The quantum of dinner conversation with the SRE can vary from zero levels, when he is either preoccupied with his own thoughts and/or with the TV across the room, (when the devoted spouse is supposed to guess when he needs another chapati, and has, over the years, learned to imitate his gestures towards the water bottle) or to actual conversational levels. The topic of conversation can range from the ridiculous to the sublime, but definitely tends more towards the former! Dinner last night was a case in point. The younger son, a friend of his, my sister, the SRE and I were at the table. My sister and I were polishing off the remains of the delicious yellow pumpkin that my sister had made at lunchtime. Now, this is a pumpkin with many desi names- my extended family calls it 'kaashiphal', a lot of people call it 'seetaphal', some call it kumhda.To the SRE, however, it exists only as 'kaddu', and is, for some inexplicable reason, a vegetable he will not deign to eat. Yesterday's dinner had a couple of his and the boys' favourite preparations, apart from the unfortunate pumpkin which became the focus of a metaphysical discourse.
The SRE planned to ask God, whenever he met him, why he had created the pumpkin in the first place. Then he felt that God must have issued a sub-contract for its creation to some minor godling. He could understand God making many different vegetables and fruit, even bitter stuff like karela (which he doesn't eat either, but accepts as having valuable medicinal properties), but kaddu- no way. He then started on Hindi idioms which aren't kind to the poor pumpkin either- calling someone a kaddu is most certainly insulting his intelligence. "Kaddu mein teer maarna" is no great achievement either. Poor kaddu. To add insult to injury the SRE also sometimes refers to lauki (vegetable marrow) as kaddu, adding to the confusion.
I really feel like apologising to the poor pumpkin for serving it in the SRE's presence!
There,there, Kadduji- I really do like you. You are not a waste of space. You have many good qualities, besides being delicious. What do you say, gentle readers?