Lying on the couch, watching the India-Australia match, my daughter ruined the Indian win for me when somewhat offensively she exclaimed, “Ohmygod, you put on a lot of weight during your holiday, Dad.” “I may not have a six-pack,” I admitted, for I am anything if not honest, “but I do not have any flab because I exercise both my body and my will-power.” “All you exercised in Colombo,” guffawed my wife, “was your appetite,” which was rich coming from her.
“I will have you know,” I reported, “I barely ate after breakfast.” “That’s because you were busy drinking,” she retorted, which I thought unfair considering I was only keeping our group company. On the first evening I had a little wine, which everyone else was having as well, and then helped myself to my wife’s glass to prevent her from turning it into a potent cocktail along with her medication for allergy. Because she did not stop the steward from pouring refills, though she might not have noticed since I had taken custody of her glass, I ended up with both our share, but I was in sterling good form when it came to our post-prandial liqueurs where, again, I had to make sure that my wife’s order was not wasted.
At lunch over the following days, I did not wish to offend local sensibilities by declining offers of the local Lion beer, so I balanced it by refusing the main course, though I remember trying fried Camembert (from the diner on my left), crab (from the diner on my right), excellent black pork (that would be someone sitting across from me), a fish curry (I had to reach diagonally across to where our host was sitting) and a half-serving of my wife’s grilled fish, since she threatened to waste it.
In the evenings, I pointed out, I barely had anything – some wine for the good of the heart, a single malt because it was recommended, fiery Sri Lankan curries with appams because, hey, we needed to sample the local cuisine, and therefore the tiniest helpings – purely as tasters – of family recipes of fish masala and cubed, fried bananas, jumbo-sized prawns, crabs baked in their shell, sea-fish, and only because the spices required washing down, perhaps a vodka, or whisky, or gin, or rum, or all of them, but not to get tipsy, you understand.
“You should have seen yourself at the party,” my wife accused – reminding me of the Mardi Gras dinner where I had hoped my orange wig was sufficient disguise, not that any seemed required among the other masked revellers – “all soaked up.” “That is not true,” I was incensed, “except for a couple of vodka shots at the start of the evening, and a glass of wine with my dinner, I made sure to stick to a fruit diet the whole time,” which caused my wife an uncontrollable fit of giggles. Nevertheless, I explained to my daughter that the margaritas and daiquiris might have required some little alcohol but otherwise consisted of orange juice, strawberries, bananas, apples, mango and other, exotic varieties. “Even the champagne cocktails,” I pointed out virtuously, “were steeped in passionfruit juice,” so if I could be accused of anything, it would be of mixing my fruits.
“Besides,” I said to my daughter, evidence of whose own indulgence on her extended holiday in Goa seemed only too obvious, “shouldn’t you be watching your weight?” “Me,” snapped my daughter, “I was on a diet throughout, but Mom,” she pointed out, “now she’s put on some serious weight.” “I will have you know,” said my wife primly, “all I did was peck and nibble during our holiday, besides, it’s nothing to the weight your father’s put on…”