Archive | November, 2013

The Importance of Remembering Dates

20 Nov

Disclaimer:

This is a purely fictitious account and any resemblance of characters to living persons (muse) is purely unintended and coincidental.

 

Women romanticize everything.

They like drama.

They give days and dates way too much importance than is necessary.

Sounds like locker room conversation? I can see, some of you men who by some stroke of severe misfortune, have clicked the link to my blog, vigorously nod their head in agreement as they read these lines. While the first two allusions are way too general for me to accept them without protest (and I shall save this discussion for another day), I concede that the third one is true for most of us.  We do give dates importance because dates are important. Why else would you celebrate New Year’s day, Diwali or Christmas and for that matter even your birthdays? Birthdays and anniversaries are important to us because those are the two days in the year that you feel compelled to fuss over us. These are the two key result indicators of your overall performance as a spouse annually and ones that, if you know what is good for you, you would not be taking them lightly.

This is the speech I was giving in my head to an all male audience barely three days ago. It all started shortly after the clock struck 12 on Thursday night. It was officially the next day and even though we were both engrossed in our ipads, my subconscious was cognizant of the fact that it was the day of our wedding anniversary. I waited for some time to be wished, but the other party refused to look away from their ipad. I realize that when one has fallen prey to the charms of an insentient gadget one can lose track of time and fail to spot lurking danger. But I have myself often been accused of preferring my ipad to human company and thus, was in no position to judge somebody else.

 

However, I was not about to remind this other party that it was on this day many, many, too many years ago, when we had exchanged marriage vows. To be honest, it was a Sikh wedding and since I do not understand chaste Punjabi I am, to date, ignorant of the stuff that was being read out by the granthi at the Gurudwara. If anything, the marriage vows are known to the granthi alone and the husband and I have no memory of it. If only, one could apply retrospective vows to a marriage, much like retrospective tax, then one could put their mind and grudges to good use and fix the offending party adequately.

Be as it may, I decided that fretting over a minor slip up was not going to help the eye bags and sleeping over this oversight on the husband’s part was the only wise thing to do. Besides, we got married in the evening and technically it wasn’t our anniversary yet.

I woke up to send the kids off to school the next morning leaving sleeping beauty in the chamber alone to catch up on his rest while I browsed through the pile of newspapers. I was aware that he was going to wake up any minute now and come over and wish me. As expected, he woke up, asked the cook for his morning tea and then came looking for me. I was pouring over the papers when he interrupted me with a “Oh here you are! I was looking for the papers, you have taken the entire pile.” I was torn between flinging the tea along with the papers at him and drinking the tea and keeping the papers. I chose the latter and then on compassionate grounds I let go of the financial papers. I am brimming with the milk of humanity even at the lowest moments of my life, as you can see.

We both got busy with our morning routine. I knew that once he read the newspaper he would notice the date and then feel awfully sorry for having forgotten it in the first place. He took his time catching up on the news, enjoyed his breakfast, we chatted (him in sentences, me in monosyllables in a rare instance of role reversal) and he reminded me about a few things he needed me to attend to because I was apparently a “forgetful person”. I said goodbye to him without rancor and returned to the important task of contemplating revenge.

I began to imagine the things that I would say to him when he finally realized he had forgotten our anniversary. I thought about all the things my dad did for my parents’ anniversary to make mother feel special. I thought of deleting the husband from my Facebook, BBM and blocking him on Whatsapp. Yes that would be best. When it comes from me, my silence is worse than my bite and that is what he was going to be treated to. Besides, when we were dating, there was no social media and I have always wondered about how uplifting it would be to break-up with somebody by systematically blocking them off various social media. It beats saying “It’s over between us” and hanging up, any day. That kind of parting does little for the spirit, but this method is the virtual equivalent of turning the knife after stabbing someone and is filled with the possibility of being an overall exulting experience.

I thought about the kind of evening that awaited us and the poor impression we were making on the girls but reasoned that setting their expectation low was a good way to prepare them for a happy relationship with a man when they were grown up. I made the aforementioned imaginary speech to a hall full of men.

It did not help that my own mother seemed to have forgotten our anniversary, as had my mother in law. And even though the doorbell got answered several times over the next few hours, it wasn’t for a delivery from the florist. When your own family forgets your anniversary, you know that the institution of marriage has fallen on bad times.

With each passing hour, my cocktail of anger and self-pity was gaining industrial strength what with all these thoughts going around in my head like children on a carousel. When my mother in law’s number finally flashed on the phone, I breathed a sigh of relief. At least somebody had decided to acknowledge my marriage and wish me, I thought to myself. Mom (in law) sounded absolutely cheerful as she greeted me telling me that she wanted to speak to her son but has decided that she would speak with me instead since he would be at work. I smiled a wide smile as I prepared myself to receive her wishes on our special day. “I just wanted to invite you to a family dinner,” she told me. “Oh how sweet of you to do that mom,” I cut in impatiently, “I know you want to celebrate our anniversary today but your son, he has not wished me so far and I guess a family dinner under such circumstances will be pointless.” I tried not to sound bitter, but I know I did.

“But why are you so upset? it isn’t your anniversary today beta,” laughed my mother-in-law, “Today is the 15th, your anniversary is tomorrow,” she reminded me before adding, “And the dinner is for grandma’s birthday on Saturday. So please keep yourself free.”

Mortified is a word that does not even begin the sum up my feelings as I checked the date on the newspaper and realized she was right. I had wasted so many precious hours fretting and fuming over a lapse that wasn’t. I felt sorry for all my wasted emotions. I felt sorry for the husband too.

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Everywhere

7 Nov

He is in the garden admiring his roses

the yellow in full bloom, the red not quite.

He is in the study sorting out his books

recommending the one that I have missed reading,

handing it over to me.

He is in the living room of the house

clearing his throat as he reads this morning’s news.

He is asking our mother to slow down

come sit with him and enjoy her tea.

He is carrying my younger one

on his piggyback one minute,

and helping the older one climb

the mango tree the next.

He is in his brown suede  slippers that sit still

along with his many pairs of shoes

in the shoe closet.

Between morning and night

and night and morning

in this charming house that he called home

my father is everywhere

and nowhere.

 

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