very roads earlier in the day? Whenever we are planning a vacation, she already seems to know a hell of a lot about various hotels, places to visit and places not to visit and so on. Is it possible that she might be on some international espionage assignment and is yet able to make it home to cook dinner? I guess I will never be able to figure things about her, so I will just restrict this article to our conversation the other day.
I was writing a poem. I am not a poet; I just try to rhyme things and at times use my poems in my stories. After thinking for a couple of hours, I came up with the following lines:
It wasn’t my place to be, for I am only a traveller,
an observer, an onlooker, at best a road dweller.
I once called things I owned, proudly as my own.
Now the world is mine to use, all things known.
She was standing over my shoulder. I expected her to say something good about the poem. She kept looking at the words for a minute and then moved away with indifference. I looked back and asked her, “Hey! What happened?””Nothing” she said. Now with my experience of the last five years, I knew that “Nothing” is never “Nothing”. So I decided to prod on.. “I mean, what you think about the poem?” “Ohh! It’s nice”, she said. Now “nice” is another word which I know is not nice by any standards. While a man would mostly do the stuff himself to impress a lady, a woman would only offer help when the man is ready to admit that he is stupid. So I said “I am not able to complete the poem, can you help me with this?” “Oh you are a writer, you will figure it out” she said without looking at me. What did I do wrong? I had already admitted that I am not smart enough to do the job. Why wasn’t she helping? Oh yes! Once you have admitted that you are stupid, you also have to make the lady feel her supremacy. “You do these things so naturally!. In fact you do everything so beautifully! Just see what you feel about the poem.” Finally, she was interested!
“Hmm.. maybe we can change some words. For example “place to be” does not seem to fit in and neither does “all things known”. We may also have to change “road dweller” and “use” she said. “So what do you have in mind?” I said hiding my annoyance over the fact that I had spent almost four hours in finding these words. She spent the next ten minutes scribbling, striking words out, writing and then rewriting and mostly staring at the paper. After ten minutes, she came up with the following version:
I do not stop, for I am a traveller, an explorer,
My pilgrimage is long, for I am still a seeker,
I chose the world over the crossroads of “own” and “renounce,”
The world I own as an observer, an onlooker, at best a road dweller.
I kept looking at the poem, trying to find my words. Now I am beginning to think that they train their agents in all kinds of art including poetry as well!