One day, a loving daughter asked her partially deaf husband, Rangan, to visit her sick father. To help him, she wrote on a piece of paper all the things that Rangan had to do. She also made a list of the things her husband was supposed to say to her sick father.
She asked Rangan to get some fruit before visiting her father. With great concern, she requested her husband to inquire about her father’s health as soon as he got there. After her father told him how he was doing, he was supposed to ask which doctor was treating him. And then, after the old man replied, Rangan was to nod, saying that the doctor must be good at his job.
Once his wife was done giving all these instructions, Rangan, the obedient husband, set off to see his unwell father-in-law. Upon reaching the village, he went to the market to buy some fruit. Apples, oranges and bananas seemed costly. He went around the market in search of something cheap. Finally, he settled for a bag full of ripe chilies.
He was soon at his father-in-law’s. Before going in to see him, Rangan distributed the ripe chilies among the children playing outside. Mistaking the chilies for some luscious fruit, the kids started wolfing them down. The spicy chilies, however, made their throats burn as tears started flowing out their eyes.
Unperturbed by the wailing children, Rangan walked in to see his ailing father-in-law. Quite irritated due to his illness, the old man frowned at him. So, when Rangan inquired about his health, he replied that the doctor had all but given up, and that he was simply waiting for Yama, the god of death.
Deaf Rangan could not hear what the old man had muttered. He replied innocently that the doctor seemed nice. Shocked and irked, Rangan’s ailing father-in-law yelled at him to not come again. Rangan thanked him perfunctorily and walked back home, with the satisfaction of a job “well done”.
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Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about her.