The Decliner

By Santosh Bakaya

Courtesy: Creative Commons

“Never seen a wife writing poems at her husband’s expense,”  
Remarked the aggrieved one with an expression very tense.
At me, he waved one almost-threatening admonitory finger,
the other on the mobile screen continued to resiliently linger.
One eye watched Miss Marple on the television screen.
The other keen on the cricket match on the mobile screen.
“How can anyone caricaturize ones’ husband, beats me,”
Said the bitter-half, sipping absently from the cup of tea.

“Hey, were you not on the verge of completing your book?”
I remarked, handing him the third cup, with an angry look.
“Hey, my protagonist is shovelling snow from the driveway.
Don’t disturb me, I beseech you, desist from nagging, I pray.
 And by the way, I see your ways you are still not mending.
You have been a storyteller, so what if your poems are trending?
Go and finish those novels three, and let me watch the World Cup.”
This cricket enthusiast was now on the offensive; was my time up?

I hastily ran towards my manuscript lying wordlessly on the table.
Hot-hooved horses thudded in my brain reducing it to a stable.
Suddenly a boisterous bellow came to my rescue from husband dear.
He is a jolly good fellow, so at his yells, I never quiver with fear. 
In a beseeching tone, he asked me, “What is the spelling of obsession?”
I gaped, scratching my head. No,  this was not a mere hallucination.
Before I could tell him the spelling, he eyed me into total silence.
Frantic his moving finger, furrowed his brow, in his eyes a glint intense.

Whispered he, “Hush, my protagonist is conferring with the butterflies.”
Hissed I, “I am fed up with your untruths, half-truths, and blatant lies.”
“I asked you a  spelling, and you are unspooling synonyms of mendacity."
He capped the pen, glared dangerously at me, and got up with alacrity.  

“There is some missing link, let me go watch Benedict Cumberbatch.
He has solved many a mystery; in him, I am sure to find my match.”
“He is only an actor, not a writer, writing seemingly unending tomes.”
“But, mind you, he is a much-appreciated actor playing Sherlock Holmes.”

This wagging of tongues and battle of wits continued for a  long time.
Who said, a petty squabble, short of fisticuffs between couples, is a crime?  
So right now, both of us are sitting together watching 'The Abominable Bride'.
Folks think we are made for each other, unaware that we just took them for a ride. 

Dr. Santosh Bakaya is an academician, poet, essayist, novelist, biographer. She has more than ten books to her credit , her latest books are a biography of Martin Luther King Jr. (Only in Darkness can you see the Stars) and Songs of Belligerence (poetry). She runs a very popular column Morning meanderings in Learning And


Click here to access the Borderless anthology, Monalisa No Longer Smiles

2 replies on “The Decliner”

Still trying hard to suppress a grin… Dr. Santosh Bakaya has indeed taken me for a ride. With her ebuillence with words and the way she conjures up imagery that drags the reader right into the middle of the scene, is nothing short of brilliant. Here I’m still, very much a part of the ongoing petty but really not so petty squabble between a ah yes, ‘made for each other couple’, confused whether to focus on the character conferring with butterflies or the cricket match on the husband’s phone or the third cup of tea or the television screen which now seems to be playing “The Abominable Bride”.
Her alchemy with words takes the reader to new imaginations, much like a “hot-hooved horse” she describes herself as while attending to a seemingly forgotten manuscript. Hats off to this wizard of words.

Liked by 1 person

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