The old man shut the gate with a bang and hurried back into the house. ‘What time is it?’ he asked his wife who was shelling green peas. His wife did not look up from her task, as though she feared that if she did, she’d miss out on a truant worm which would jump into the bowl and hide among the already shelled peas. Besides, it was an annoying habit of her husband’s- instead of raising his head and looking at the wall clock, he wanted her to give him the time. And recently she had developed her own annoying habit of acting deaf. High time he learnt to do the little things in life. The old man repeated the question, a little loudly, the decibel level of which may be categorized as yelling. ‘It is not yet time for him to arrive,’ she said calmly annoying him further with the wrong answer for his question. ‘Why don’t you ring him up once more?’ he demanded like a spoilt child. ‘He said he’ll be here in half an hour. Maybe he is caught up in the traffic,’ she consoled him. ‘Why don’t you sit down for a while?’ The old man grunted. She smiled at his impatience. He sat down for exactly 2 minutes and 17 seconds. ‘I’ll go to the junction and see if he is coming,’ he announced and hurried out as though fearing some objection from her. She shook her head in resignation and continued with her shelling. He came back in 10 minutes, fuming and almost frothing at the mouth. She couldn’t resist taunting at him. ‘Naay chandakku ponaa maadiri,*’ she muttered. He heard her. In a rage he came bounding up to her, grabbed the container from her lap and hurled the whole thing out of the open door. And as she stood up stunned by such a display of temper, he thundered, “If it had been your Sun TV, you would have been calling him a dozen times. It is because it is my cricket channel that you are so condescending! The blasted Cable TV,” he ranted on, “fails each time India plays a match….!” Then he looked at the gate and mumbled pathetically again, “Where is the guy?” And to her, “Please call him on his mobile once more…” She was sweeping up the scattered peas and pretending not to have heard the desperation in his voice.