I tell my husband I’m off to my mom’s place for a few days, and this is how the story unfolds.
My husband can’t seem to wipe the smile off his face though he says “Baby, I miss you.”
His poker parties start at our house. “I have got freedom from my shrew of a wife, come, come,” he will tell all his poker buddies. He loves fried food, so the table will be loaded with pakoras, samosas, mathis with achaar. Sometimes he plays for 12 hours at a stretch.
He will smoke incessantly because there is no one to fight with him to stop smoking.
He will be extra nice to my friends and when I come back he will tell me what a lady’s man he is and a cool dude he is. And how all women love him. And if there is a birthday he will buy a really expensive gift for my friend and call me and tell me about it and if I ask him, “What is the point, because I don’t have so much lena dena with her?”, he will tell me to get out of my middle-class thinking.
His generosity to the servants knows no bounds and when I come back the servants look at me wondering why the chudail is back.
If he is not invited out he will stay at home and smoke and watch reruns of cricket matches on full volume with all the lights on. I hate harsh lights and I love muted sounds. Now the bedroom is all his, with no one to nag him.
On the flip side, he sleeps late and gets up late. By the time he opens the door to the servants the cook has already left to work at someone’s house and my poor husband is really hungry and making aloo subzi and my servant is making roti in the shape of India.
My husband has run out of invites, the house seems uninviting and quiet and now he needs a human to whom he can communicate, fight and hug and kiss and wife ki yaad thodi thodi shuru ho jati hai.
I have always told my husband that I feel a presence in the house. Any noise which gets so magnified in the night makes him jump and he recites the Hanuman chalisa till the noise abates and he falls asleep.
A woebegone husband calls up with all the bluster missing, “Baby come back soon, I am really missing you.”
And I laugh and say, “Do you think I will leave you? Even if I die I will come back as a ghost to haunt you.”
“No ghosts please!” he screams, while I laugh and blow kisses to him on the phone.