“Darling, Did You Get the Bulb Fixed?”: A Valentine’s Day Guide for Married Couples

Humour

“Darling, Did You Get the Bulb Fixed?”: A Valentine’s Day Guide for Married Couples

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

It’s been five days and seven hours of smiling seductively at my husband. At first he thought I was practising a new Ramdev move for tauter facial muscles. I don’t blame him. He’s not used to women giving him coquettish looks, least of all his wife. He has the “I am married and dead” look about him. Since I love improvising, I added a few throaty giggles for effect. The same giggles that drove him mad with desire when we were just hitched.

My persistent efforts were rewarded. He looked at me tenderly and asked, “You’ve been having difficulty breathing. Are you sure it’s not Coronavirus?”

He just doesn’t get it, does he? It’s Valentine’s Day. That time of the year when you take out romance from the freezer. Pat it back to life, take it for a walk, pamper it with attention and wine and make it presentable again for public consumption.

But we are no Priyanka and Nick. We have forgotten how to look at each other ravenously as if we are cheesecake. The last time I tried running my fingers through his chest hair, I started counting the greys instead. Once I even tried whispering sweet nothings in his ears and ended up asking, “Did you get the bulb fixed?”

Time to rearrange my expressions and emotions. I better look good for the selfies I intend to post.

When you’ve been married for as long as I have, your love has stretched itself like chewing gum and reached another dimension. It’s no longer the tumultuous conundrum of emotions that was as exhilarating as it was frustrating. It has now settled in a comfortable zone that people often mistake for indifference. True, nothing makes me happier when I am left alone with my cellphone while he’s tapping furiously on his laptop in some remote corner of the house that’s not visible to my eyes. My source of unbridled happiness is no longer the crinkle around his eyes when he smiles but lying like a dead log on the couch while watching yet another episode of Witcher. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that marriage is all about yelling “whaaaat!” from different rooms until one of us dies.

Yet February 14 is different. It’s We Day after all. I need to up my game and get his knickers in a twist like the men in my DMs. I am so done with him taking me for granted! So, last evening I snuggled up to him and unveiled my carefully curated enthusiastic lovers from Kyrgyzstan, Burkina Faso, Kirti Nagar who’ve been serenading me with bad grammar and dishonourable intentions. “See, how many amazing options I have!” I screamed at him while he was on his nth conference call . “I can’t wait to tell you about Lovendra Kaushik who wishes me Gud morning deer, every day.”

He caved in, shut his laptop, promptly went off to sleep… and started snoring.

I didn’t give up. Nope. I sent him an email making my expectations clear since subtle hints don’t work on him anymore. But I’m not banking on him. I have already received overpriced roses first thing in the morning that I ordered for myself and completely ignored his baffled expression. In retaliation to his indifference, I have baked heart-shaped bajra cookies that he absolutely hates. I have copy-pasted syrupy declarations of undying love for my beloved husband on my Facebook wall. So what if he’s not on Facebook. At least my nearly 1,000 friends who I have yet to meet will know. That’s what matters the most.

I have already received overpriced roses first thing in the morning that I ordered for myself and completely ignored his baffled expression.

I’ve pestered him enough that he’s agreed to a date. I am now at my favourite cafe waiting impatiently to hold hands with him and rest my head on his shoulders with a contented sigh. Laugh at his jokes… the same ones he’s been cracking since 1996. Maybe a little PDA behind the potted plants to steam it up? I can’t wait to tweet about our romantic date. My most awesome Valentine’s ever is already in my drafts. All I need is for him to turn up.

He’s already 40 minutes late. No worries. I don’t intend to throw a hissy fit. I can always yell, “Tum mujhe tang karne lage ho” in the comfort of our home. After all, our love story is not different from Imtiaz Ali’s latest – DoA.

I also have a Plan B. I have downloaded the Bajrang Dal goons’ tracker on my phone. If he doesn’t turn up and blames it on “last-minute meetings”, I can always join them and beat up amorous couples out to besmirch our rich sanskriti.

Or maybe I’ll announce our uncoupling on Instagram. I could definitely do with more followers.

Oops, there he is. My lovely husband. Looking sorry-faced and almost cute. Time to rearrange my expressions and emotions. I better look good for the selfies I intend to post.

Waiter, two glasses of red wine, please!

I can’t wait to down the wine and rush home… so we can get into bed and do what we do when the lights are dimmed – stare into our phones.

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