Mouthful of trouble

Having munched a cashew nut with its jacket on, and crushing the hard-coat peel between the teeth, thinking it to be a brown, deep-fried one, I had difficulty swallowing the offending stuff, since I could not have asked my hosts to show me the way to the sink, nearly throwing up.

There are situations when you may not bite more than what you can chew, but you hit the palette the wrong way or put in your mouth something that looks delicious but is not edible. You then walk into this uneasy situation that makes you uncomfortable and sheepish.

Another such a tricky situation I remember was when my son put a hot gulab-jamun into his mouth when I told him to be done with his food at a party. The boy, unable to bear the burning of his tongue, clutched the sweetmeat ball between his teeth and ran after me shrieking loudly, not 'Papa-Papa', but 'Wawa-Wawa'! Realising that the poor kid was almost steaming from the mouth, I barked at him to spit out the gulab-jamun immediately. I still recall his wet eyes at his calculation which went wrong, and my own carefree attitude in taking a kid to a party and asking him to hurry up too.

I know an old man who loved his drink, but was not offered his daily intake in the evening by his son. He reached out to the son's 'stock' in the latter's almirah. He mistook the mustard oil for liquor, both being of the same colour. While he was filling the cup, his son arrived. Barely had the old man touched the brim of the cup with his lips when the son asked him what he was doing in his 'cellar'. By now, the old man had realised that it was not liquor but oil. He quipped, "Son, I was feeling dryness in the hair, so I thought I will have some oil applied on my scalp." Looking at his father's bald scalp, the son had the last laugh and the old man a grin.

My father told me about one of his hostel mates, whose father, when he visited them in a hostel in Shimla, found his son open the door with a puff of smoke stuffed inside his cheeks. The son immediately turned around and punched the smoke in the air, as if shooing away flies and mosquitoes.

A Haryana joke I remember is about a cop who was chasing a thief. The latter hid himself in a field of brinjals. The cop, wielding his baton, held the thief by the collar and asked, "Who is this?" The thief replied, "A brinjal, Sir!" The cop retorted, "But brinjals do not grow moustaches!" The thief quibbled, "It is out of fear that the moustaches grew, just a moment before you arrived on the scene, Darogaji!"


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