Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Bob’s Banter


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By Robert Clements

Green Grass On The Other Side..!
The wise man who once said, ‘grass always looks greener on the other side,’ must have chuckled as he spoke those words, as he looked out one night and saw this young couple:
It was Valentine’s Day and they had been invited to the home of another friend and his wife who were actually their neighbours. They were quiet as they came back from their friend’s house with their little one fast asleep on his father’s shoulder; they’d had a great dinner, but the husband had noticed his wife growing quiet as the evening progressed. He’d wondered what the problem was; had their child been too naughty, or had their conversation disturbed her. But as he reflected, he couldn’t really figure out what had been the cause of her change in mood.
“What’s the problem?” he asked her as they let themselves into their own house.
“Nothing!” said his wife Leila quietly, and he knew there was huge trouble ahead. ‘Nothing’ in a woman’s language meant, ‘Storm ahoy!’ He remembered enough times earlier on in their marriage when he’d thought, ‘nothing,’ meant nothing, had gone to bed and had woken up the next morning to notice that his wife had cried the whole night.
Now many years and many Valentine days later he knew better. “Come on, out with it,” he said gruffly.
“What’s the use, you’ll never change,” sniffed his wife.
“You want me to change?” asked her husband.
“Like I said, what’s the use,” muttered his wife, then burst into tears, “Did you see how Rohan looked at his wife Shobha throughout the evening?”
“How did he look at his wife?” asked her husband, wondering whether he should have been looking more at the couple who had entertained them than at his own child who had been a little naughty during the evening, “How did Rohan look at his wife?” he asked simply.
“With love!” wept his wife, “There was adoration dripping from his eyes, all the time, and then when I looked at you….”
“You didn’t see any I guess?” he said sadly.
“No I didn’t!” she said and started crying silently. He looked at her for a moment, wondering whether it was any point arguing with her, whether to tell her he had been so busy running after his mischievous child that evening that he had had little time to do anything else, but he decided to remain silent. The couple silently got into bed, the man making a mental note he would start looking at his wife with love and adoration, and the woman dreaming how it would be to have a husband like Rohan next door.
Since the two neighbours lived across the street from each other, from their living room windows, each was able to observe the activities of the other’s family.
A few days later, as she met her neighbour, Leila confessed she’d been watching what went on in Shobha’s front garden and that she envied her. “I don’t know what you mean,” Shobha said with a puzzled look on her face.
“I wish my husband was half as nice as yours,” she said. “I even see him out in the front tending the garden, and I wish my husband would do the same thing,” Leila said. “Your garden is beautiful!”
Shobha laughed and then made her confession. “I’ve been doing the same thing Leila,” she said. “I watch your husband from my front garden, and I have envied you!”
Leila shook her head with disbelief. “What on earth do you mean?” she asked.
Shobha continued, “I watched him carrying your toddler home that night. How caring he was. I also watched him being so patient with your child that evening, while we were all talking and I wished I had such a patient, caring, loving man like that. I see him playing ball with him so nicely too. How I wish Rohan, my husband, would do the same thing! He never wants our children in the way when he gardens.”
That evening as Leila sat at home waiting for her husband, she asked herself, “Be honest, would you rather have your husband play with your son, and help look after him, than someone who looks at you with adoration, maybe because you look like his well-manicured garden?”
She had not thought of that before, and she realized her neighbour’s husband might have the best garden in the world, make loving eyes at his wife all the time, but her own man had so many wonderful, meaningful and hidden qualities which didn’t come out in looks of love or sudden hugs and kisses. She also knew her son was a little bundle of joy because of the time her husband gave him.
She looked away from the grass on the other side! That evening when her husband came home, he was startled to see her with a big smile on her face and shook his head wonderingly as she gave him a hug, “What’s this for?” he asked.
“A belated Valentine’s gift!” she said as he again shook his head and wondered as men often do, as to what had made her forget he hadn’t looked at her with big loving eyes the day before. “I’ve been practicing!” he said.
“Practicing what?” she asked with a grin.
“Practicing in front of the mirror, how to make loving eyes at you all the time!”
“You needn’t,” she chuckled, “Just be the way you are, and I’ll be happy!”
And I’m sure the couple went to bed happy, accepting the other the way they were, not wanting to change each other into their neighbour’s garden mould.
But it’s the same with many of us, isn’t it? How often we enviously look across at our neighbour’s green lawn, blind to our own blessings that are so obvious to others. Let us cultivate the habit of concentrating on our own blessings rather than brooding over what our neighbour has..!
Read more in the author’s motivational book DARE available on Amazon.in
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