Scenes from a married life #1 – Dry Cleaning

Well this is mostly a drabble on the daily struggles of married life (As if I know anything about a successful married life) I find the dynamic of this relationship very interesting. After all, it’s the little things that fill life with joy. Also, I have been watching some amazing short films and I feel very inspired. Hope you enjoy this. I plan on writing many more situation-based sketches.

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Ragini rung the door bell and being the impatient person that she was, immediately started tapping her feet. With the weight of her laptop bag bogging her down emotionally just as much as physically, she waited for Akash to open the door and greet her with a welcoming smile. All she wanted to do was crash into bed and sleep.

After only a few seconds, the door opened and Akash stood before her wearing soiled clothes and a goofy smile on his face.

“Hey baby, why’re you so late?”, he asked jovially as he gave her a hug and a peck on her lips. Despite her exhaustion, Ragini gave him a smile and said, “Overload of work, as usual. There were too many deadlines that needed to be met and it seems as though none of my team members want to work in my absence. And that Trivedi – I don’t know what problem he has with female bosses. It takes all of my strength to get him to work and…” she cut off midway because Akash didn’t seem to be listening, “Why do you look so happy?”

He grinned and said, “You’ll see soon enough. Why don’t you go and change while I put dinner on the table?”

She nodded, dumped her laptop bag on the nearby sofa and said, “Let me just have a glass of water”

He nodded, kissed on her cheek and walked into the kitchen. She took out a bottle of water from the fridge and just as she was about to drink, she peeked into the kitchen to see what Akash was upto. What she saw completely horrified her. The kitchen was in a complete mess. The masala jars were all in a disarray and there were dirty utensils lying all over the place. There were half chopped vegetables on the slab and all the kitchen towels were soiled. As she kept the bottle back in the fridge, she noticed less than half of the quantity of milk in the big steel container that she usually kept on a daily basis. There was no dahi either.

With piling annoyance and resentment, she marched into the kitchen and said loudly, “What the hell are you upto?!”

He dropped the spoon he was holding in surprise and turned towards her, “Ragini why are you in here? I thought you were going to go freshen up! Please go, chalo leave”, he said as he started to usher her out.

Tch, I’m not going anywhere. What have you done to the kitchen? And why haven’t you bought milk and dahi? I had told you before leaving, hadn’t I?”

Arey I’ve made your favorite mattar paneer today! and you know the kitchen gets messy when I cook. I’ll clean it up na baby, why’re you getting so hyper?”

Ragini held up a hand and scowled, “I know how you clean the kitchen okay…don’t try to fool me. All you will do is dump the dishes in the sink and wipe the slab. I’ll have to reset the mismatched jar caps, throw the left-over vegetables, clean the stove and the microwave and keep those kitchen towels for laundry. And you will probably have used the same spoon for salt and haldi!”

Akash immediately lowered her gaze and peeked at her with guilty eyes. She let out an exasperated sigh and flung her arms, “I knew it”

“I cooked your favorite dish and that doesn’t mean anything to you, does it?”, he said in a hurt voice.

“It does, but does that mean you ignore all your responsibilities for it? When will you grow up Akash? Am I the only one responsible for keeping this house together? Will you only do as much as you’re instructed to do? Can’t you do things on your own, accept some responsibility on your own? Bolo?”

She was glaring at him with furious eyes and her face was lit up with one expression – ‘I-have-had-enough’. It was intimidating yet familiar at the same time. She had this habit of giving long furious pauses in between her outbursts during which she expected him to tell her what she wanted to hear, but on the contrary they always made Akash want to laugh. He always struggled with keeping his grin in check during one of those but it was really difficult to say the least. Unfortunately his self restraint cracked and he let one grin slip.

Nothing could have infuriated Ragini more. She hated it when he did that. She felt like she was raging at a wall and would only end up hurting herself if she tried anymore. Unable to find the right words to express her indignation, she flung her arms in the air once again and said, “That’s it. I don’t want to talk to you anymore. You think this is funny don’t you? Leave me alone and don’t you dare try to talk to me!

With that, she turned on her heel and made to march towards their room. Realizing that this would end up in silent treatment and passive aggressive behavior for days, Akash rushed towards her and held her arm, “Acha wait wait wait…I’m sorry, okay? I’m really sorry”

She jerked her arm out of his grasp and said, “What are you sorry for? For smiling or not taking up responsibility?”

“For both. I know I’m irresponsible and callous. I’m working on it, seriously”

“You just don’t get it Akash. I feel like I need to take care of everything in this house. You take me for granted. If I don’t pay attention to the bills, they don’t get paid. If I don’t give instructions to the maid, the house won’t get cleaned. If I don’t keep track of the groceries, there will be no food on the table. If I don’t make sure that everything broken gets fixed on time, you will probably not even notice a leaking tap…or, or a seepage in the plumbing. Do you ever notice anything?”

He pondered for a second and said, “I got the TV repaired last week”

“That was only because you turned it on to watch the match and it wasn’t working! You only notice things that affect you directly!”

“Alright, I accept that. But I will make a conscious effort to make changes, Ragini. Just give me some time. I’ll even maintain a to-do list from now on wards”

Once again, she slipped into one of her dramatic pauses but she seemed calmer this time. She unfolded her arms and her gaze softened a bit. A few seconds later, she said, “Do you mean it?”

“Yes, baby, absolutely”, he said earnestly.

“Okay. I’m telling you though, I’m going to stop taking care of everything if you keep this up. And you are going to clean the kitchen after dinner today. Completely”

“I promise”, he replied with a smile.

Reluctantly, she smiled and Akash let out a sigh of relief, “Can I get a hug?”, he asked.

With the smile still on her face, she walked into his open arms and felt him enclose her warmly. Snuggling her head in his shoulder, she asked, “Did you pick up the clothes from the dry cleaning? They were due today”

Akash’s smile melted away like ice-cream on a hot pan.

 

The absurdity of Indian Television

First of all aloha after this long hiatus. I don’t why I stopped writing. Sometimes I go through this intense and unflinching writer’s block that refuses to go away despite a million different ideas. But now I’ve realized that a writer’s block happens only when I try to write something that I’m not comfortable with. For example, a sophisticated story about love with complicated and never ending words and sentences, or an in-depth analysis of an issue which seemingly has hard hitting things to say but ofcourse turns out to be epic fail.

So I’m back to writing about things that make absolutely no difference to the world and least of all me. Recently I’ve become somewhat of a couch potato. I bought hundreds of DVDs and started watching many more shows on Television. To begin with, Homeland is perhaps the best show I’ve seen on Television in a very long time. Not only does it satisfy my spy”ness” fetish but it also has an incredible script and story. It keeps the viewer hooked right until the end. The characters are multi layered and complex, especially the protagonist Carrie who is strong yet vulnerable. All the Golden Globes and Emmys’ are absolutely well deserved.

Another show I’ve started watching recently is The Good Wife. I’ve heard quite a bit about this show, so I decided to give it a go. I haven’t watched too many episodes yet but so far it seems engaging. This is another show that has a protagonist worth rooting for, unlike Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy who only makes you wish that she would drown or get blasted by a bomb already.

Coming back to the topic in question – Indian Television. Now, in all seriousness I have no words to describe the stupidity of our shows. While everyone else is making shows like Prisoners of War (Israel), Humsafar (Pakistan) and of course Homeland, The Good Wife, Downtown Abbey, Mad Men from US, we’re still busy making shows like Sasural Simar Ka, Ek Hazaaron mein meri behna hai, Saath nibhana saathiya, Uttaran etc etc etc. I could invest a century in analyzing all these shows separately and still not figure out the difference between any of them. They all have the same papercut characters, same storyline, same twists and turns and for the love of god same dramatic VFX effects. The only remaining bifurcation between shows now is their setting – They’re either set in a destitute village where one big Thakur/Thakurain owns a big haveli and is evil to the boot, or they’re set in an apparently modern world where the protagonist is always a college going, doe-eyed, Mary-Sueish girl who is always dreaming about meeting her Mr. Right who will sweep her off her feet. She obviously has no other motive in her life.

We have all seen some crazy shit on Indian Television. Reincarnation is a theme that has not only been gang raped but also murdered (overkill) in the most brutal fashion possible. Had Voldermort been a character on an Indianized Hari Puttar series, they would have gone on for 7000 episodes and he would never die. Added to that, had Ekta Kapoor been producing/directing it then Bellatrix would get pregnant with Voldermort’s kid and she would conceive while he was in Coma, recovering from the Avada Kedavra curse. Of course, Plastic surgery would come into the picture regardless of whether any damage was done to the face or not. But either ways, Voldermort would only benefit from it as it would give him a real nose.

Anyway, another theme explored (uhm?) avidly on our Television is of course, family, love and relationships. Now, if I was a public figure and I had the power to influence people I would blame the falling levels of IQ in every household single handedly on these dumb shows. (Salman Khan has been contributing vastly to this trend recently, but even his contribution is negligible compared to the consistent contribution made by Indian shows for over 15 years) If we were to go by these shows, then all condom manufacturing units would go bankrupt as premarital sex is a bigger crime than rape and murder, Indian economy would come to depend solely on Gold and Kanjivaram Sarees as the women are required to be heavily laden with all their gold and sarees even while sleeping. Oh I forgot to mention that a million unemployed hairstylists would find secure jobs because they would be required to make sure that everyone’s hair stays in place even after they have been shot and are facing death in an ICU.

Divorces would be written off from Indian law because no matter what happens an Indian family should never fall apart. Even after a hundred affairs, thousand illegitimate kids and a million criminal cases. Forget about how screwed up the entire thing sounds. Oh and if you’re living in a family where two daughters get married in the same house, Lo and Behold, you’re in for a treat for a lifetime. The husbands are bound to get exchanged at some point of time for sure. The kids also might get exchanged. One or two of them might get kidnapped by an evil random person at some point too. So yeah, basically it’s all very entertaining.

BUT STILL NO DIVORCE, REMEMBER!

The girl will always get married against her wish. That’s like the unwritten golden rule of Indian Television. She is destined to be an unhappy, moping and sad little soul for the rest of her life. When she has her own daughter she would look into her eyes, her own eyes brimming with tears, and would say, “Beta, ek aurat ki zindagi mein sirf dukh likhe hote hain. Yehi kudrat ki reet hai”, and they both would sob endlessly while an emotionally manipulative song/tune plays in the background.

Don’t forget the fact that the protagonist on Indian Television is the epitome of morality and you will probably not find a better Satyavati in great epics like Mahabharat and Ramayan. Tulsi and Parvati make Seeta and Draupati look tame. Seeta left off for the forest when Ram banished her. You think Parvati would have ever done that? No! She would have sunk to her knees infront of her Parmeshvar samaan Pati and cried her heart out, saying the most laughworthy lines ever, “Kya galti ho gayi mujhse? Aapko maine devta samjha, har kadam pe aapka saath diya, aapke naam ka deepak aaj tak mandir mein jal raha hai, aur aap mujhse rishta tod rahein hain? Aakhir kyun?!” and the very generous husband would melt.

Draupati was an even more evil woman! She insulted her husbands in public! She vowed not to tie her hair till the day she lived! Oh, the blasphemy! Doesn’t she know the importance of a good hairstyle? Do you think Tulsi would have done that? NO! She would have wiped off all her tears and said resolutely, “Agar mere patiyon ko lagta hai ki mujhe daav pe laga kar unhe unki khoyi hui izzat waapis mil sakti hai, toh main yeh imtihaan bhi paar kar lungi”

Remember, the make up, hair and clothes remain intact throughout all their hardships. Notice how, even in death, all family members wear perfectly white and crisp clothes. I’m sure their designer sits somewhere amidst the crowd.