Illustration — Prashneel

New Wives Tales II

(Trying to understand the man’s side of the story)

Ma chahin ke, madal ho madal.

Eta bata ni bajako cha, uta bata ni bajako cha.

I doubt if there has ever been a married man, who has not uttered these words.

So, he helps with the dishes and the cooking and even does the laundry. He is pleased with himself as to how he has matured as a human, and is well, one must say a commendable husband.

She enters the room, as he is marveling at this thought, she must have come to tell him how much she appreciates having him as a husband and how lucky she is, he smiles, well, she does not smile back. She has that look on her face, and then, she says those four words that every man dreads the most — “We need to talk.”

It’s a bomb explosion, complains are thrown at him one after the other, it happens to fast, that he doesn’t even know what hit him.

Some of the things she says he understands, some anger him, some he is fighting for on her behalf, and some he is completely helpless about.

As she sits infront of him, tears streaming down her eyes, he has no idea what to say, what to do. He had brought her home, promising himself that he would give her all the happiness in the world. This is not how he had imagined things would be. This hurts.

But, this isn’t the first time this has happened, or the last time that it’s going to happen.

Yes, it has been a tumultuous time for her, and he can’t even come close to imagining what it’s like for her, but he’s trying, he’s trying his level best, but then things haven’t been an easy ride for him as well.

The marriage itself, of course was a struggle with his family, he fought the fight and did get married to her. He thinks the fight is over, but once the marriage takes place and she enters the house, he realizes that this is an ongoing struggle.

He wanted it to make the environment as welcoming as possible for her, so that the transition from her home to this home would be easy for her.

And then, the first glitch appears, she says she doesn’t like how everyone is giving her so many suggestions, over anything and everything. He tries to explain, that everyone is just trying to be helpful and why is she fussing about it. Well, you know the next line that’s going to hit him fair and square — ‘’Timi aaera mero ghar ma ek hapta basera dekhau, ani kura garam la.”

As the days go by, every day he comes home, she is sitting on the bed fuming. He asks what happened, the answer, “Nothing.” Next day, “Nothing”, next still, “Nothing.” She thinks, “How can he not even understand this much. And he thinks, “I am doing all that I can, what more am I supposed to do.”

So, he has been fighting with his family, to break customs and traditions that are deep ingrained in society. He has been fighting with his family for her. His family accusing him of how he leans, only towards his wife.

And here, she is complaining that he doesn’t stand up for her for anything, how her life has been completely wrecked. How he leans only towards his family.

He wanted to be a bridge between the two sides, but finds himself strangulated by both sides.

And then she makes this huge accusation, that he took away all her ‘freedom.’ How her life is now limited to the walls within his house. She keeps nagging about how he doesn’t spend time with her anymore and he keeps going to the chiya pasal to spend time with the boys. And he had wondered to himself, ‘maile mero aafnai life ko aadhi ghanta ni mero lagi napaunu, baandhieko ta ma pani chu.’

And then, this, now this is something he had not anticipated at all, a very subtle competition consciously, unconsciously brews, to shower him with love, care and attention, between the two most important women in his life — his mother, his wife. And in this overpowering outpour of love and care, he is the one who gets suffocated.

And if all this was not enough, cause he is supporting his wife in so many ways, rumour has it that he is being known as a ‘joitingre’ among family and society.*

He doesn’t have anyone to share this with or talk to openly about it, and it eats him up gradually, one more discussion, one more fight, one more day. The pile gets a bit too high and he finds himself quashed under it, wanting to shout out loud and cry his heart out. “Eti ta bujhi diye hunthiyo ni, kasto eti kura ni na bujhi deko hola.”

He had tried his level best, did whatever he could to the best to his knowledge and capability, given it his all, but then, what went so wrong?

This is not how he had envisioned things would be….

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(*Maybe being a ‘joitingre’ is an act of courage, more on that later….)

Disclaimer: The New Wives Tales series is not a public rant about my marriage. It is the story of every woman woven together.

manandhareva@gmail.com

Writing about everyday small yet big things