February 17, 2023
Three women met in a coffee shop. Born and brought up in the same town, they knew each other from their childhood days. Studying in the same school, they had grown up together. Wearing clothes of different colors, they appeared joyful. First one wore a blue outfit, the second one displayed a yellow dress and the third one exhibited herself in black. They went to the counter, individually paid the bills, collected the coffee of their choice, and occupied a corner table.
“We are catching up after a long time. I am feeling so happy,” The woman in yellow sounded emotional.
“Time flew so fast. We were lost in the commitments of marriage, husband, and kids. Suddenly we realized the children have grown up and age sixty is our new identity,” The woman in black sipped her coffee.
“Why are you so quiet?” The yellow woman looked at the lady in blue.
“Married a doctor and lived in Germany for the best part of life. Returned to my home country on his retirement. Life has been tough since then,” The woman in blue let out a sigh of lassitude.
“What happened?” The woman is black raised her eyebrows.
“This town is addicted to gossip,” The woman in blue shook her head in disappointment. “It is so annoying. Everyone enjoys talking about others' private lives. Our life was so good in Germany. I find it extremely difficult to adjust in this town of gossip mongers.”
“I completely support your views. I hate gossip as well,” The woman is black endorsed. “Lived in Dubai for over 25 years. I have been struggling to get to grips with this new place. Should I call it culture shock? Honestly, it is not easy to adapt to this strange social environment. While living in Dubai, we didn’t even know our neighbors. It was fun to keep our business to ourselves. It was a happy life.”
“I understand, after living a large part of your life in foreign country, you all are struggling to adjust to this gossiping culture. Imagine the kind of frustration that I must have gone through while living in this place all my life. People act so friendly and nice to our face. Then they make things up and talk bad behind the back,” The woman in yellow sounded depressed.
“I have a neighbor, such a nosy and intrusive lady.” The woman in black pushed the hair back from her forehead.
“Who are you talking about?” The woman in yellow showed interest.
“The lady with a nasal voice,” The woman in black replied.
“I know her. One really can’t make out if she is speaking from mouth, nose or any other organ,” The woman in blue laughed loudly.
“She is such a pain,” The woman in black extended her hands with palms facing up. “If any guest visits our place, she stretches her neck like a goose. She has to peek at every vehicle that appears at our gate. I get a feeling; she is more bothered about the activities at our home rather than at her place.”
“It is not just about your home, that lady keeps detailed accounts of every home in this town,” The woman in yellow mentioned in a hushed tone. “I heard; her husband is leaving her. She is seeing someone.”
“Really? This is unbelievable.” The woman in blue raised her eyebrows.
“That’s what happens to the snoopers,” The woman in yellow looked around and spoke softly. “She thinks she is foxy. Imagine having an affair in front of grown-up children. Everyone has seen her lover visiting the house in her husband’s absence. He owns an ice cream parlor. How long will the husband show a blind eye? Such a sweet and simple character. You know, he does all the work at home including cooking and cleaning. I am telling you she is stupid. Do you think any husband will stay quiet forever?”
“If her husband is doing all household chores, what is she doing at home?” The woman in black asked.
“She must be busy tasting ice creams when not snooping around,” The woman in blue covered her face and chuckled.
“She must be relishing the free ice cream,” Both woman in black and woman in yellow said concurrently and giggled incessantly.
“Who told you about her extramarital affair?” The woman in blue probed.
“Who do you think? My late husband’s best friend the retired teacher. He gets all the news. My children used to call him the antenna,” The woman in yellow wiped her mouth with tissue paper.
“What do you mean by antenna?” Woman in black raised her eyebrows.
“His ears carry a high frequency level that capture all stories of the town. They are capable of hearing quiet sounds. He knows everything,” The woman in yellow smiled.
“Antenna! Funny name,” The woman in blue turned serious. “Do you know his daughter’s wedding is called off?”
“That’s news for me.” The woman in black blinked rapidly. “I believe the girl was living with a boy in the city without getting married. Her father was planning a quick formal wedding.”
“Current generation is dumb,” The woman in yellow nodded. “The risk of separation is high in live-in-relationship. It is fun for the boys. They can easily back out. What about the girl if she gets pregnant?”
“I had seen her a couple of months back. I thought she had a baby bump. Since then, she has never visited the town,” The woman in black whispered.
“The girls follow western culture and moral values are declining. Did you hear the story about that squinty Electrician’s daughter? Someone told me, she visits pubs all alone and consumes 3 pints of beer in less than 30 minutes,” The woman in blue emptied her cup.
“They are a boozy family,” The woman in yellow rubbed her hands. “You know her brother, the plumber? I had asked him to repair our washbasin pipe. He promised to fix it in 2 days. Now it is two weeks. He has not shown up. Such a lazy bum gets drunk early in the morning. I am surprised how he earns so much to spend on drinks?”
“This is the sad situation of our town,” The woman in black burped. “Other than gossiping, people have no other work. They have no desire to work. Nevertheless, people spend lavishly on wine, food, and clothing. Where does the money come from? I have no clue.”
“That’s why there is an increase in the number of home burglaries.” The woman in back gave her verdict.
“Why should we talk about others? Let them do what they want and let us do what we enjoy the most. We will have to meet more regularly to boost our bonding,” The woman in yellow picked her handbag.
“Well said,” The woman in black got up. “This is a town full of compulsive gossipers. It is advisable to stay away from such people. Let us try to catch up like this at least once a month.”
“Definitely. I would rather advise you to form our exclusive WhatsApp group. How about calling it The Three Women?” The woman in blue showed sudden urgency to leave. “I will have to visit the supermarket. See you. Bye.”
The women in yellow and black nodded. The woman in blue hurriedly left.
“The blue color does not match her,” The woman in yellow whispered in the ears of the woman in black. “She is too proud. Just because she lived in Germany for a few years, she thinks too much of herself. Someone told me, her husband was under the influence of liquor when he operated on a patient and the patient passed away. They escaped from Germany before he was caught. He would have been imprisoned for life.”
“Really? This is news to me,” The woman in black was amazed. “She sounds self-righteous. It is fake. I am driving the car. Shall I drop you home?”
“I will have to visit the tailor shop. Let us catch up again,” The woman in yellow left the place.
She visited the tailor and stopped at the bus stop. As she was waiting for the bus the woman in blue arrived in an auto rickshaw. She waved and invited her to join. The woman in yellow accepted the invitation and stepped inside. The auto rickshaw gathered speed.
“The blue color suits you so well,” The woman in yellow expressed her admiration. “Your friend joined us in black outfit as if going to a funeral. She has no fashion sense at all. Horrible. I heard they could not return to Dubai. The couple have duped the bank in millions. They escaped just before being caught.”
“Really? Stories are floating around about their lavish and repeated parties,” The woman in blue leaned back with bag on her lap.
“They are finding ways to blow up the stolen money. Anyway, why should we bother? They will be accounted for on the judgment day. I hate gossip,” The woman in Blue told the driver to stop the auto rickshaw. The woman in yellow alighted as the auto driver stopped right in front of her home.
The auto driver dropped the woman in blue near her home. Her phone buzzed as she was organizing the things in the kitchen.
“Hope you reached home. Are you busy?” The woman in black asked. “Did you notice her haughty behavior of our good friend? She appeared in a gaudy yellow dress, like a school age child. Someone told me, she is down with a mental illness.”
“I think so. Her children are settled in Canada. They do not visit her. She has hit the bottle after her husband died. Living all alone in the house, she has this quirky habit of talking to herself. Have you seen her WhatsApp messages? Only drunkards can write such lines. I think she is over-friendly with the retired teacher. Anyway, why should we talk about others? I hate gossip. Just reached home, I will call you in the evening. Bye.” The woman in blue disconnected the line.