Friday, October 1, 2010

Marital Bliss - Happily Ever After????

I'm off to the hills to escape the CWG heat. Leaving you with one of my earliest posts. Will be back, hopefully with more anecdotes. Ciao

We start early when it comes to acquiring aversions. As children we are mostly averse to milk, studies, pesky relatives who love tweaking our cheeks. I had all of these and a special one – an aversion to newlyweds.

My first brush with this strange species was as a six year old on a summer trip to Mount Abu. A giggly, coochie-cooing group infesting the back rows of our sightseeing bus. Unfortunately they took a shine to me and I was mostly perched on their laps, privy to the most inane conversations ever heard and embarrassing public displays of affection. Every time we halted they would scurry off to the nearest cliff and pose kamasutra style with me as the hapless spectator. Needless to say I was traumatized.

From Gangtok to Ooty, Kanyakumari to Kalimpong , there was no escaping them. You could hear them before you could spot them. Hysterically happy, over made up girls tottering on high heels clinging for dear life to their macho mates. But what puzzled me the most was how just a few years down the line the same couples would turn into stoical uncles and aunties with a bunch of wailing kids in tow. Domesticity kills and how! Quite like the before and after ads that slimming centres love splashing in newspapers.

Time stops for no one and soon it was time for me to bear the ignominy of being “newly married”. After a whirlwind courtship where I managed to run up telephone bills that had my parents in the throes of panic attacks, I was ready to play house with the man of my dreams.

On our honeymoon, I was cautious, very cautious. I didn’t giggle and maintained a safe distance from my puzzled husband. I looked somber, almost angry at the world. I was so sans the usual jingbang one associates with a newlywed that we had curious people make surreptitious enquires about our marital status or rather the lack of it. We didn’t bother to clear the air.

Hey! We had fun too. Smoked my first cigarette, had my first bottle of wine, tried my hand at cooking and failed miserably. A tantalizing teaser to our rosy future.

Men and women have diametrically different expectations from this holy union called marriage. We, the fairer sex have silly romantic notions and the men expect us to be a wife, and not just an ordinary wife. Now these are guys who grew up watching ads which show the lady of the house cooking up a six course meal with a beatific smile plastered on her face. Is overjoyed when her kid comes back home in soiled clothes. And cleaning utensils is her lifelong passion. She scours and scrubs from morn to noon and she still manages to look like a million bucks. The occasional back pain is taken care of by MOOV massaged lovingly by the husband.

And then they marry us. Imperfect creatures who stress easily, worry constantly and think household chores are mind numbing.

After a few weeks of fun and frolic (honeymoon and a stay with in-laws) it was time to get down to the business of living together in our rented accommodation in Delhi. I was a novice at the threshold of domesticity, whose expertise extended to straightening crumpled bed covers and making amoeba shaped chapattis. But when you are young, hopelessly in love, technicalities of running a household are mere formalities.

For nearly a fortnight we sailed through. He found it amusing that I was such a cleanliness freak. I cleaned cupboards, rearranged closets, dusted furniture with passion. The window grills which had quite forgotten they were once white were restored to their former glory. We had a maid who would clean the house and the utensils. Life was good, sparkling clean, till it was time for me to enter the kitchen. All this while I had avoided this excursion thanks to the many dinner invitations and weekends spent with my parents. A stray day or two were taken care of by eating out.

But my mate was dying for some good ol’ home cooked khana made lovingly by his brand new wife. He soon started dropping gentle hints. He would fix up elaborate breakfasts, show off his culinary expertise obviously expecting a reciprocal gesture.

But when you are whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears, looking adoringly into each other’s eyes do you actually have the time to confess that you can’t cook to save your life! Well I had made a few half hearted attempts at it during my college days. But what do you do when your Mom, Dad even your kid brother are amazing cooks! You just eat right? That’s precisely what I did and made just the right noises to further encourage them in their gastronomic pursuit. I thought this ploy will work as successfully with my soul mate too, but alas it didn’t. Unable to procrastinate any further I made a desperate call to my mum, consulted my friends and voila I was ready to serve a dish or two. But the problem with cooking is it’s an endless cycle of chopping, frying, stewing and to further the agony you are supposed to roll out chapattis as well. After a couple of hours of toil I emerged sweaty, near ecstatic and served my first dinner ever. To my utter misfortune it turned out to be palatable (actually delicious according to me). Darling, not bad at all…so what are we having for dinner tomorrow?

So began my domestic phase, coming back from office and having to worry about self made dinners. But the typical lazy bum I was, I tried to avoid it as much as possible. Honey you make the most amazing Palak Gosht, so are we having it tonight? Office was so stressful, can we order in? Let’s pile on Gopa Di (a benign sweet neighbor).

To further add to the agony we were expected to shop for veggies as well. Come Thursday and both of us would head out with voluminous bags to the weekly haat. Two brave hearts scouting for the freshest of fresh vegetables. This onerous task was deftly passed on to my perfectionist of a hubby. I don’t like getting too involved in all the nitty-gritties. But lugging all those heavy bags, the chaos, the noise and the smells would get so overwhelming and exhausting that we would end up eating out yet again.

Fast forward to the future. We are now responsible parents to our teenaged offspring who is even lazier than her mum. Indian women in ads are still cooking delectable treats for their family, but sans unhealthy fat and sugar. The family breaks into an impromptu musical while doing chores (what will they think of next). The newlyweds have gone global now. They are now traumatizing the world at large.

It has been eighteen years of domesticity and I continue to be a cleanliness freak but a reluctant cook. The husband no longer finds it amusing though. He still fixes up elaborate breakfasts and when it’s my turn it’s usually cereals (hey I believe in healthy eating). But now I have two ad-like ladies cooking and cleaning without a murmur of protest. They are my lifeline, my maids.

But the better, bitter?? half still has a cherished dream of me cooking a six course zinger of a meal just for him. Hopefully he won’t have to wait another eighteen years for that.
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  1. Have a happy and safe trip :)
    This post was hilarious!
    Especially - "They are now traumatizing the world at large" :)
    And I wonder, what if my future half can't cook?
    I can't cook to save myself!! :P
    Well, should be interesting :D

  2. Bad bad....I thought you'd stay back in Delhi to howlariously report on the CWG debacle...but have a good vacation, PR..:)

  3. Me no like cooking either :-/

  4. All I can say is Purba Purba Purba... 1st ciggie and all. What fun!
    Well u are invited for dinner when u are in Mumbai.. Ill cook!

  5. AMAAAAAAAAAZING! One of your BESTESTEST ever! Hahahaha...

    The way you make every li'l anecdote, nitty gritty and small nothings such enjoyable reads- WOW. I know I've said it before, but I'm a fan :)

    The couples 'posing Kamasutra style', 'before and after' picture of marriage, and the cooking attempts- you're getting better with every line you write!

    Have a gr888 trip, and make the MOST of every minute- waiting to read about it!! Cheers :)

  6. My mom actually do all the household chores though I'm not sure whether it's with a smile. See, she doesn't like someone messing up with her kitchen and her "home" and maid would be the last person who would be allowed to do that.

  7. great to see women living on their own terms. dont like cooking so be it!
    another lovely post with a bit of this and a bit of that!
    you sure are great at cooking up deliciously humorous posts with left overs!!

  8. Terrific Purba. I came to blogosphere after a long time and am not disappointed. Hilarious stuff! You shall be young forever!

  9. Purba,
    That was simply awesome.
    Comeback soon waiting for your posts

  10. Nice account of your traumatic marital Life :P :P

  11. Girish..You will learn to cook, once you are married. Don't you worry.

    Journo...Delhi looks gloriously beautiful and thank god for that!


  12. Giribala..The women who love cooking are an endangered species.

    CurrySpice..Yummy Yummy...I love eating especially when I'm not cooking.

    Avi...Those were the times, when I used to write two posts a month :))

  13. Nethra...Quite a few women are possessive about their kitchen and I'm not one of them. with leftovers???

    Aditya..Glad to see you back :))

  14. Muddassir..Well am back, evenly baked and browned :))

    Shantinath..Not exactly traumatic ;P

  15. Harr harr.

    Always a pleasure, to hear culinary adventures in newlyweds' lives.

    I've come to that phase in life, where every second guy/girl I know is married. In fact, the shenanigans at the kitchen make up for most of the bar jokes, on a night out with the boys these days.

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry, at my predicament.

  16. feed your hubby one of your well cooked posts...its got all the ingredients in the right proportion! Tangy and spicy, it tingles every giggle nerve, makes the jaw drop with the sheer brilliance of the usages!

    you are getting better and better with each post! WAY TO GO!

  17. With my mom away for three months, I know what's cooking like. Sometimes it's that interesting that the dining table would be piled with dishes and other times (actually most of the times) it's like kitchen would be the last place inviting. LORVED your writing. Good wishes!

  18. Rindo...A good excuse for you to get drunk silly :))

    Nalini..Mucho mucho thanks for the compliments you heap on me.
    But this post was written almost a year back...not sure whether am getting better or worse.

    Nandhini... For some cooking is rejuvenating and for most it's mind numbingly boring. I am more like a head chef in my kitchen, I survive on instructions :)

  19. I think mental occupations of any sort- be it job and other managerial fronts is inversely proportional to cooking inclination.More we are occupied less attention goes on cooking. You can take me as an another addition of your tribe.

  20. After quite a while I have read a story which made me laugh and curious at the same time.

    Congrats !

  21. Arpana...It's an ever growing tribe. Women now have better things to occupy themselves.

    Nisha...Glad you liked it.

  22. He he he... I am one of those men who grew up with those ads of lovely ladies cooking and young boys doing somersaults among the delicious dishes (cooked using Saffola Sunflower Oil)...

    One stint abroad and the entire starry image has gone out of the window... :(

  23. I remember that ad!

    Am I allowed to sing....Back to life....back to reality.....:))

  24. it's like i'm reading my own stry. i got married 9 months back, and have cooked at the most 9 meals so far. obviously, each has been better than the last, and my masterchef hubby eagerly awaits a 6-course meal cooked entirely by me. though i must confess, i have sort of started enjoying cooking :O

  25. Don't know how I missed this one. Great stuff and don't worry, I have a friend who has a daughter older than yours who HATES cooking. She has a woman Friday too who does the job, while my friend gets the compliments :) Clever girl! :)

  26. parents want me to get married now, n i can't cook or clean for nuts!!..its going to be a mad mad house!

  27. Enjoyed every bit of ur post.Loved it!


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