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Its that time of the year when I leave the hubby to his own devices and go for a 2-3 day trip with the kids to my brothers house. Every year, for the last 11 years, this is a sort of a tradition now. I still remember year 1, the hubby came to drop me to the airport, lovingly bid me goodbye, and I spent the entire flight wanting to go back to him.
And here we are in year 11, as I hurriedly try and pack about 2000 pairs of clothes for the boys, the hubby walks in all stressed, he's pacing the floor, he's a man with a mission. Usually if he's in this kinda mood, I leave the room, but since there was something majorly off with him ( and also because the room door was blocked with one of my 100 suitcases) I decided to stay. After about 5 minutes of walking and hand wringing, he looks at me, one can see the stress on his face, the anguish in his eyes. He looks like a lost child. Obviously the packing comes to a halt. My mind is racing to places a woman's mind should never race to. What could it be? My mom brain is conditioned to believe he's got a tummy ache, the wife side says he's obviously made a blunder, and while half of me is trying to figure out how to solve the problem at hand, my other half slaps me into the present, " first ask what's wrong you idiot", and thus i ask. There's no reply, the lost look is now replaced with panic. He says, you'll leave tomorrow right? ( me nodding) you'll come back after 4 days (nodding again, and also beaming internally, because he's going to miss me! The prospect of me not being there for 4 days has upset him so much) After a long and dramatic pause, he walks up-to me, looks deep in my eyes and says "the laundry man will come on Friday" ( i find the mention of the laundry man a little odd, but my brain is all muddled up so i nod some more) he continues, " I don't know where the laundry basket is, how will i give him the clothes and if I don't, then I won't have a white shirt for Monday!"
My first instinct is to thump him with the bedside lamp, but my majorly rusted ex lawyer brain tells me that if he's hurt and I'm in jail for assault, there'll be nobody to look after the kids, or to pay for my bail.( My parents are busy, my brother lives too far and i don't even have a maid!) The thing is if I'm really mad and violence is not an option then i got nothing! Nada! No reaction. While I continue to stand there tongue tied, he goes on and on and on about the White Shirt crisis. And all this while all i can think of is white shirt? White shirt? The White shirt is more important than me? Why is it even a comparison? Who chooses a white shirt over a wife? Agreed it'll have your back always, but buddy if you don't have a wife to get it laundered how will you wear it? By this time the other half of my brain has turned into a raging pms'ing hormonal *%?#<. So it's like I'm out of my body, standing between the hubby and me, and i am screaming at myself. The monologue went something like this.
Me:- the shirt is more important than me
Crazy me:- you idiot, how is it even a comparison
Me:- he does need his white shirt,
Crazy me:- you gave him two kids, the shirt gives him what, buttons???
Me:- he's worried about not managing without me
Crazy me:- wake up you moron, cut up all his shirts and throw them on his face, cut up his pants too. No no, go for the suits. Actually screw the suits, go for the watches, wait, don't forget the shoes.
Me:- STOP IT!
Phew! In a matter of minutes i had single handedly destroyed half my house. ( no I'm not exaggerating, he does have that many shoes)
The whole conversation was so mind numbing and irritating that I decided to just not react. Unfortunately, unlike in movies, in real life the hero absolutely NEVER understands that his leading lady is angry. So there's never an apology. Which means, he left for office all happy with himself, while I'm on my way to the airport thinking to myself, how difficult is it to locate a laundry basket in a 2 bedroom mumbai apartment??
Is the number of years you've dated/ been married for, inversely proportional to the amount of romance which remains in it? Or is it the number of kids you have? Familiarity breeds contempt, so does marriage breed complacency? What is it about being comfortably in love with someone which makes you so comfortable, that the dirty laundry, crying kids and other everyday stuff becomes more important than the relationship? It's not that men are to blame alone. We mothers are equally challenged in the romance department. Just last week the hubby called me in the middle of the day to take me out for lunch, and I didn't even waste a minute before declining, as I wanted to get the windows cleaned from my ever elusive cleaning lady. Windows over a date! No wonder he's obsessed with the laundry basket.
Owing to the White shirt fiasco and the laundry basket emergency we've not had the time to even say goodbye, what we do have is a very angry wife on a flight with two naughty little monsters, who are amazingly adept at driving her insane. And this is going to cost him dearly for sure. (Maybe he won't be buying too many of his precious white shirts anytime soon). Just when I'm making a mental note of everything that NEEDS to be said to him once we're back, I realise one of his colleagues traveling on the same flight as me, and by the time we're taking off I'm further enlightened that he's been sent only to accompany me to my brothers house and back. All this because in one of our routine conversations ( which till date were believed to be completely ignored ) I mentioned how I'm dreading flying alone with the baby boy.
This gesture was a much required slap for the cynic in me who had written off romance, and assumed that only what is said exists. Maybe it's the complete opposite, what truly exists need not be said. Every now and then, each one of us needs a slap like this to quieten our cynical sides. Its sometimes a simple gesture, sometimes a glance or sometimes a humble bronze won with sheer grit and determination. As we go on to celebrate Sakshi's triumph, I'm sure the people who wrote our athletes off are busy hiding. The bronze will surely add to the "shobha" of our nation.
And for all the angry wives out there, don't write off the romance just yet, look carefully, real life isn't about singing from the mountain tops, its more about looking out for each other, helping each other through their fears however trivial they may be, and above all it is about not jumping to stupid conclusions at the end of each day. It is sometimes the mundane that makes real life so extraordinary!