We were driving into Chennai from Bangalore for a wedding last weekend, and the journey which was supposed to take around five hours, took seven hours instead. This was because dear husband does not believe in maps, GPS, Google or in signposts. He tells me he relies on his inner compass, much like the homing instinct which birds use to get back to their nesting grounds. Well, all I can say is that we would be seeing Siberian cranes anywhere else but in Siberia, if their instinct was anything like my husband’s!
So naturally we nearly reached Cochin before we figured out that we had overshot the Chennai turn off by at least 100 miles and then we had to back track all the way. To make matters worse, we had his bosom buddy travelling with us, and both of them insisted on recounting sordid tales of their youth, getting nostalgic on old songs, and reminiscing about some PYTS they had both known throughout the long journey. The intensity of the discussions would peak at the crucial juncture when we had to take a vital life-or-death type of call on where to turn at the roundabout and because they were so involved in their conversation, invariably we would end up missing the correct turning!
Since I am such a good wife publicly, I could only seethe within but not without. And thus I spent most of the journey having very detailed and exhaustive mental conversations with my husband, on all the garden paths he had led us up, both real and figuratively, in the last two decades because of this pathological dislike of asking for directions!
As time started flying faster than the miles to Chennai, and sailed inexorably past my lunch time which everyone knows is sacrosanct, my temper started rising in conjunction with the drop in my sugar levels. Slightly belligerently therefore, I asked the buddy how far away we were from our destination. He promptly responded, “six minutes”. I immediately cheered up at the proximity of being fed and quietly packed away the salvos, which I could in any case use some other day!
Half an hour passed and we still hadn’t reached. A couple more queries elicited, “almost there” from the buddy perplexing me further. Now if dear husband had given me these answers, I would surely have figured out that there was something fishy in the fair city of Chennai! But the buddy wouldn’t fib to me, now would he?
But apparently, dear buddy’s antenna had honed into the pent up feelings swirling dervish-like in the car (no doubt having experienced much the same whilst travelling with his own wife) and to defuse the tension and save his friend’s skin had made our destination appear closer than it actually was!
The ease with which the ‘six mins’ rolled off his tongue continues to amaze me even now and I realise that this stretching of the truth, to put it elegantly, seems to be a special knack that men have. For example, just recently a colleague was wisely explaining to me that he chooses to announce that he is off on an official trip, only a couple of days prior to the trip, rather than when it gets planned a month earlier, so as to limit the recriminations from his wife who currently is taking care of a small baby at home!
On deep introspection, I have come to realise that this is an essential part of the survival kit that men need to be born with in order to deal with women, and between you and me, I sort of understand! Maybe! What do you think?