The traffic was crazy. If her exasperating day at office wasn’t enough to have her pulling her hair out, the traffic would certainly accomplish this feat. As speed dropped to a halt, she tapped her impatient fingers on the steering wheel of the car, sub-consciously synchronized movements to the “Can’t get you out of mind” blaring on the car stereo. An elegant flip of the wrist, another check on time and another frustrated jolt of realization that the dinner guests would be arriving in the next hour!
Why do women marry? She thought, as she watched drops of rain trickle down her windscreen, blurring the red tail lights of the car ahead of her. For all the shackled freedom that marriage imposes on men, what do women really get out of a marriage?
Her mobile began screaming for attention. She fumbled in her bag. It was her husband.
“Hey love.. umm its almost seven, you know..”
“ I know! And I am on my way… just stuck in a crazy traffic jam five minutes from home!” she said, willing herself to stay calm,
“They said they’d be here by eight!” he reminded her.
“I know! I don’t need reminding! Like I said, I am on my way…”
“Sweetheart, he is my boss in the end you know…couldn’t you have just… like left a little early? Just this once?”
She banged a fist on the horn to vent out her piling fury, “I left as early as I could ok? How is an unpredicted traffic jam suddenly my fault?”
“Ok! Just get here as quick as you can ok?”
“No! I wont.. I will take the longest detour to home possible, just because I want to be present on the doorstep right when Mr. Makra shows up! Ok?” she yelled, unable to hold on to her temper any longer. She hung up, banged another fist on the horn and pushed back against her seat.
She worked equally long hours as he did. Sometimes longer. She had bosses to report too. She had deadlines and presentations. She had maids to haggle with, a house which needed to look the best, most of the times, cooking to do. Something which he was happy not looking into. So how did this qualify as he being on the receiving end of the pitfalls of a married life?
Why did they marry? Last evening had been a disaster. He had come home late in the evening and over dinner just announced that his boss would be coming over the next day.
“But honey.. it’s a week day!” she had protested.
“He kind of said he was coming, I could not say please do not!” he had argued.
“Why cant we meet him out for dinner?”
“Oh please! He wants to see the new home!”
“Well then why cant he come over the weekend?”
“What’s this about?”
“I have the Oberoi’s presentation tomorrow, I have no clue when I get off work!!”
“Once! That’s all I am asking of you! In fact I haven’t ever asked anything of this sort of you before!”
“This is so baseless.. the presentation is not in my hands!”
“Fine! I’ll tell him to not come.. ever!”
“Its not what I am saying…”
And it had blown into a full scale fight. She had in fact spent the better half of the night contemplating whether women marry for some masochistic joy. Why would one want to spend the night staring at the back of the man she loved? Why would she stay awake with the remnants of a fight making her stomach sour, while he snored right beside her?
She looked at the watch again. Seven fifteen. The traffic, as if sensing her panic, began to slowly move. Vexed, she veered her way and made it to her doorstep by seven thirty. She would never get the dinner cooked in time. Let alone set the house and groom herself to be presentable enough to his boss. She let out a long sigh at the door and braced herself for another flare up. She inserted the key and pushed the door open.
He was not in sight. But the hall had been set up. Cleaned, tidied, the lights dimmed … slow, mellow music filled the room. It was perfect. She walked to their room. He wasn’t there either. But the door to the bath was open, and the light flicked on. She walked inside, to a bath tub filled with warm water, her towel hung invitingly, and her spa kit rested elegantly beside the tub.
She found him in the kitchen. He had just finished placing the lid on one of the porcelain severs. Sensing her presence he turned around. She was standing, leaning against the door frame, looking a crazy mixture of love and confusion. He smiled at her, walked to her and pulled her in his arms. She leaned against his chest.
“Food’s taken care of,” he informed her, “ ordered in. Now you go and freshen up. When Mr. Makra shows up with his ‘oh-i-am-so-perfect-wife’, I want to introduce them to the woman I love. The woman who has the most dazzling smile in the entire wide world, who can charm conversations with her rich laughter, who is beautiful. Now you cant be all that when you are tired and snappy, can you? So go…”
He pulled her away, turned and gently pushed her in the direction of their room. She took a step, then turned back and looked at him. Not quite knowing how, a fraction of a second later they were kissing like two hungry lovers, who had been forced apart.
She didn’t know why women married… But she definitely knew why she had! She had married for this…