Friday, October 14, 2011

The tale of two couples

This is a very old story, told to me in my childhood by my grand mother.  I will not be surprised if you suddenly remember that you had also heard the same story from your mother or grandmother. Or grandfather or uncle or auntie.  These  stories are ever green and can be enjoyed at any time, especially if children are around. Those who had properties and assets passed on them to their next generation.  Even those who did not have any properties passed on at least these stories to the next generation.  I am not sure about those who had lot of properties.  They probably spent all their time in either making those properties or protecting and increasing them. Or at least spending them.  They may not have had time to pass on the stories. But the ayahs or nurses would have done the job of passing on the stories.  However, the stories have stood the test of times and are still enjoyable.  The details may change depending on the ingenuity of the narrator and the imagination at work at the time of telling the story.  Like this story itself.  The story told by my grand mother had only one couple. I have added the second couple to add variety, as we see in real life. Just change the names, items and situations according to local conditions. You have a perfect story for anywhere in the world.

In a small village there were two husbands and wives. Or should we say two couples for clarity?  They lived in opposite houses.  The husbands were farmers and worked very hard in their fields.  The wives took care of the household work and looked after the children. Besides assisting the husbands in the agricultural lands whenever the need arose.  The husbands were friends as were the wives.  Being a small village everybody knew everybody.

The husbands were both fond of Onion and Potato curry.  It is called Huli or Sambar in different areas.  Both farmers were growing Onions and Potatoes in their lands.  On one particular occasion they also had grown some brinjal in the lands.  Onion or Potato sambar itself is tasty. When both are mixed it is even more tasty.  One need not describe the taste if brinjal is also added.  In many villages it is the main item made when important guests visit the village.  Naturally all the four (two couples) were fond of the item.

With the brinjal crop being harvested, the first farmer one day told his wife to make Onion-Potato-Brinjal curry for the evenings supper and went to the fields in the morning.  His wife dutifully prepared the curry by evening and kept it ready.  The farmer used to have his supper everyday in a bronze plate.  But he would like to have his meal served on a banana leaf  whenever such curry was prepared.  The wife was well aware of this but on this day she could not get banana  leaves due to her being busy with other domestic work.  What difference would it make for one day, she thought and waited for husband to arrive.  

The farmer had a very tough day at the lands and returned very tired in the evening. The aroma of the curry was reaching him even before he entered the house.  His hunger was doubled now.  He washed his hands and feet, freshened up we can say for he present generation, and sat down for supper.  The wife had kept everything ready to serve the meal.  She took out the bronze plate and kept before him.  The husband's temper rose.  He shouted at his wife and asked her why the meal was not being served on a banana leaf.  The wife tried to explain her difficulties but he was in no mood to listen.  He shouted some more, pushed the plate away and went to sleep.  The wife was very disappointed and she also went to sleep.

The couple were no strangers to hunger and living on half meal.  But the harvest times were the days when they could afford a decent full meal.  It is difficult to sleep on an empty stomach. Anyone who has faced this for whatever reason knows it.  It is even more difficult to sleep on an empty stomach when excellent food is kept next to you.  The farmer got up in the middle of the night and went to the kitchen.  He served himself a sumptuous meal in the bronze plate.  No need to say he enjoyed the meal. He was about to clean the plate and cover the remaining food when he heard his wife's voice behind him, telling him  "Just leave it as it is. I will clean it after I have eaten".  Then the farmer realised that his wife had also gone to sleep without food.  He realised his folly and learnt his lesson.  He started loving his wife even more thereafter.

Two days later the same thing happened in the opposite house.  All details were identical.  The same sambar, the same missing banana leaf, the same shouting and up to farmer going to sleep. Only some things changed slightly thereafter.  The wife had her sumptuous supper and went to sleep.  The farmer got up in the midnight and served himself a meal in the bronze plate.  Everything was fine including the aroma.  But he could not take even a bite.  The curry had three times salt in it than usual.  When he was about to get up he heard his wife's voice behind him.  "I thought I will bring the banana leaf in the morning and  serve the meal to you.  Since you are more interested in the leaf than the curry, I have added extra salt in the curry. It should not really matter. Does it?".  The farmer did not know what to say.  The wife asked him to sit and served him the meals with a curry kept separately, with normal dose of salt.  The farmer realised his folly and learnt his lesson.  He started fearing his wife even more thereafter.

All grand mother's stories had some moral in the end.  What is the moral of this story?  One lesson can be that the contents are more important than the packaging.   Marketing wizards may not agree with this.  They may say packaging is as important as the contents.  Marketing MBAs may even argue that Packaging is more important than the contents.
There can be another lesson. The wives and husbands can draw their own lessons from this story in accordance with their identity with the four characters.


  1. Nice story mava...but I wouldn't eat the brinjal curry whether it is in a bronze plate, a banana leaf or even a gold plate...bari eeruli aalogadde is a different thing altogether :-D

  2. Very interesting! I think it really needs to be a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Good contents + great packaging = a divine aalugadde eeruli huli experience :)

  3. Yes, Packaging is certainly important but it can not be more important than the contents.

  4. So basically the wife had to go to bed on an empty stomach in order to be loved more!

  5. First impressions and all that, so packaging is importent. However contents stick in memory long after the packaging has been discorded.
    Personally, I would like some sandige and Balaka to go with the Huli

  6. Great story with forceful lesson "Kopadalli moogu koikondaru" anno gaade is appropriate here. One should think twice before reacting.

  7. I personally can relate to the 2nd wife. The first one depicts an old outdated model of women not being treated as equal in a marital dyad in Asian cultures.In no book or Mahagranth it is written that wife MUST cook for the husband.If she cooks,it might be out of love.So, taking a wife for grated is a sign of lack of gratitude.If a wife can help in agri, hubby can bring his own banana leaf.

  8. The charectors can be interchanged between husbank and wife. No matter who is right or wrong. At the end of the day it is love that matters. May be passed on to the next generation. Not the properties(which can be lost), but love.

  9. A good story very nicely told.Lessons are there to learn depending on one's own interpretations.