Beta budhaape ki laathi hota hai. So the saying goes. Looking at the state of affairs and if I choose to listen to or read people outside this forum, I wonder whether it is a laathi for support or for other purposes. Well, I need not worry. I have no 'such' laathi/sahaara. Or so I thought. Until I had my first fall of the year in Berlin. The BH and my niece (a physiotherapist - unfortunately exported to the US of A) both declared that my spine (I seriously don't think they were refering to what lay north of the spine) was probably getting unstable, making me prone to my trysts with gravity. I laughed them off. I started suspecting the stability of the said north pole of their respective spines. Then came the second 'near fall', the consequences of which were worse than the actual fall and which I face to this present day. I told you to take a walking stick. You never listen. Free advice has no value for you. Why do you tell me if you don't want to listen to me? Now I have been using a large sized umbrella. Or let me change the tense. I had been using said umbrella throughout the monsoon on my walks. It was a classic case of killing two birds with one stone. It served its primary purpose, then it was my undercover walking stick and it reminded me of pictures of the British aristocracy (read Bertie Wooster) swinging a large umbrella down the road. But after the rains, I wonder which would look crazier, a not (yet) so old woman swinging a walking stick, or swinging an umbrella. Anyway, with a leg in plaster, there was not much I could do but give in. Ok, I'll take the big umbrella, I said. An umbrella is not support enough. It looks absurd, me walking with a walking stick when I can walk just fine. It is not because you can't walk, it is just a support in case you tend to trip or fall. And it is not only old people who use walking sticks. Besides, is your vanity more important, or your health? OK, I shall get one of those foldable walking sticks. Those are not strong enough. Use the wooden one. It is good and strong. Now let me interrupt this conversation here to explain a bit about the wooden one. It is ..... yes, made of wood, carved and looks like it was made for a solid old grampa of times gone by. So basically speaking it is a vintage walking stick. But no, it won't exactly work for me the way a vintage Ferrari or Morris Minor would. Don't be ridiculous. I won't be seen with that walking stick. Even your mother has got herself a fancy one and had discarded her's here. And now you want me to make use of it because it is there? That is not her walking stick. Then whose is it? It's yours. They gave it to you at the wedding. I get a feeling like I have just been socked at the back of my head with said stick. Then my tube light is switched on. Oh, the Kashi yatrai? See, they knew right then what I would need if I had to put up with you life long. There is after all some practical wisdom in old traditions. They provide their daughters with a weapon for self-defence (and are smart enough not to let the fragile ego of sil be damaged. So they hand it over to her through said sil). So now you have two options. Either I USE the stick the way it was intended (by my wise family) or take that stick and LEAVE for KASHI ..... NOW. (The distant strains of "Kashi dekhi, Mathura dekhi, dekhe Teerath saare, Kahin na man ka meet mil, to aaya tere dwaare" are playing silently in my mind. The effect was instantaneous. The erring sil (my parents') / BH left last evening for his mom's place and is yet to make his appearance. No worries. I am sure he'll be back right here just as soon!!! As for me, I just bought myself a nice, respectable folding stick (with a LED lamp which does not seem to work!!!) And to complete the picture and make it more credible, I have decided to say goodbye to hair colours!