When I was two decades younger, I thought married life would be like books or movies depicted. I pictured myself as one of the Enid Blyton moms with a housekeeper to back me up in running the household. My husband would be as romantic as the M&B heroes are and surprise me with random, expensive and thoughtful gifts. I pictured impossibly large homes like they show in the movies and thought that our pay cheques together would cover the cost handsomely. After all, wasn’t buying a house with joint finance one of the motivations of marriage?
Little did I know that books and movies have a tendency to hyperbole and I was in for a rude shock.
1. No PDA please, we’re Indian
For starters, the husband can be termed as the exact opposite of romantic. He hates PDA, which I dreamt about whenever I saw movie couples romancing on the roads, singing songs. My husband on the other hand, could be found shaking my hand off every time I tried holding his hand in public. In fact, after marriage, he stopped taking me to the beach altogether. “What is the need?” he would argue. “We have a home now. We don’t really need to romance on the beach.”
I couldn’t fault his logic, especially because several people from my office had spotted us on the beachside, often arguing loudly about something or the other. We could now argue in peace at home without any fear of creating a public scene.
2. Chhota sa ghar hoga…
No sooner did we marry, than we decided to look for our dream house. We counted the cash in our accounts, discussed the numbers on our pay slip, and imagined a spacious home would be ours for the taking. We were in for a surprise. None of the homes in the location of choice happened to fit our budget. We cringed at the idea of living in the outskirts and commuting for ages to reach our offices. We hadn’t signed up for this level of penury, we muttered every time we looked at the exorbitant prices for dream homes and backbreaking loan deals to pay for them.
3. The way to his heart
The biggest shocker came when I learnt that no matter how much I tried, I could never cook up the storm I had always imagined cooking, totally forgetting that in my growing years I had stepped into the kitchen only to find out what was cooking. I had underestimated the skills required in creating a meal out of random ingredients.
My good mother-in-law always imagined her precious son’s food issues would be sorted once he got married and she could focus on pursuing her hobbies like embroidery and stitching, especially for the grandchildren she eagerly awaited. When I began to cook disaster after disaster, and the husband began to increasingly prefer eating at her place whenever I didn’t have the time to make breakfast, which was often enough considering my limited culinary skills, she got the hint and began to send us food. We survived on this and similar gestures from my travelling mom for several years until I deigned to hire a cook. The husband and the good mother-in-law heaved a big sigh of relief and we began to get proper and timely nutrition in our home.
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4. It’s a gift
Our birthdays come one after the other. So, there is immense pressure on both of us to predict what the other might have planned and to surpass the other in being the better spouse. During the honeymoon phase, we tried our best to surprise each other. However, the novelty of it all ended sooner than later. We reined in our thoughts. Are we that shallow to want surprises from each other? Shouldn’t we put our energies on better planning our life and the several purchases we needed to make?
The husband agreed wholeheartedly and promptly shared his plans to buy a digital camera, which could become our gift for each other. In the spirit of the pact, I kept my mouth shut about the earrings I had set my heart upon to match the diamond ring the husband had given me for my previous birthday.
Related reading: Here is why I tried giving back the wedding ring to my husband
5. A different kind of romance
Marriage therefore, had made us poor, unromantic and boring, we realised. We were turning into the kind of couple we never thought we would. At the thought of stepping out for dinner, we begin to dig in our heels and wonder if home-delivery is a better idea. We debate whether a homemade popcorn and Netflix combo is a good substitute for driving to the theatre. Even my aunt, grandma to five children, is perhaps more enthusiastic about couple holidays and date nights, I lament.
Just when I was going to rant about the sorry state of affairs with the husband, he came home with a bag of hot samosas. Mm, it takes so little to make me happy!
Related reading: Love among the onions