I knew they were evil. All around me I saw evidence of their evilness. Proof enough to convince a jury. I wondered whether to believe or not, how much to believe ..... till they gave me proof. George Washington would have given me some kind of National Award if he had known me personally. Why? No, he had all his marbles in tact, but I suspect he would have been touched that there was a person who was influenced by his and the Mahatma's (oh, not to forget Rama's - he was of course the original one) adherence to the truth. Well, I generally adhere to the truth. If inconvenient, I , but I can say hand on my heart, I would never tell a lie intentionally or with malicious intent. (I just glimpsed myself in the mirror. I even turned the lights off, but no, there is no sign of any shimmering halo around my head). Despite all that, 'they' made me lie the other day on phone. But the fault is all theirs and theirs alone. Every afternoon they try to sell me something new ..... and here we are trying to get rid of a useless product they have sold us. I try telling them I need to consult the BH (I am an OBW, you see? For the uninitiated that stands for obedient Indian wife) and he is not at home. 'What time will he be back?' 'Very late at night. Call in the morning if you want to talk to him.' Now I wonder whether they want to talk to him or to me. They seem to love the sound of my voice. They always call in the afternoon when I am being Ms. Adave (horizontal). I stop picking up the phone. One afternoon, the Jr. Ms. Woman Friday picks up the call. She is still uniniated. She tells me they want to talk to me. I tell her to tell them to GO TO HELL. To tell them that she just saw me lying dead in the bedroom and that the family is collecting funds for the funeral and would they donate from their corporate kitty? She tells them I am not at home. There! I feel like those parents who have trained their kids to tell lies, though honestly I have not. She did not feel like being 'nice' to them and asking them to do what I told them to do with themselves. So technically, I did not tell a lie. I forgive them for that. Relatives from the ILs side call. They ask to talk to the mil. They assume that mil is always with us. A few times of this, then I pick up the phone and answer before they ask (of course after saying "hello" otherwise how would I know who was calling?) telling them directly, like an expert mind reader, without any further delay, (after all talk time is expensive, isn't it?) that mil is to be found in her own home, that being her normal habitat. 'She is not picking up the phone in her house.' Not my fault. Personality disorders. 'She might be in the rest room. She might be in the garden.' She might not deign it fit to talk to anybody in the moment. Or she might be playing copy cat and doing a perfect imitation of Ms. Adave. Mil calls a few times. Remember talk time is expensive. She comes directly to the point and asks about her dearest son. In fact, if my students knew her, it would spare me the trouble of explaining what the German expression "mit der Tür ins Haus fallen" means. (Well, here is how someone who enters the house in the manner described by the phrase would do so ) Sonny boy is not yet home. 'When will he come home?' 'I don't know.' 'Didn't he tell you?' 'No,' (you never brought him up with such niceties). 'Tell him when he comes back to call me.' 'OK.' Orders given, orders taken. A few times later. I pick up the phone. I don't need to say 'hello'. I know instinctively who it is. I take in a deep breath. No wasting time on 'hellos'. "No, sonny boy is not at home. He has not yet come back. He has not told me when he'll be back. I shall tell him to call you when he does." I say it all in one breath. Baba Ramdev might see it fit to give me some kind of yoga scholarship. "OK, how are you? Did you have dinner?" The message has gone through. Earlier, I used to be get upset by her calls and her nastiness. Today morning she calls him. He's in his favourite place 'taking rest'. She asks for him. I tell her where he is. (I can record that and play it to everyone who calls, because it is the truth most of the times. He lives there!) 'Tell him I had called him when he is back.' 'OK.' Old habits after all die hard, or rather don't die at all. The message is conveyed. "Your mom had called. She asked me to tell you to call her when you were back. I have done my job and told you that she asked me to tell you to call her when you were back." Does he read in between the lines? I don't think he needs to. He knows. It is after all a story spanning 2 decades now. His expression is the most perfect impersonation of the medidating Buddha that I've ever seen.