‘Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.’
So chant the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
But wives don’t really need to chant out any spells to double the toil and trouble of their husbands. They can easily, with their burning fire, make the caldron of their husband’s brain bubble. Especially if the husband proves guilty (as they always do!) of mortal sin like forgetting the wife’s birthday.
Raj had committed that sin twice. And he had only been married for three years yet. He suspected that a third such mistake would probably prove fatal to his marriage. But this year, at least, he was tension free. This year he had managed to catch all the hints (or so he thought) that his wife dropped of her impending birthday. And he had already ordered a most fabulous gift for her. He was happy.
Simran, his wife was happy too. Her hopes were high and not ill-founded. The smile on her lips was encouraged by the secret smile that she had seen playing on Raj’s lips. He pretended that he wasn’t hiding any secret. But she knew. And she knew what it was. After all, the secret smiling thing had started after she had casually shown him the diamond ring and bracelet on a website. She had casually remarked then that she loved the design of those trinkets. He had smiled then. Smiled, not smirked. And she had caught him tapping away at his computer two hours later. He had refused to let her see what he was doing but his smile had hinted it clearly enough. And today, he had received an SMS and had declared he was not going to the office. The excuse was that he had a headache. But a person with a headache doesn’t jump up with excitement every time the doorbell rings. He was clearly expecting something. A parcel, she guessed, for her. How she loved him! “He might behave weirdly sometimes, but he is adorable,” Simran thought, as she continued humming “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”
The doorbell rang. Raj rushed to the door and returned with a parcel in his hand and a wide grin on his lips. Simran pretended to be busy and quite unmindful of what he had in his hands. Although she was already picturing what dress she would wear with those diamonds on her birthday.
Raj went to his room. Simran heard the sound of the packing of the parcel being removed. Then his steps approached the door. He came out of his room. Simran turned around casually just in time and saw him. His grin was almost reaching to the back of his head. And in his hand he held the box of a PHONE!
Simran had a tablespoon in her hand. This she banged down at the kitchen slab. Thankfully, Raj was still at a safe distance from her or his head might have been the receptacle of that tablespoon.
“A phone!” Simran raged through her clenched teeth. She couldn’t believe her husband had bought a gift for himself instead of her. And now, there was no way he would get even a tiny bit of diamond for her. “But, darling, I bought this phone this month. I can’t afford any other big purchase. We’ll buy diamonds for you next month, I promise,” she could almost hear him make the excuse. And she also knew the ‘next month’ would never come. He was really the most insensitive, unthinking, cruel and unloving husband of all! How could she think him adorable? She was a fool. Yeah, she was a fool to have married such a man!
“You bought a phone for yourself?” she hissed.
“It is MY birthday that is coming. And you went ahead and spent thousands of rupees on that stupid phone?”
“It’s a smart phone,” he countered, looking hurt.
“To hell with your smartphone. And to hell with you! Don’t you ever talk to me!” she shouted, quitting the kitchen and letting the vegetables burn in the pan.
And Raj stood dumbstruck, looking at the new phone and the departing wife alternatively.
“But I…” he mumbled, staring at the phone. His lips curved downwards. But then they rose up again and he grinned.
Three days passed. It was Simran’s birthday but she was nowhere near feeling happy. She felt hurt. She felt disgusted. She felt angry. Instead of apologizing to her, Raj had become busy with his phone. All the time he stared at his phone. As if her anger made no difference to him. As if her feelings didn’t matter. As if SHE didn’t matter. As if he didn’t even care that it was her birthday.
Worse was that she had often caught him slinking in the corners to stare at his phone. Once she woke up at 1am and caught him staring at his phone and smiling. Even when she had looked up while eating dinner yesterday, he had his phone in front of his face. He moved it away quickly when he realized she had seen.
“But why?” Simran wondered. “He doesn’t care about my anger. Is he hiding something from me? Is he having an affair? Oh my God, he’s having an affair. That’s why he doesn’t care about me or my birthday!” In spite of her anger at Raj, the thought filled her eyes with tears. With tears rose up all her spying instincts. She had to find out the truth. She MUST find out the truth.
Raj was in the shower. The phone was on the bed. She snatched it up, her finger brushing past the small round button kind of thing at the back. She looked at it and tried to press it. Nothing happened. Snatching at the phone proved useless. It just refused to unlock. Simran threw it back at the bed and stomped out of the room.
An hour later, the doorbell rang. Raj, dressed in his best clothes, rushed to the door. Simran waited, not daring to guess what he was going to bring now. Had he finally got some sense and ordered a gift for her? “Or has he dared to invite his girlfriend here on my birthday?” she grumbled.
This time when Raj turned back from the door, he had a bunch of roses in his hand and a grin on his face. He approached Simran, his smile dwindling a little as he approached and saw the rising anger in Simran’s eyes.
He extended the bouquet towards her, “Happy birthday, darling,” he said.
Simran snatched the roses and threw them down.
“To hell with you and your damn flowers!” she cried out. Tears of rage and hurt streamed down her cheek.
“You have money to spend on a new phone for yourself. And all I get on my birthday is flowers!”
“And here I was dreaming that you had ordered diamonds for me. Fool that I am! Leave alone diamonds, you didn’t event buy a gift for me. Only flowers. Flowers!”
“But I did buy you a gift. You didn’t take it. And I didn’t know you wanted diamonds this year too,” he said, curling his lips downwards in misery.
“I showed you the ring and bracelet on the website, didn’t I? Couldn’t you have taken the hint?”
“I did! It reminded me that your birthday was coming, so I,” before Raj could complete the sentence, he had realized that he had just committed another blunder.
“So you didn’t even remember my birthday? You don’t love me at all!” said Simran, with tears filling up in her eyes.
Raj was stumped. He had no more words.
He took out the new phone from his pocket.
“Shhh,” he put his finger on her lips. “Just watch.”
He lightly touched his finger at the round button at the phone’s back. The screen lit up instantly.
“How did you do that? I couldn’t” Simran bit her tongue to stop herself from revealing that she had tried to check out the phone but had failed to unlock it.
“Oh, I just put my finger on this fingerprint sensor. It is called Nexus Imprint.
It wakes up this phone instantly. I have heard that it opens the phone in just 600 milliseconds. It keeps the phone secure from prying eyes.” Simran lowered her eyes at that. “And it even helps me pay securely through Android Pay with just a touch. And it’s a smart sensor. It learns and gets better and more accurate with time.”
“Then it certainly is smarter than you,” said Simran, wiping her tears and allowing a smile to escape her lips.
“Yeah!” Raj knew Simran was making fun of him. But as long as she was smiling, it was ok.
“But it’s not diamonds. Diamonds are forever,” she added.
“But they are not more precious than you. And see how I have filled this phone with you.”
Raj started the Google Photos app and quickly opened up, one after the other, a photo story, a collage and an animation video. All were composed of Simran’s photos. Simran working in kitchen, Simran sleeping, Simran watering plants, Simran eating dinner. Simran staring at the night sky in dark.
“Wha…how…I mean when did you click these? She asked.
“During last three days.”
“They are beautiful,” Simran murmured.
“Much better than the photos clicked by your old phone, aren’t they?”
“Yes, even the ones you clicked in dark. They look so clear!”
That’s because both the front and back camera of this beautiful phone are capable of clicking great pictures even in low light. It has 12.3 MP rear and 5 MP front camera. Rear camera has 1.55 μm pixels, f/2.0 aperture, IR laser-assisted autofocus. It can capture 4K videos at 30 frames per second. It can also capture Slow Motion videos at the rate of 120 frames per second. And it has Broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual flash. The front camera has 1.4 μm pixels and f/2.0 aperture…”
“Wait, wait, I don’t understand all that. But I can see the pictures are great,” said Simran, smiling freely now.
“So, are you happy with your gift now?” asked Raj.
“May…be,” Simran said. “What else does it have?”
“Oh, lots of good stuff.”
“Like?” asked Simran.
“Like…it has USB Type-C charger. It is reversible. I mean, you don’t have to check every time to see which side is up. You can insert it in the USB port both sides. And it is super fast. It can charge the phone for four hours of use in just ten minutes!”
“What?’ Simran’s eyes grew bigger with surprise.
“Isn’t that cool?”
“Yeah, but what else?”
“Well, you like having the latest things, don’t you?” Raj asked.
“You have a problem with that?”
“No, no, I just meant to say that this phone has the latest operating system.’
‘You mean Android Lollipop?”
“No. I mean even newer. Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Absolutely the latest! And when the next Android comes, this phone will receive it earlier than others.”
“I LIKE that!” said Simran, moving closer to Raj. “Which phone is this?”
“It is Nexus 5X. It is made by LG for Google. It gives pure Android experience, without any useless added bulk. Its has is 5.2 inches FHD LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 423 ppi. The display is protected by Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 and Fingerprint and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating.”
“Nice! What else?”
“It has the power of Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 processor. It is 1.8 GHz hexa-core 64-bit. Adreno 418 GPU. It has 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM. The phone comes with 16GB or 32 GB internal storage. Of course, I bought the 32GB version for you.”
“How sweet,” said Simran, smiling.
“Its battery won’t drain out too soon. It has 2700 mAh Battery which can charge in ten minutes to last for four hours. And its connectivity options include LTE cat. 6, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS / GLONASS and so on. It also has Fingerprint sensor, Android Sensor Hub, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Barometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor and Hall sensor”
“It looks slim too,” said Simran, taking Nexus 5X in her hand.
“Yeah. It measures only 147.0 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm and weighs 136 g.”
“But why did you buy black phone for me?” said Simran, looking at the phone in her hand.
“This isn’t your phone,” said Raj, taking Nexus 5X back into his hand.
“What? But you said…”
“I had bought two. This black one is mine. It is also available in white, but I bought for you this Ice Blue version,” he said, taking Simran’s Nexus 5X out from the nearby drawer.
“Oh! I love it! Thanks! You are such a sweetheart. I was mad to think you did not love me. You love me and I love you a million times over! You are my hero, my champ!,” Simran cried out with delight, throwing her arms around Raj.