This one’s for you!
You know, when I started blogging, I naively wrote about everything that crossed my mind. So if the OA and I fought, it was up here for the world to view (all 7 of you!). But the readership grew and I soon got trolls who funnily chose to support the OA while diligently reading my blog. Who thought I was being unfair in not writing his POV. Hey! My blog, my POV – this isn’t supposed to be the court of law, you know. And what kind of couple doesn’t fight? The kind who are made of plastic and in a showroom display window I guess.
Anyway, I stopped. Because I didn’t have the patience to put up with them. Of course that brought in the other sort of troll. The type that envied my silly life simply because I love it so much. Hated that I was unconflicted over motherhood, that I had a husband who loved me and a life that fills my heart with joy. Who wanted me to stop writing only happy things and fooling (?) the world into imagining I lead a perfect life. One cheeky little twit had the gall to tell me that I shouldn’t act as though my life is great and my trip to Auli was exotic and wonderful – hey, what can I say?! I don’t have the money to dive with the sharks and for poor old middleclass me, it was exotic enough and I take great pleasure in every little thing life throws my way. Even leaky milk jugs. Can I help it if you hate your sucky life? Gah. You can’t please ’em all.
So for a change I thought I’d show you a side of the mad house you haven’t seen in a while. The OA and I fought tonight. The reason is no state secret. Simply that the OA is ‘absentminded’. So any chore that is his, must be repeated 65,789 times before he finally does it. Either that, or I simply do it myself rather than keep reminding him. Which is really unfair because then I end up doing every darn thing in the house!
This is a habit that really hurt my feelings when I was newly married. It made me feel almost unloved – because if you love me, you’d care enough to remember what I asked you to do, right? Wrong. Apparently that isn’t the way with him. So while I’ve given up on little favours and personal things, I still have to keep at him if I want any chore done around the house. Our household chores are divided up but he just refuses to remember to do them.Yes, once I’ve reminded him a couple of times he gets up uncomplainingly, but it’s a burden on me to remember not only my own work but his share too. And then to keep at him ad nauseum.
Now it could be that he is using his forgetfulness as an excuse to avoid work – but your guess is as good as mine here. It’s not really a crime/ sin of huge magnitude, but it’s the kind of daily irritant that gives a marriage its crank quotient. Not one to be shaken off easily, I keep at him to do his share of chores which makes it easy for him to crack those silly chauvinistic jokes in public about his wife nagging. I don’t really care anymore about what others think. I just keep at him because I really don’t have the strength to do everything it takes to run a home and a family and I live in hope that someday it will become reflex (yeah, right!).
Tonight it was yet another one of those chores I’ve been reminding him to do for 3 days now and I finally lost it and called him selfish and self absorbed. Hell, why can’t he put a reminder on that damn Blackberry of his, I ask you! One insult lead to another and we both realised the kids were watching and so were the maids. So I gritted my teeth and shut up, giving myself a jaw ache. That wasn’t working and so I did what I haven’t done in a long time. I had fed the kids their dinner so I left them to him and walked out of the house. Carrying only my phone and an ATM card.
Out on the busy streets of Delhi alone after a long time, I realised how life changes once you’re married and at a certain socio-economic level. I haven’t done this in a long time – even if the car is unavailable, I atleast get an auto but today my wallet was empty (damn you, plastic!).
As I walked down the road, with no destination in mind, I shivered. I haven’t felt so alone in a long time. The last time I walked the roads alone was 8 years ago when I was a TV journalist on the graveyard shift. The drop van left me at the top of the road and I’d walk home, down the winding lanes of one of those little pockets of villages that only Delhi still retains in its heart. What if I became yet another statistic? One of those women who seem to get raped daily in Delhi?
I’m not a young girl, I told myself reassuringly. I’m a mother of two school going children. I’m 31 years old. Surely they can find better women! But who was I fooling? In my slim fit jeans, a sheer-ish white tunic top and my flipflops, with my hair pulled up in a ponytail, I was an easy target. After all my motherhood status and my cesarean scar were hardly on display for your average molester (if he cared at all!). And let alone rape, what about mugging? Suddenly my gold bangles weighed down my arms and the simple gold hoops in my ears were a liability. What the hell had I been thinking?
The thing with fear is that your senses are heightened. The same familiar road was suddenly full of sights and sounds. The fragrance of jasmine as I passed one gate and then the stench of urine as I passed a public toilet. The sound of a Bullet thundering dangerously close behind me made my stomach clench as I wondered, paranoid, if he was following me. Desperately trying to remember everything I’d ever learnt in self defence.
All the while getting mad. This was ALL the OA’s fault of course. If he hadn’t been so forgetful I wouldn’t have had to march out in a rage, would I? Had I just walked out on an errand it wouldn’t have been half so scary as now, as I shook in rage, the rage escalating, fueled by fear.
I guess this is the deal with marriage. It’s left me ill-equipped to deal with being single. Or alone. I can’t imagine having to get out of the house alone under any circumstances. I don’t usually leave the house if the OA is traveling. And if he’s home, he’s always with me. I felt myself melting at the thought of him constantly by my side and I sternly reminded myself that he was the scum of the earth. No, actually he was “The pus that infects the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum.”
I looked around for a safe haven. None to be seen. A temple up ahead beckoned, lights twinkling in the dark and I hurried towards it, seeking sanctuary at it’s steps. But a lady who couldn’t hold a tune in a basket, was singing and that shooed me on. I found a gurdwara further down the road but it was dark and deserted and probably the best place to ask for trouble. And then it came to me. A place that our entire generation seems to go to for a breather. A coffee house. A cup of coffee and a cookie later I’d calmed down. I hunted down an ATM, withdrew some money, figured I’d gallivanted enough for the night and began to head home. Only to wonder if someone was following me after seeing me emerge from an ATM. It’s unlike me to be so fanciful and I blame the pus that infects the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum for it. In a better mood I am not so antsy. In fact it’s a brave man who would tangle with me when I am in one of my better moods. I’m very likely to go for the jugular, fangs bared, a knee aimed at the family jewels, ensuring that the family line ends at the molester. I think of it as social service.
I got home safe and sound. The only part of me needing any care, being my dusty feet. A pedicure is the need of the hour. That and a soundproof room where the OA and I can scream our heads off without the kids hearing it. Until then the walks will have to do.
What’s that? No, of course I’m not talking to him yet. I think he needs to grovel a little more.
Edited to add: Every marriage has its taboo topics. When you’ve been married long enough you know exactly where to hit so that it hurts. And what makes it a safe haven is that you know the other won’t hit you there because its below the belt. Today the OA came pretty close to something that hurts and THAT is why he’s in the doghouse! Pandora’s box should never be opened.