Since I got married late, my facebook "Karva Chauth" post was not riddled with pictures of friends posing in bridal wear with channis (sieves) and lotas. My KC was pretty low key as well on account of some meeting demands in the morning and evening. I kept the basic fast, but without the heavy saree and jewellery, which, in hindsight, would have taken me the better part of the day to wear and hence considerably shortened the conscious phase (sniff).
But just as an aside- I can’t understand the sudden concern of the vigilante about the logic of fasts increasing the husband's life. The way I see it, is every-time we pray, most of us at least, strike a bargain with God, saying, "If u do this, I will do such and such in return". Here the bargain is pre-decided, that's all. The same people don't question the logic of prayers.
My husband also kept it to give me company but also as a mark of protest against the “Establishment”- the one which suppresses women. Establishment please take note.
So when I embarked on this hallowed matrimony phase, though considerably late in life, (as I wanted it to be perfect?), I had a starry eyed view of the first year of marriage. Hence almost 9 months into the process, I guess this is as good a time as any to take stock. And I clearly haven’t done a lot of stuff right it seems…
I wasn't the glowing- chuda clad married lady you see at airports- I'm sure we have all seen them, glowing, chic, complete with a new pair of shades and handbag and red/ fluorescent painted nails. The chudas are just the added touch, but the whole demeanour is that of the newly married, and which stays weeks or maybe months after the ceremony!
I assumed marriage or perhaps the make up artist would impart that ethereal, everlasting glow and I was excited for my post marriage glowy phase. And I looked nothing like that ! 3 days post the ceremony, well it was just me! So much so that when I happened to be in Delhi 2 weeks post, my mother looked at me and exclaimed “ You don’t look married at all !”.
Now please explain to me, except for the customary ring, sindoor and mangalsutra (all of which I had dutifully donned), what else comprises “looking married?”And what’s with the “now that you are married” phrase?
It seems as though the ceremonial fire is expected to melt and mould the older you into a new improved, elegant, married version, in the process automatically making you more concerned, less selfish, more giving. The lady of the house !! Lady Bountiful ! The “Now-that-you-are-married-Lady”..
Clearly I was much hardened.
The other thing I thought the first year of marriage would be all about is exotic weekend getaways and vacations. But here again, I seem to have drawn a blank.
Me to the Husband- “ So I was thinking for our vacation in Jan..”
Husband- “Can you please stop this holiday planning now and move on to better things. Higher things?”
Me (thinking) - “Higher? Well we could go to the Alps....”, but thankfully I stop myself and instead say “How do you mean- higher?”
The Husband looking up from his reddit thread-“Well, I don’t know. But something worthwhile not this hedonistic behaviour- give back to society, go save the world, ok like I was thinking, we really need to sit down and discuss our retirement fund....”
Me (thinking again but this time in horror)- “I know I married late..but is it this late??”
Now the husband has done his share of vacation planning during his ten years in the US, so now, like the Buddha, he has migrated back in search of meaning and suffering souls to deliver. I on the other hand, postponed the holiday plannings to post my wedding... and... as luck would have it, I seem to have made some serious miscalculation here...
Oh well, while I search for something higher I am reminded that I have a lot to learn at very basic levels.
Now the PHD process in the US, clearly did not make great demands on my husband’s time, because in between his work, socializing and holidays, he managed to read up extensively on every conceivable topic under the sun and have an opinion on it. Consider exhibit A:
We are on a trek and being chased by monkeys. One of them is holding a banana.
H- “So did you know that the Banana as a fruit has been domesticated very recently, and each new variety is different, as they are clones. So monkeys probably started eating it recently"
Me- :Umm..", eyeing a particularly agile one, "can’t say I do"
H- “Yeah I read a book about it. It's called (hold your breath)- Bananas”
Me- " You read a book on Bananas…." privately thinking to myself that it just about describes him…
So he saunters up one fine day, saying- You know I feel we don’t talk much anymore, you know discuss stuff”.
Me – looking up from the History of India by John Keay (you never know when these things might be useful), mumble that maybe I am not the debating type.
H- “No I mean, that day when all of us were discussing organic food safety standards, you barely said anything”.
Me (reminding myself that I did after all marry a professor)-“well I did say FSSAI..” but, quickly changing tack, ”Oh that’s cause I was thinking about China..”(I learn fast).
H (interested)- “Well what about China”
Me (confidently)- “Well you know, whether there will a crash”
Me (slightly less confident)- I don’t know, debt levels are unsustainable, the shadow banking debt especially, and..and.. the government is trying to fix it through monetary policy, ( I am rambling now) but this is a bubble waiting to burst..”
H- “Ohk, continue”
Me- faltering now…"well..you know ultimately infrastructure creation has to be supported by real demand…” Giving up….” No that’s all I thought"
H- "We were there for 4 hours…"
But these major missteps aside, there are a lot of positives as well. I do enjoy the fact that there is someone out there waiting for you for dinner and heating it up :p, someone who looks after you when you are unwell and otherwise too, who watches TV too loudly every night and youtube videos the first thing in the morning. And someone I can show this to, and we can both laugh at it. Clearly there is a lot of hope.