We have seen that Mallinatha, lost in his scholarly activities, didn’t spend quality time with his wife. Studying difficult works of shastra was his favourite pastime. This was, in a way, not unreasonable: In order to write commentaries on the works of prodigious scholar-poets like Kalidasa, Bharavi, Magha and Sriharsha, ordinary scholarship is insufficient. The onus is on the commentator to upgrade his knowledge of various shastras. Mallinatha was an ideal commentator, and hence his head was always buried in books.
His wife took care of the house. This enabled Mallinatha to dive more deeply into his work. In the course of explaining a poem, words like ityarthah (this is its meaning) iti bhavah (this is the underlying emotion here / the import) are commonly employed. Mallinatha, it seems, used the same words while talking to his wife. Once, ready to have lunch, he asked his wife, “What’s for lunch?” She said:
I have prepared a sambar called ‘ityarthah’
‘iti bhavah’ is another spicy yogurt dish.
Savour these and be content
This is a perfect retort to the sarcastic verse we saw in the previous story. Now the scores were even. Intelligence mixed with humour never fails to impress.
Translated from Kannada by Shashi Kiran B. N.
(The original article is from the anthology Kavitegondu Kathe.)