Getting married was probably the single most important occurrence in my life. I’m not even kidding, I was obsessed with the idea of getting married right from the age when I began understanding what marriage really meant. My wedding day would go down in my life history as that one day, which had ruled my nightly fantasies for as long as I can remember.
Not sure if I was an exception to the rule or if most girls fantasize endlessly about that lace detail in their just-married linen, but I was ecstatic and determined to get the ball rolling.
As if acting on a fully charged electric impetus, the moment that swish of scarlet sindoor was smeared on the parting of my hair, I took upon myself the role of the newly-wedded biwi – Blame it on my over-exposure to Bollywood or just my self-sketched character, I was on!
From the very first day with my husband, who has been with me since before World War I, I wanted to play-act the biwi role to the absolute best of my abilities. I would wake up early, (okay, as early as I could), and see to it that I made hot cups of tea for myself and meri jaan.
I was so organized that I would have already prepped the Atta for the fresh Gobhi Parathas that I would serve him. He loved Parathas, so I made them to make him happy, and mostly, to induce some post-marriage changes into our lives. My organization and planning skills were through the roof – If any of you had come to inspect my fridge in those days, you would definitely find neatly plucked leaves of mint and dhaniya stored in airtight containers, to be vehemently sprinkled over a Dal Makhni. You would also see well-labelled mason-jars filled with freshly prepared ginger and garlic pastes, because God forbid, if I had to cook off a scrumptious meal for the new husband, I would need the essentials to pull it off.
I would frantically knead the dough with my hands that were heavy with the weight of the red chooda, and in the backdrop of the noise it would make, clunking over the steel bartan. But no amount of clunking could stop my vigor in making my marriage in line with my adolescent fantasies. With huge dollops of ghee on the parathas, our days would start.
I was determined to balance being the Biwi No. 1 and an Entrepreneur a.k.a The-Manager-of-Everything-That-Goes-Wrong at my office. Between meetings and number crunching, my mind would flutter into my kitchen to think of our next meal – But making good food isn’t the only sign of being a good Biwi, no?
I would send him flirty texts throughout the day, keeping extra care of the smoothness in my language and the dosage of mushy romance at an all-time high. I refused to remove my mangalsutra, despite my mom-in-law giving me the go ahead, because, how could I? – Wasn’t this piece of jewelry an integral part of the scores of imaginings I had had all those days, rolling in my bed? I wore it everywhere, because it made me feel good, and I could carry it off with my otherwise non-desi clothes. I would religiously re-apply my sindoor every morning, and if the husband dared say anything about taking it easy on it, he would surely receive the ugliest scowl from me.
My pyajamas had taken a back-seat in my wardrobe, and that oversized, stained T-Shirt that I once loved, was stowed deep inside, behind all the Victoria’s Secret finery. I paid an arm and a leg to buy all the lacy, shiny, beautiful fabrics from all major lingerie stores in the city and wore them with aplomb, strutting through my house, my silky, satin-y cover-up swaying after my mad confidence. Candles would be lit, and bedsheets would be changed to fit the mood – Gourmet Shrimp Pastas would be tossed in the kitchen and he would get me my favorite flowers every other week.
This lasted for quite some time.
But now what?
Well, ab Shaadi Thodi Si Puraani ho gayi hai.
Now, he wakes up before I do, and until he gets me my morning cuppa coffee, I can’t be seen outside the rubble of my blanket. The luxurious Parathas have been mercilessly replaced with Scrambled Eggs, scrambled so fast in the rush of the morning that it would give Jamie Oliver’s whisking skills to test. I still buy my dhaniya and mint, but if you were to go into my fridge today, you would find a bunch that’s lying around for a week, untouched, un-loved, wilted and dead without attention. Also, no more, fresh ginger-garlic pastes – The store-bought ones are just as good, aren’t they?
The flirty texts that were exchanged every few hours have now become less extant, and nowadays he receives texts such as, “Ek Strip Digene ka le aao na, pet mein dard ho raha hai!”
The mangalsutra makes appearances every now and then too, sometimes to remind us that we really are married, and sometimes to remind me that all adolescent fantasies are not practical. The depth of colour of the sindoor now depends on my mood, sometimes, dark and evident, and at other times, inconspicuous.
I have let go of the satin nightwear-cover-up, because more than swaying with confidence, nowadays, it just does the job of collecting the un-swept dust from my living room.
Don’t get me wrong, my determination is still pretty intact.
My childhood dreams of what a perfect married life should look like still exists within me. It’s just that this was all new for me, too. And sometimes, things in everyday life aren’t as picturesque as the highlight reel of your fantasies. And don’t get me wrong that my dreams of perfection are now shattered, and that as we grow into a relationship, things aren’t as new or fresh as the initial days.
A marriage doesn’t become old, we make it into what it can or cannot be.
And that’s that with any relationship, or any existence for that matter – You become older every year, but do you stop doing new things, getting excited at new possibilities, living life?
It is exactly the same with marriage – The key is to keep reinventing, do new things, get excited at newer possibilities, and explore each other.
Shaadi Puraani Nahi Hoti – We get comfortable into a state of our most natural habitat!
And although I am not prepping the Gobhi Paratha Atta for him tomorrow, a pleasure breakfast on the weekends, a surprise here and there, a stray text now and then and a little bit of the Victoria’s Secret glad rags still works like magic!
But until then, I must secretly confess – That oversized, stained T-Shirt has definitely made a comeback, and is here to stay.