(As told to Ruchika Thukral)
I was a regular guy with no experience of dealing with women
This article is meant as to help all those poor souls who have no experience in the fairer sex, courtesy of mummy-daddy’s insistence on a boys’ school, or spending their adolescence in hilly areas with little population, or too much pressure to excel in exams … or as in my case, all three. You can express pity at my state, or you could read the ultimate lesson in marital alliances. How to make your newly-wed wife trust you unquestioningly!
How we got married is hardly interesting (assembly-line arranged marriage); the interesting thing is that we hardly spoke during our courtship period. This was due to her uptight Delhi-girl attitude (my opinion), my middle-of-nowhere boys’ school male ego (her opinion), her mother’s scheming nature (my mother’s opinion) and the fact that something must be left for after the marriage (her mother’s opinion).
Related reading: There’s no such thing as a love marriage or an arranged marriage
She should have been happy!
So when my city-bred wife and I moved to Delhi immediately after our wedding, I noticed her being ….. ‘not happy’ (my mother’s words) “A girl should be happy after the wedding. Otherwise, it’s very apshakun,” my mother said. OK, what can we do to make her happy, I asked. “Why do we have to do anything? She should be happy.” The logic didn’t go down well with me, since I was hardly happy. I wasn’t unhappy, but when you are married to a girl you know nothing about, I won’t exactly call it a reason for exhilaration. For all I knew, she could be a psycho serial killer.
For all I knew, she could be a psycho serial killer.
“It’s just plain old nakhra,” my mother said. She believed that my wife was just waiting for her to leave so she could ensnare me. Ensnared I was, but with the mystery of this girl who hardly ever ate. Or she’d eat alone. We had been through millions of lunches and dinners all over the town to our relatives, and she would hardly pick her fork up. A bit of chapati and she’d be done. Being a rice-aholic, this was not very good news. “She’s just a picky eater. Or maybe we embarrass her since we are not from Delhi,” my mother said.
Maybe she misses her exes
I decided to take her out to some fancy restaurants as my cousin suggested. “Delhi girls go around with millions of guys before they finally settle down with someone. You are in for some very tough expectations,” he said. He was right. How was I, a man who had never had a girlfriend, to win over this girl who had God-knows-what kind of experience with men? This led to another thought. Was she missing her ex-boyfriend? Or was that ex a girlfriend? We are talking about a Delhi girl, after all.
“I think she doesn’t trust you,” my best friend said one day. “I mean, why would she order for herself, and not tell you so you can order for her in the restaurant?” Valid idea. How do I make her trust me? Should I share my financials, tell her I could take care of her if she wished to leave her job? However, the look she gave me when I suggested the latter…. She liked what she did, thank you very much.
“It’s the moh of her last home, beta,” my bua told me as she made rotis, while my wife set the table. “She still doesn’t love you. A girl has to love her husband…. You can love her too,” she added as an after-thought. OK, I can but she has to. I need to get away from these women. These ideas are never going to work. How do I love a woman I know nothing about? We hardly ever get time what with these millions of lunches and tea parties in a single day. Plus, she had developed this irritating habit of leaving spoons and forks in the kitchen when we sat to eat so someone would have to get up to get the cutlery.
Finally we were alone together
Tired of it all, I called it a stroke of luck when my parents left for the middle-of-nowhere and we stopped getting invitations of choti-si-parties. My wife didn’t trust me, or love me, or wasn’t happy and had been out with half of Delhi’s boys. The least I deserved was some peace from the circus around my wedding. Struck by these thoughts, one day I returned to my home to find her eating (shock!) rice (double shock!) with her hand knuckle-deep in the bowl (what-the-f***!). She was more shocked to see me home earlier than usual. She took her hand out of the bowl, licked it clean, and said, “I don’t know how to use cutlery. I was afraid I’d embarrass you in front of your hi-fi relatives.”
And, I realised a very important point. If I couldn’t trust her, even if it was just on something as trivial as eating, there was no way I could expect her to trust me on other things. So I decided, even if she had a hundred boyfriends, or didn’t love me or wasn’t happy, I would trust her. I would trust her to make the right decision. Because it has to work both ways. And, maybe then we could get this to work. And, so far it has worked. Now, both of us eat biryani with our hands while the restaurant crew and guests look on. Point to be noted: rice tastes better when eaten with your hand.