Major Sundar entered the army hospital with Karthar, his orderly, a few steps behind him, carrying food for Ajalaa. Hope she gets discharged soon, he thought. The sooner she gets back to normal, the quicker the accident will be forgotten in the regiment. People were laughing at his spontaneous outburst at the time of the mishap. He blamed himself for her condition. Ajalaa had a passion for dancing. She was a well- trained artiste whose career had been reduced, after marriage, to performances for mere formality in the army’s ladies club and other social functions. She contented herself by taking part whole- heartedly in the parties, an ever willing partner for many a dancing officer. Born as the only daughter of a Consul General who had been posted in the southern European countries, she was well versed in the western dance forms as well. The only problem was that while his wife was a whiz at dancing, he was born with two left feet and no sense of rhythm. Very early in his career he had realized that he was good at commando operations, but not social ones, especially dancing. After having tripped over and tripping over a number of army wives, he, now-a –days, nursed his drinks from a vantage point, from where he could enjoy watching those blessed with two dancing feet. Maybe, that was why he had been keen to marry someone like Ajalaa. A danseuse of a wife would certainly be an asset to an army man, he had thought. Well, everything had been fine till last week. Colonel Braganza had come to know that Ajalaa was good at the Tango and Cha Cha and had told her to reserve a few dances for him at the regimental New Year’s party. Sundar had indulgently watched the new dancing sensations – Colonel Braganza and Ajalaa holding the attention of all gathered, dance after dance. After her fifth dance, she had managed to get near him and told him to get her away as she was tired. Sundar was cradling his fourth drink. Drumming his fingers on the sides of the glass he had murmured, ‘ Paaruda, Ajju, You are doing a good job! Perisu happyaa irukku ( the old man is happy)! Dance little lady, dance!’ He had waved her tipsily away, as his superior claimed his wife’s hand for a tango. She had given him a reproachful look before being led away. He couldn’t recall what exactly had happened . Probably, the colonel had also downed a couple. At one point he was supposed to hold Ajalaa’s waist by one hand and swing her up… he slipped….rather she slipped out of his hands. Thud! There she lay on the floor! ‘Ayyo! En pondaattiye keezha pottoottayedaa paavi!’( You have dropped my wife, you blighter!) yelled Sundar…and ran to his wife’s side. The regiment doctor was already kneeling by her side… giving someone orders to call the ambulance! A sprained ankle and severe concussion had left her in the hospital ever since. Sundar cringed each time he recalled the total silence in the hall after he had yelled at his senior. Sundar entered his wife’s room. He quickly and smartly saluted Colonel and Mrs. Braganza who were sitting with Ajalaa. ‘So, my boy! She is fit as a fiddle! And you know what? We are going to practise regularly from now on…Perseverance, young man, is my middle name! HA HA HA HA HA!’ guffawed Braganza. I must apply for a transfer, thought Sundar, in a frenzy.