When the husband wasn’t working, which was never, he was lecturing me on “unit ke taur tareeke” or he was threatening to send me “uss paar”.

It was our little joke. It all started when I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, which was every second day because vanvaas wasn’t going to be easy, I had nagged him for a short trip and he had asked, “Uss paar chalna hai to bol.” I like dark humour but not when the joke is on me.

We barely (never) went out on movie dates, dinner dates, or any other kind of date that couples are naming these days on Facebook. We liked each other a fair amount, weren’t scooping each other’s eyes out (just yet); in fact we were doing brilliant for two sharp tongued, ruthless, mean (I was all of this; friends will vouch for it) people living together.

The last time I had gone on a “date” with him was when we had to pick a few momentos for someone’s dine out ceremony. Our “dates” were confined to the unit parties, where we would enter hand in hand and then I would magically transform into this “other” woman he refused to acknowledge; the men would eventually sail to the bar and forget about their women folk. The mean me would want to embarrass him, like wink at him in public or something nastier.

He had once asked me to walk on his right. Or left? Don’t remember, didn’t care. I had shunned him with my blood shot eyes that very instance but honestly, I wanted to start crawling like a woman possessed.

This was not what I had seen of corporate parties. My dear friend and I would present ourselves at the bar, get our beers/rums (because Ghar Jana hai), stand in a corner and judge people (Mean me would judge, the friend would just be supportive), people who pretended to be high on banana shake, people who didn’t drink. I could somehow never bring myself to trust people who didn’t drink (Non-drinkers please accept my apologies).

Here, the only way to get some our time with the husband was emotional manipulation, a term I have just coined, I am pretty sure it already exists.

Some of the tried, tested, and failed methods are as follows:

  1. Tear talk: Well up well, go to the husband and say you want to go back home. Husband is going to get you the best beer and shut you up.
  2. Pretend: Put in decent effort while cooking (pretend). Husband is going to get you the best beer and challenge you to a sunny side up.
  3. Throw a tantrum: Even before you can do that, the husband will be on his way to the gypsy.
  4. Give up: Just give up and show some love. He’ll get you the best beer and a warm hug.

This one’s for the husband who is busy working; working on a plan to pack me off “uss paar”.

FinalIllustration: Amrita Biswas

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