‘Today is about how spouses shit all over your childhood plans for an ideal marriage, or, in the very least, a marriage that wouldn’t be anything like your parents’.’
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
Growing up, I hated it when my mom talked about the ways in which my dad had failed her as a husband.
And it was not just what she said.
It’s the way she said it, punctuating her storytelling with the despair of someone suffering from persistent persecution complex.
In all the incidents she recounted like clockwork, my father was absent-minded, polite to a fault and didn’t understand and/or care for her feelings.
It was all very sad and confusing; the stories made me feel bad for her, but also made me wonder… what kind of a person would have such vile things to say about my father?
After all, he was only the most perfect human being to ever walk the face of the earth.
I’d tell myself that when I grew up, I’d treat my husband better than that.
I must have been 10 or 12 at the time and marriage, like puberty, was an inevitable rite of passage.
I would tell myself that I’d do nothing except hype up my spouse, tell them how much I loved them till they were sick of hearing it, hug them till their ribs cracked.
Okay, okay, I’d hug them tight enough to convey the magnitude of my feelings.
My long-term plan was to build a shield of love around them so strong, nothing and no-one bad would ever get to them.
But what did I know?
I was just a kid, with an imagination that stretched till as far as my eyes could see and my ears could hear.
I imagined I would become a teacher (like my spinster music teacher of Class 4) and my relaxing ritual after work every day would be eating Bournvita straight out of the bottle.
Some days, I’d eat Maggi noodles just to change it up.
Cut to last week, I lean in to kiss my husband before venturing out for a walk, and he crinkles his nose, “Your lip balm is too greasy.”
Then, he throws in unsolicited advice for good measure.
“Don’t get mad, and I know you’re already working on it… you’re cute and all, but you’ll look even better if you lose some weight.”
Before I get into the one million levels on which this statement is problematic, I have several thousand words to say to people who drop phrases like “Don’t get angry but…,” “Relax”, “Chill” during conversations like shoving a piece of candy into an agitated child’s face.
But that’s a rant best saved for another day.
Today is about how spouses shit all over your childhood plans for an ideal marriage, or, in the very least, a marriage that wouldn’t be anything like your parents’.
Normally, every time something like this escapes my dearly beloved’s mouth, my whole body starts twitching in anger and I launch into a monologue that would make even the most thick-skinned person shiver in their shoes.
This time it’s different.
I take two steps back calmly and launch into a monologue that would make even the most thick-skinned person shiver in their shoes.
It’s not coming from a place of hurt, but from a sense of being horribly wronged.
Where was this astute observational skill when I dropped 10 kg in three months, thanks to daily exercise, mindful eating, and pandemic-induced anxieties?
I had got so thin; I discovered I too had collarbones like people of certain weight brackets.
Family enquired if I was doing alright, friends complimented me on my “svelte figure” and acquaintances did a double take when they saw me.
At home, I got nothing.
No words, no gesture of acknowledgement.
Not even so much as a reflexive widening of the eyes.
Dilating of the pupils?
Hah! I should be so lucky.
“If you didn’t say anything then, you have no right to an opinion now. And I’ll tell you what I need to do to look better. Not a damn thing because I am perfect the way I am. I’ll have a sticker made out for you as a daily reminder,” I close my monologue with a loud slamming of the door on my way out.
Downstairs, as the crisp evening breeze tickles my face, I make a mental note to tell anyone who cares to listen how insensitive my spouse is.
After that I open the to-do list on my phone, “Check with therapist if my mother’s persecution complex has yet again fucked me over.
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com
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