<%-- Page Title--%> Slice of Life <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 113 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

July 11, 2003

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What Is A Man to Do

Richa Jha

Now come on, cheer up. You've been like this since last night. What is the matter?” I, the harried Hubby, am attempting the impossible. That is, to ferret the cause(s) of resentment from the nether regions of The Wifey's complex mind. Tell me, has any man worth his credibility ever managed to fathom the working of a female mind?

Yet we don't give up trying. We want peace in the house. At whatever cost. Therefore, when the wife is sulking, don't watch the Wimbeldon, don't read the newspaper, don't laugh at a joke, don't hum a tune, and don't forget to ask her once every half hour about what's grieving her. Chances of her beaming back are near zilch, but at least, you have done your part.

What else is a man to do? The tragic truth about our sex is such that however hard we may try, we will never ever do the appropriate thing in the eyes of our wives. Forget all together about hearing a few words of appreciation.
“Did something happen at the party?” I persist with my peace-buying attempts.
“I'm fine. What makes you think I'm in a foul mood?”
“Like I can't make out from your face”.
“I'm fine”.
“Did someone say something to you last night?”
“Like you care?”
“You didn't like their food? I knew it! It had to be that. Imagine serving lasagne with noodles! When will people cultivate refined tastes.”
“Will you cut that crap? I liked their food, their arrangement, their everything.”

Oh, oh! That isn't exactly music to my ears. Because if she liked the hosts, appreciated their arrangements, and complimented them on their food, that is bad news for me. Because it then narrows the possible irritants down to either the maid servant or the servile husband. The former, in this particular case, has been on leave for over a week. Too long an interval to cause delayed ripple effects of incorrectly done deeds before she went on leave. Which, willy nilly singles me out.

How I hate these situational cul-de-sacs. Circumstances are such (Friday forenoon, deluge outside) that I have no option but to stay home and face her wrath. My mind races through the previous evenings happenings. Eliminations first. She complimented me on my kurta saying it suited me, and that it made my paunch disappear. Great, since she noticed me, I assume I hadn't bungled yet. She enjoyed the drive down to the party venue humming her favourite tunes. I'm certain I didn't utter anything silly. Once there, did I make a fool of myself? Couldn't have, because the Wifey came smiling towards me from across the room just to tell me that the lemon soufflé was the best she'd had in ages, and that I should not miss them. So far, so good.

We didn't stay on for long once the dessert had been cleared from the table. After which nothing much happened in any case. We sang aloud as the hostess blew out the candles (I swear I didn't count the numbers) and cut the birthday cake. I am sure I wasn't that loud to have made a fool of myself. To be fair to me, if the person standing next to me croaks, what am I to do? We had the cake, after which the host surprised the hostess, the birthday girl, with a birthday present. A solitaire or something. As the husband slipped the ring into the wife's finger, the ladies in the room sighed. The men remained unmoved, stood there indifferent. That was a personal matter between the couple, why should we have looked on and embarrassed them? As they looked into each other's eyes, we men started chatting amongst ourselves, while I'm not too sure what the ladies present there did. I thought I detected tears collecting in the eyes of the hostess. God bless the couple.

So that was it. We left soon after this. But The Wifey hasn't uttered a word to me ever since we stepped inside our car to return home. It's not as if I rushed her into leaving from there. She herself grabbed me by my arms and said we were to leave that very minute. I swear I wasn't drunk, or misbehaving. There is no way I could have provoked such a reaction from her. But friends, it beats me. Now tell me, truly and honestly, do you see any reason why must she be mad at me. What have I done? Beats me flat.

Friends, you are my well-wishers. If any of you see a way out of this, please don't hesitate to help me out of this tricky situation. I feel lost and shaky. In the meantime, I'll try my best to get to the heart of the matter. Which, as I said earlier, in any case is as impossible as making The Wifey sit down to watch an innings a cricket match. Wish me luck!


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