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"Bye! Nice meeting you!", Nana called out from the balcony waving to the backs the departing guests. Nice people, he thought. He couldn't remember when last he had enjoyed a visit so much.
" That went well, didn't it? " he asked Nani who had started to gather the teacups from the table. 
'" Yes, nice people. Too bad they had a wasted trip.Coming all the way from Bhusaval.."
Nani said criptically. She never criticised her husband's schemes, and rather found them amusing. But lately he was getting more and more tiresome.

Nana looked a little abashed. " Maybe, but we gave them a good tea and great time, didn't we?!"
"But to call them all the way from Bhusaval... where ever that is, is nothing short of cheating!" Nani protested.
" Cheating ? We didn't cheat anybody! " 
" Yes we did." Nani pressed on vehemently. " We are running a scam and someday , someone will find out and expose it for what it is. Harmless, I agree, but still a scam!"
Nani was unusually vocal today. Maybe that hopeful couple's journey from Bhusaval bothered her. 

Nana and Nani had moved to a distant suburb after Nana's retirement. It was one of those townships that promise a quiet haven far ( really far! ) away from the mad rush of the city. It had everything. Gym, jogger's park, club house, library, a mini theatre, a temple, even Yoga.
Initially Nana was happy. But slowly the peace stated to get on his nerves. 

People have many addictions. Nana got his 'HIGH' from meeting people. Therefore for the first few years he joined all possible activities in an attempt to meet people. The local chapter of Laughter Club, Music societies, Cultural groups, the bridge club, the works. He even visited hospitals to meet people he barely knew.

Nana was a handsome man. At first glance he impressed everyone and was a welcome guest at every event. But his real problem was, he had no real interest in any of the activities he participated in. In the morning the Laughter club member  after finishing their daily quota of laughter went their own way. The music society expected some basic interest in music. He found discussions at the book club longwinded.

The sad fact was that Nana was a BORE. He liked to relate stories and anecdotes about people no one knew, and were far from funny. Most of them were about how Nana had bested someone in some argument or situation. He narrated long and complicated jokes and would forget the punchline. 

As a result people started to avoid him. In the club people had started to avoid Nana. All he had to do was to enter the club rooms and people would remember errands they had to get done right away, or rush home because their wife expected them home early etc etc. leaving him alone with his drink. This left Nana a lonely and bitter man. He wished he was back in his old office where he had a lot of people to talk to . But now, even they had refused his invitations for drink and  dinner ! He frequently expressed his frustration Nani , who had learnt to nod encouragingly to his rants . She had mastered the vague murmurs and sympathetic expressions early in their marriage. 
But today she spoke up.

" Giving an ad in the matrimonial columns about a well settled boy abroad , when we don't have even a shadow of a nephew - leave alone a real son! If this is not a scam then I don't know what is!" she pointed out. " and when the poor parents , hoping for a good match for their daughter visit us, I feel very bad. Especially as you do it just to get people to chat with."
Here Nana interrupted her " But it was a brilliant idea, wasn't it? When Gokhale mentioned people hounding him with proposals for his son, I thought, why not ? A nephew settled in the USA in need of a wife. How was I to know that this time they will come from Bhusaval?"
Nana sounded a little petulant, as if the visitors had played a dirty trick on him by withholding this information. 

Nani continued doggedly-"All this has to stop now. My BP shoots high every time the phone rings. You have to find a different way to keep busy. I refuse to play hostess to all those visitors."
She gathered rest of the plates and announced- " Now if anyone calls about that mythical nephew,, I am going to tell them he is gay and recently got married to his boy friend.That should stop them." As a last word this was a good one and Nana was silenced.

For next few days Nana was unusually silent. He didn't go out for his walks, didn't help Nani around the house as he frequently did.Nani was worried about his silence and wondered if he should visit his doctor, or perhaps a psychiatrist? This need for people was getting out of hand. In the meanwhile the calls kept coming. Nani answered them expressing sorrow and 
" these boys.. one can never guess... its the life abroad.... away from parents ..." etc etc.

Eight or ten days later Nani found Nana scrutinising the furniture closely. He asked " we have had this sofa for how long? Almost fifteen years - right ? Maybe it's time to get a new one, and a new fridge too. This one has become rather noisy."
Nani protested about the unnecessary expenses as Nana carried on -
" I intend to place an ad online, then invite people to come view the furniture, price negotiable! " Nana was jubilant at his new scheme as he went to look for his camera. 
Nani sighed as she went in the kitchen.


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