Where is my.....?
By Chandroo D.

I can still recollect my dating days with my special girlfriend during late ‘60s and how we used to hide away from our families and rendezvous discreetly at Café de Capri, a cozy coffee house, close to our apartments in Kowloon; Hong Kong.  Love was in the air and we were on cloud 9!

After approximately one year, we were finally caught!  Rumors from friends had reached my girlfriend’s parents ears.  One fine day, her father called up at the office and invited me to meet him for a drink at Imperial Hotel.  I was nervous and visualized him throwing a blank cheque at me and demanding I leave his daughter alone – just as it happens in Bollywood movies.   I had a good reason to think along that line, since at that time, I was working for a good friend and earning a meager net salary of only Hk$500- (US$65).  Boarding and lodging was supplied by the company.

I put on my new stripped shirt, trimmed my Elvis side-burns and tried to look my very best that day for an interview.  I arrived at the coffee shop in Imperial Hotel in time to meet him and his eldest son-in-law from Lagos, Nigeria.  “So he has brought an ally?  Two against poor me!” I thought to myself.  “I have had it now buddy! This is the end of my affair”.

“What would you like to drink?” asked my girlfriend’s father.  “Hot chocolate” I replied, hoping that would be a sign for him that I abhorred alcohol.   After chatting up a normal business conversation, he asked how tall I was. That is when I politely confronted him straight and said that I knew why he wanted to meet me and would like to confess my meeting his dear daughter quite often, without his knowledge in the past and to answer his question on my height, I replied, “I am like an Empire State building next to your Taj Mahal sized daughter”.  He was taken aback by my frankness and looked smilingly at me.  “How much do you earn presently?” he asked.  “Enough to support your daughter”, I replied instantly and avoided the salary amount, hoping he would not pursue this subject again.  His rich son-in-law looked at me and did not seem quite satisfied with that answer – perhaps because I forgot to add “after marriage”.

I am not sure - but I think those simple straight question and honest answers brought us both down to earth on the same level, because after that we continued discussion on normal family matters and started to enter a comfort zone together.  We parted company on a good note and with his final statement – “Please do not meet my daughter until we talk it over in the family”.  Not a threat, but pleasantly said.  Chances looked good!

Two days later, I received a call from him inviting me to his apartment for lunch to meet the family.  Great!  My girlfriend and I were delighted, of course.  Just prior to lunch, the parents took me and my girlfriend to their small family prayer room and officially approved and blessed our engagement.  Simple and all in a day’s work!  The first thing my girlfriend said was, “Where is my…spectacle?”  Hold it, I thought! Was she blind?  Unaware of her contact lenses all that time, I had never seen her wearing spectacles before. Was she reconfirming that it was me, she was getting engaged to?  Had I just confirmed to get engaged to a semi blind girl?  Destiny! Or is ‘Kalyug’ the correct word?

That special girlfriend is today my darling wife, Lavina.  It is exactly 34 years now in October and till today, I hear her say, “Where is my…..keys?  Sometimes it is a handbag; sometimes it is shoes or sometimes it is money?”  And like a Good Samaritan I look for it and point her towards her lost item.

My father-in-law and his first son-in-law have since passed away and I dearly missed them both.  After my marriage, they and I had bound together more as friends than in-laws.

Time to wind up - as my better half since 34 years, is nudging me in my bed and is asking, “Where is my…. Hug and a kiss?”

 

"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself". Lois McMaster Bujold