Friday 22 May 2015

When Mister got Mandarin Ducks; A Dialogue

Pavlov was right.

When a human being opens a present her mouth salivates. When she so much as sees the gift-wrapping a second time, she begins salivating. By the time she gets used to the husband’s foreign trips all you have to do is ring a bell to signify the plane is about to land at IGI, and she will salivate and salivate so much that by the time the doorbell rings, with his baggage in tow, he’ll walk in only to slip on a pool of it and be floored by her, for the nth time. She will flutter her lashes and ask in honey-sweet voice – ‘How was your trip, darling? What did you get for your lovely?

Oo, you’ve got me curious. It’s not precious jewelry, unless it’s a lot of it. And that would not make it very precious.   

It’s not.

It’s not what? Not jewelry or not precious or not both?

Open it. Something typically Seoul.

How would I know? Like I’ve been there before, even though my husband has many times now!

Just open it. 



Pretty duckies. For the kid’s bubble bath?

They’re Mandarin ducks, silly. It’s a couple. The red is the female the blue the male. Also called Wedding Ducks.


So? What do you think?

Um, do they open, like, you know, a piggy bank? Or, do they quack when we twist the beak. That sounds like a wedding there. They must have some … use, if you paid your Zen's worth, right? 

They are just decorative pieces. Symbolically given to new couples, and traditionally carved by best friends. Actually, I read this later, the mother-in-law tosses the female duck to the daughter-in-law. If she catches it, the first child will be a boy and ...

Oh dear, you don’t know what my friends will carve to symbolize marriage. As for the rest, how Indian-y crazy! But we’re anyway past the catchum-catch. One boy is here too. 

No but there’s more. You see, they are symbolic …

Don’t say symbolic. The last I heard symbolism is a malaise of hi-funda writers who like to complexify language to befuddle budding writers. 


Oh whatever. Back to the duckies …

Ducks! Mandarin Ducks!

Yes. Calm down. I never said they are not. See how you are feeding into those ‘singles’ who love to stereotype marriage? That we have to scream to be heard, bend backwards to please, compromise daily and boy, we can’t even know what travel truly means!

Huh? How would they know?

Exactly! Exactly what I think and on top of that ... 

Right. So, about the ducks, I do feel you don’t like them.

I certainly do, darling. As much as I liked the pink organic cotton Imambari Muffler you got from Japan, with cotton from our own Andhra Pradesh, exported, I’m sure. About the ducks. I’m just somewhere between like and love. I do love the colours though ... 

Love reminds me. These ducks signify ever-lasting marriage and life-long love. Mandarin duck is the only duck which mates for life, with one partner.

Ha ha ha ha!


Nothing. I like the significance. I would kill for it if it were otherwise. Heh heh!

Hm. So, these ducks stand for fidelity, peace and plentiful offspring.

Great. Shall we go to bed with them and plan a second?

You don’t like them, say so!

I do! I do! Oh come on! And I’m quite happy to see this romantic side in a man after all these years of marital bliss and one foreign family vacation and so many fridge magnets you have got for the fridge after all your official trips and …

You don’t like them.

I most definitely do. So, where do we keep them, these, um, prettily coloured duckies. Ducks, ducks I meant!

Now here comes the interesting part …


When the couple is in harmony with each other, the ducks are kept bill-to-bill..

Aww. Like kissy-kissy.

 … and when they have a fight they are turned looking in opposite directions. So everyone in the house can see …

Who do you mean?

Traditionally, like in big houses. Big families. Lots of people staying together.

Why? In Seoul couples never scream at each other enough to announce their disharmony across the wooden walls?

Er, those are in Japan.

Whatever. Same thing for me. Like I have seen either!

Fine. How do you want me to keep them right now? 

Bill-to-bill. I don’t want the ‘single’ marriage “stereotypers” to see the bills looking away. I like being married. It’s fun, enriching and makes you grow up as you grow old.

Great! Top shelf of the book rack. What say?


You have never agreed so quickly before. You just don’t like them!

Stop saying that. I absolutely adore them. How can you force such assumptions into our relationship, using the ducks as scapegoats? Look at the intricate carving and the lush colours, the neatness and all the symbolism attached. Go now. Do the deed. Wait! What is this thread around the girly duck’s beak? 

Oh, that. It’s just a sign that silence is a virtue and the wife should be quiet and support the husband…

Pavlov knew only half the story. What may have ensued you all know. 'Singles' even more than 'doubles'. The duckies Mandarin Ducks are up for sale. They signify peace. Wait, why would you not believe me?


  1. Loved this one! You served them right :P A foreign trip could do much better than those ducks though :P

    1. Oh, but if I showed more "goodies", they'll say I'm a show-off. :P
      Itna kaafi hai, Akanksha. :D

  2. This was too cute (or two cute?)

    1. Keep that 'too cute'. We'll decide on the other one's cuteness after the next official trip. :P
      Let the ducks face away for now. :D

    2. Now this is too, too cute!

  3. Ha ha ha... so finally, did you like them or not? ;-) Poor A. I'm not surprised though as I have been getting similar 'symbolic' gifts for years now. :-D Men will be men!

    1. The duckies, you mean, Reks? :D
      I have a steel cupboard ka shelf full. But whatever said and done, don't we love them a little more every time they indulge us in symbol-ogy? (They need not know. :D)

  4. Ha ha ha... so finally, did you like them or not? ;-) Poor A. I'm not surprised though as I have been getting similar 'symbolic' gifts for years now. :-D Men will be men!

  5. Pshaw, from a man's point of view, these ducks or 'duckies' as you so condescendingly call them are probably the most thoughtful and romantic gift that he could bring back from Seoul.

    And here you are, writing a satirical post about them!!! How cruel can you get!!!

    1. Oh my! This is a generic commentary trying to feed marital stereotypes, Jai. You seem more hurt than the 'duckies' (not condescending). Just so you know, there's laughter in my domestic space over this.
      The post is not even about the ducks!!! Relax!!!

    2. I really like the ducks and symbolism.. Same is the case with penguins they too mate for life and with one partner. Hope u will get one on his next trip..Best part was symbolism is the malice of high funda writers..couldn't agree more.

    3. :D Oh, I use a lot of symbolism in my writing. I was being satirical up there. It's just another literary technique. And even Einstein said to use symbolism and metaphors successfully when you write is but a sign of great intellect and lateral thinking.
      Thank you for liking this piece. It's quite close to my heart, so to say. :D

  6. As you made it clear mandarin ducks mate for life and are loyal, devoted to their chosen partner . Mr A brought this I think to declare his undying love for his lovely. :D

    1. Yes, my darling, Preethi. Yes.
      But I loved fictionalizing a bit of our encounter, to feed stereotyping. Writer's liberty. You would know. ;)

  7. lol!!
    Apart from the thread on the beak part, I think it was sweet of him to bring them as they mate for life etc... etc.... romantic I would say :-)

    1. I will remove the thread one day. :D
      Yes, there is romance in the most mindless of encounters between a couple and I wish those not yet a couple would not feel it means marriages are like that!

  8. Too cute, Saks.
    May those ducks (and everything it symbolises) remain beak-to-beak :)
    Stay blessed, you both and little N.

    1. Hey, Sid. Thank you so much. Wonderful to see you here.
      Been of radar and then 'found you in a book'. Glad I did.
      Best wishes to you all too.


  9. Warm wishes to stay beak to beak (awww...) but do remove those strings however decorative they may look! What a lovely post!

    1. Those strings have been put on the male duck's beak. With this post! :D
      Thanks, Ilakshee.

  10. Loved reading. Hilarious stuff *still laughing as I write this*

    1. He he.
      Good to see you here, and even more to see you LOL. :D
      Thanks, Nandana.

  11. It made me smile reading and the colorful ducks are so strikingly beautiful:)

  12. No matter what u say, the ducks look really cute! I was laughing all the way as I recalled some funny gifts my mister gets me from his trips. Men r like that, n then he tells me I should have specified my requirements!

    1. I say they look cute. I even called them that, I think, Shaivi. :D
      Yeah, I guess we can exchange notes on Misters' hits and misses. By the way, anything beyond a certain price is to be bought ONLY with my by his side. :D EVEN, my birthday gift. :P

  13. You are an awesome writer, Sakshi. Very amusing dialogues, my husband will love the duckies (err Ducks) just because of that thread thing.. :)

    1. You are so god for my ego, Roohi. Without fail you make me fly, each time.
      Tell your husband in India we tie the thread on the blue duck. I have done that. :D

  14. haha...conditions apply to conditioned reflexes too then :p

    1. That was a good one! ::
      Thanks for coming by, Amogha!

  15. No real matter what you say, the ducks look really cute! I was laughing entirely as I recalled some funny gifts my mister gets me from his trips. Men are like that, and he then tells me I will have specified my requirements!

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