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Ever since man stood straight and ventured out of his cave, he has accused the fairer sex of being unfair. He claims she’s unfair by insisting on being so complicated. He wonders, if she has so many buttons he can push that make her fly off the handle or make her blush and mumble inanities, where the fuck is the instruction manual? He claims he became bald pulling his hair in frustration, wondering why her eyes became moist on their most romantic night and why she laughed so hard when he dropped the gravy all over the couch that she loves adorning with silly cushions and rugs. He was going to join in her laughter but stopped when he saw the maniacal glint in her eyes.
He thinks he’s manly, while she accuses him of behaving like a baby in constant need of her care. But that doesn’t stop her from mothering and fussing over his ‘bad habits’. What she thinks is mothering, he sees it as smothering. What he sees as protective, she sees as suffocating.
She never tires of complaining of his bad memory. But pray, why should he bother remembering when she has maintained a database of all his so called misdeeds. A database with unlimited storage that has no delete button but has an instant recall feature, which incidentally is very handy to leave him speechless in the midst of a heated argument! Just as he’s settling on the couch with Dorritos and beer to watch the most awaited match of the year, she chooses to recall in that annoying quivering voice of hers that fateful day, 17 August 2001, when he was glued to the TV while she was coughing away to glory. She has the memory of an elephant but when he tells her she’s looking like one in that new dress of hers, she springs upon him like a panther.
It’s as if they were born to disagree.
It wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time she was coy and had that ‘you-are-my-hero’ look in her eyes. She didn’t care that the toilet seat was wet, the drain clogged with his hair and the toothpaste cap was always missing. She used to call him the best husband in the world till she started comparing notes with her friends. Damn it, is it my fault that Latika’s husband insists on making the morning tea and gets flowers for her every Thursday? You can’t stop cursing Amish who serenades his girlfriend with poetry! But when you decide to turn the tables on her and gush about Smita’s gorgeous mane and Amisha’s sumptuous Mutton pasanda, she gives you the injured look that gives you no choice but to apologise profusely for your insensitivity.
It takes you some time to discover that while she never says no to your helpful advice and suggestions, she still goes ahead and does it her way. But if you decide to go against her wishes, she’ll sulk and make you feel guilty.
She moans and rolls her eyes every time she sees you in your favourite pair of jeans that were once blue and fit you perfectly. But you’ve made up your mind. This time I’ll show her who the man of the house is and refuse to part with it. She doesn’t say a thing. And one fine day, your most loved possession along with your most favourite superman tee and the softest ever pair of boxers are missing! When you confront her, all she does is flutter her lashes. But dare you say that she looks ugly in that sack of hers that she insists on calling nightwear, she sighs loudly and says – who cares, it gives me more space than you ever did!
He blames her of trying to change him, she counters it with – but I’m simply trying to customise you according to my taste! When you ask her, where was that taste when you looked deep into my eyes and exclaimed – darling, you’re the best thing that ever happened to me! She replies with a smug smile – I also said ‘after I’m done with the necessary modifications’ but only under my breath.
Now that you’ve promised to love her till her last breath and expanding breadth – you try to be the sensitive man of her dreams. These days you don’t throw that wet towel on the floor but fold it neatly on the bed. You may still not get it, why everything in the house should have their assigned places, yet, you try to humour her by keeping the scissors in the left hand corner of the 3rd drawer from the bottom. You have started recognising the signs of an inevitable showdown just from the tone of her voice and the flickering of her eyelids and hurriedly say, you’re right, darling even before she begins talking. You listen quietly as she recounts the bitchy ways of her friends and smile understandingly as you replay the highlights of last night’s match in your head. Thank God, she still can’t peek inside that head of yours.
You have long accepted that you’re free to do whatever she wants but that doesn’t does stop you from saying, I’ll be home in 10 minutes and saunter in two hours later. These days she doesn’t look that upset. She has Facebook to take care of her needs. It never lets her forget her friends’ birthdays, never tires of calling her beautiful and gorgeous and even makes sure she gets friendship requests from random men from all over the world.
Admit it, you miss those days when you were the centre of her universe. And now that you are free, you don’t know what to do with it.