Pati, Patni, and the Woeful Woh

Love and Sex

Pati, Patni, and the Woeful Woh

Iwoke up that morning with the lyrics of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” playing in my head.

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do.
I never dreamed that I’d meet somebody like you
And I never dreamed that I’d lose somebody like you.

My Much-Married Sapiosexual, the man who had spent two years fucking with my head, was finally gone, leaving behind months of deep pain that nearly won me a certain beer company’s Favourite Consumer of the Year award.

I had become like a daily soap heroine who was constantly sobbing. My friends had stopped asking me out; guys who used to like me began crossing the road at spotting me. No one wanted to go out drinking with me because I tended to become a hysterical Kangana from Queen, spouting “Itta life kharaab” lines. Those months had my friends plotting revenge: Pixie’s ideas were to fling dead, cut-up chickens at his car or hiring an intern to spit into his coffee mug.

The only thing that had kept me going during this terrible time, was this new Pati, Patni aur Wohh soap that I was writing with Mansplain (the head of a massive Hindi GEC channel) and his newly deflowered extramarital girlfriend Roma (of the “constantly heaving boobs” fame). They took my depressed, angst-ridden question marks – Kyun? Behnchod kyun dil toda mera? – and converted them into an extremely popular new show.

The recipe for this guaranteed hit formula is simple: The husband has to be manly and moody. The wife has to be quiet, gentle, and righteous. The other woman has to be a fiery sexy spitfire whore/goddess with a heart of gold. Add to this a stepchild or two, some ailing in-laws, and an evil uncle who wants to rape the goody wife and hadpo the family business. Plus a maha dharamsankat where the man loves the Wohh but due to love of wife cannot deflower Wohh. It’s a very platonic pyaar with no pappies-shappies and sex-vex!

Each day in my wrath against non-cheating, loyal married men I wrote scenes where the Wohh became a crusading Jhansi Ki Rani who episodically saved her lover’s marriage, kids, ailing parents, and wife’s izzat. Hell, she even watered the drying tulsi plant and gulaab ke phool at his chaukhat!

The show was doing extremely well and Mansplain regularly mansplained to his team and other writers that “this is what happens when you take your life’s stories and translate them into Indian TV serials”. I became a celebrity at the channel. I threw tantrums, cancelled meetings, and regularly arm-twisted the production house for a hefty raise.

Until that fateful day, when the fateful call came at that fateful moment.

Hey, Wench. I’m sorry I cut you off. I missed you so much. So I’ve called back. Ha Ha.

Mansplain was beginning to lose his cool with me. I was on the verge of being thrown out of the show I had created with my blood, frustrated hormones, and an aching heart.

He was back as he was “ready”, he said. And just like that, we were back at the starting line, ready to take off again.

Suddenly in my PPW episodes, the mausam of lust came back with a vengeance. The Wohh was gyrating in red chiffon singing “Ang Laga De Re” and “Maang Meri Bharo” all over the gaudy drawing room with 89 sofas packed in by the set dada, who thought plenty was good in every way.

However, something wasn’t right. Something seemed off. My Wohh was getting ideas. Why should she water the drying tulsi plant in someone else’s chaukhat? Why was she dropping the kids who called her chhoti ma? She wasn’t married or de-virginated, why was she a “ma”? Episode after episode, she argued with Bhagwanji in the huge temple in the drawing room. Ghantis clanged loudly as her “Kyun? Magar KYUNS!” echoed scene after scene.

Mansplain was beginning to lose his cool with me. I was on the verge of being thrown out of the show I had created with my blood, frustrated hormones, and an aching heart. They insisted I write a track where the Pati and the Wohh are about to consummate their platonic pyaar. But my Wohh was being a bit of a virginal prude suddenly. I was paralysed!

Mindfucked beyond repair, I turned to Pixie and salon therapy. As Pixie got her thick, long Afro hair Keratine-washed and the stylist straightened her clustery curls into shiny strands, I wondered how to straighten mine and Wohh’s issues. Were we just to go ahead and do the dirty despite non-ownership of tulsis? Did we really want these men so bad?

“Do you?” drawled Pixie.

I immediately snapped “Of course we do!”

She gave me a QED kinda shrug, and I immediately ran out of the salon with all my issues straightened and shined.

Mansplain was so ecstatic he immediately planned a maha-episode and Sapiosexual was so excited that he sent his wife packing. On the Friday, Wohh would consummate her saat janmon ka rishta with someone else’s Pati. As would I.

That night, I sat to finish the screenplay of the Maha Episode and watched the dying tulsi plant on my windowsill.

They say that Pati is Parmeshwar, thought Wohh, as she headed toward him with the garland, and Parmeshwar can most definitely belong to two devotees. Today was their gandharva vivaah, whereby Mother Nature would be the legal witness to their holy matrimony and the furniture in the guest house would witness their conjugal bliss. Nervously, as she walked toward him with the garland, she suddenly spotted a dying rose bush with one rose on it. As she got closer, the temple bells began clanging as a gust of wind began to ominously blow! The wind almost knocked her down, the garland went flying from her hand; simultaneously, the single rose on the bush broke and began to fall in high speed toward keechad! She watched in horror as the garland was shredded by the kaante on the rose bush and lunged to catch the delicate flower before it fell. She now knew that this love was doomed.

Holding her head high, her voice echoed as she said, “Rohit ji, har phool ki izzat guldaste mein saje rehne se banti hai. Agar keechad mein gira tohh murjha kar bikhar jaayega. Aapki izzat badi didi ke saath hai. Aur humaara kya? Hum kaanton ko murjhaane se kya darr?”

I shut my laptop, poured an entire bottle of water into my dying plant, and promptly erased a certain he-who-will-never-get-me’s number and deets from my phone and life. I didn’t need any keechad splatters on my aanchal.

A few days later, we all watched the Maha Episode together at the channel office. The climax had the Wohh doddering off into the wind. Head held high, in her heels and chiffon sari, holding a rose as Someone Else’s Pati watched her walk away, tears streaming down his face. Mainsplain was mansplaining some poor Americans who had come to visit the channel, “ In India, we are not doing extramarital sex, or actually any sex on TV, because it’s not Right,” he said righteously.

Wohh and me realised that all it takes – in life and on Indian television – for a man to come back, is for a woman to know that she doesn’t want him anymore. Wohh went on to become the wife of another good man and got her very own tulsi.

And I? I got Maha Closure.