With a long grin on his face hubby dear handed me a brown paper bag, his face beaming with an expectation of love and gratitude.
On opening it, I was aghast and shocked! This crazy man was out of his wits. Didn’t he know what times were we going through? Now where would I hide this blasphemous thing? In my nervousness, with trembling hands, I immediately put it back in the packet and thought of throwing it in the dustbin. But what if the garbage picker smelt it and leaked the news?
Let me hide it under the bed, was my second thought. But, Shanti would discover it in the morning while cleaning and mopping, and she was such a God fearing lady. No pleading and reasoning of hubby dear could convince me, that this one was exempted from being the ‘banned’ thing. He told that the custodians of religion, as well as band of nationalists, were still ‘tolerant’ towards it, and we could still eat it. But I wanted to take no chance of being trolled or lynched by the so-called vigilantes. My scanty grey thatch could barely cover my alopecia regions. I had no intentions to get tonsured either. No amount of assurance was enough for me to get rid of my paranoiac fears.
I refreshed his fading memory and chided him. How could he forget the much adored painting of ‘Das Avatar’ hanging on the wall of Mrs. Pandey’s house with ‘Matsya Avatar’ of Vishnu from Satya Yug. It was the first incarnation of the creator, clearly indicating fishy’s holiness. After all it was only a small sacrifice for my taste buds, to prove my loyalty, patriotism and religiosity, all together, as these terms are relative to each other, now a days.
Adding to my anxiety with his irreverence towards ‘Her Holiness, Miss Fishy’, my husband hinted upon cooking it and eating it secretly, leaving no evidence of it for anyone to find out, about our sacrilegious act. My predicament of finding no easy way of disposing this, ‘Could be Holy Miss Fishy’ left me completely hapless! Now the shadows of my doomsday could be seen not very far away, performing the dance of the devils. And it seemed, the call from the gallows was loud and clear.
With all this din in my head, I was sweating and panting, when hubby shook me off my sleep. So relieved I was to know that it was a nightmare. All I could utter was ‘oh my fishy’, and spat came the response from the loving hubby, ‘Oh sure, will get it today. Which one, ‘Rohu or Catla?’
I could only gape upon his audacity.