I now live with Murali who I started casually flirting with 6 years ago. I remotely, but unmistakably started dating him a year after- but lucky for me, he took up a job outside of my city that led to our long distance kinship. We were too goofy to delve into the details of understanding what love is all about, however, 3 years of dating did teach us that telephone bills can be expensive. And for some reason Murali thought being engaged to me would help slash phone bills. So, he proposed & I said yes & we were engaged. On a side note, why do men think being engaged help slim their phone bills down? Weird. It doesn’t. Women like talking no matter what stage of relationship they are at. Anyway. Soon after being engaged, he took up another job and flew the country. Only now, we were paying for phone & Skype credit. So, in an effort to avoid all this, he asked me to marry him a year ago. The sympathetic side of me agreed and we’ve now succeeded in NOT paying ginormous phone bills ever since. I swear we could’ve raised a kid with that kind of money.
OK. Bad phone bill joke. Really bad. Ignore that. That’s not how I wanted to begin this.
BA is running a contest that caught my attention. “How far would you go to get closer to someone you love?” they are asking. The topic of this contest seemed funny to me since I am now the closest I’ve ever been to Murali, my husband. I doubt if I’ll ever reach a point of being ‘satisfied’ with how close we are. Because that would be a funny feeling. But I decided to give it a try. I don’t know if these qualify as something ‘I did/do’ to be closer to someone I love, but, this is all that matters to me.
I flirt with my husband. I have butterflies in my stomach every time I try on a new dress, because I want Murali to think that I look good. OK, before you all think that I need his approval of my dresses or my looks, I absolutely like what I wear and wear what I like, BUT, for him, I make an exception. I occasionally pick out a dress of his choice just to see him delighted in his gummy smile. He once waived watching a movie to take me out for dinner. All because I wore one of his favorite dresses. It happens ladies.
Before marriage, my relationship was all about being civil & pleasant. We never kept an account of what we did toward keeping the relationship fiery & jubilant, but like everyone else, we’ve done some crazy stuff in the name of love as well. Even so, post marriage, everything became a competition, a fight for equality in everything we did. Our first fights started in the kitchen deciding who was going to cook that day. We both learnt a fair bit of cooking after marriage. (God bless internet). We took turns to cook every day but I was delirious on days that I didn’t have to. I mean who isn’t, right?
But, here’s what I realized with time and a couple of hundred fights later, I was a completely different person at work. I was more than willing to take on new assignments even if that was not a part of my job. Working extra hours and little sleep for weeks didn’t seem to bother me as much. But at home, I was a seeker of equality. In every quantum worthless jig. I wasn’t going to do anything extra at home if he didn’t. This contention was fun for a while. It really was. But after sometime, we were blaming each other for the work undone because neither of us wanted to do anything above and beyond. If it were my parents or my sister that needed me to take on an extra chore for them, I would have – in a split second. But with my husband, I calculated who-did-what-when, blatantly. It’s probably because I come from a place that’s hugely male dominated even now and it’s only fair for a newlywed to feel this way deliberating how every girl in my country grows up thinking that all men are cold-blooded chauvinistic creatures who dump all of the marital responsibilities on the girl alone. But, I guess that’s both untrue and unfair – to an extent. Not all men are pigs & some even deserve to be married. And I know Murali neither compelled me to cook nor judged me for not wanting to. He just didn’t spend time in the kitchen when he couldn’t. That’s it. So, I, instead of spending time on figuring out how to split our cooking schedule in perfect-half, learned to push MY boundaries. He never asked me to, but I did it. For him. For us.
(Those days that I can’t, there is Chinese takeout that you can depend on- always)
I start my day very early and I doze off when the rest of the world is out partying. I feel old. Even my grandparents would agree that it’s boring to hit the sack SO early. On some days, it’s wine and on most other, it’s just me. Murali on the other hand is the exact opposite. Now & then, he pretends like he’s asleep just to avoid I (his loving wife) screaming at the top of my voice dictating him to come to bed while I’m half asleep. He has always ALWAYS been someone who has enjoyed working for 15+ hours every day. That’s who he has been all through school, college and work. We were 14 when we met. So, I know him.
I understand his urge to do better, to challenge himself. And I do too. When I bring work home, he is unquestionably more encouraging than I am.
Occasionally, easing up to my overtly empathetic side, I decide to keep him company while he’s pulling an all-nighter. I drink a cup of coffee, pick a pathetic movie like The Twilight or whatever people are calling it and laugh hysterically in the middle of the night at the risk of being an annoying neighbor. We’ve made so much fun of that movie. Good grief. So, I actually like it when he has to work all night, I can indulge in pathetic, yet fun, movie watching-ice cream bingeing marathon without feeling guilty. Win-Win.
And there are days when you suddenly love your significant other 500 times more than usual. It’s bizarre what love does to human mind. I don’t care if my kitchen is dirty or if the laundry is undone. I don’t judge myself for wanting to be with someone I love instead of the dirty dishes. We’d rather spend time on the couch all day long, drinking coffee, eating Maggi, and watching TV laughing neurotically till we barf our guts out for no apparent reason. You know the kind of snort-y laugh that heals your heart. I don’t care how awful I look with that ridiculous loud laughter on my face, but it sure does make him smile too. I can’t tell if he is laughing at me or at my pathetic jokes or at himself for choosing to be with me. But I know I live with someone I can laugh with, at all times.
Louder the laugh, better the relationship. That’s a fact.
I’d always want to be closer to him than I already am. And of course there is a price we all pay for closeness. It means, loving someone with all your heart although there is a no guarantee that it’ll last forever, letting the other person see you even when you are at your vulnerable-best, respecting them for who they are instead of a fancy version of them in your head of what they can become with the help of your wonderful companionship. Seriously, we don’t choose to be with someone so we could change them one day. That’s inordinately dumb.
For now, Murali & I have arrived at an equation that works for us. We love-work-love-laugh-love-food-love-sleep-love-love. He is not my better half, he is my better full. And I am his.
I wanted to take a picture that depicted all our moods, but that was an epic failure. Laughter is all that I got to offer.
PS: It has brought us closer ever since he has agreed to name our daughter after my mother. Or maybe I just dreamt that he did. I can’t tell.
PPS: I am not pregnant. Not even close. Hell, I don’t even like kids. Yet.
PPPS: IF we ever have a kid, I hope we have a daughter because I don’t think my son is going to like me very much knowing that I named him after my mother.
PPPPS: And I think I just jinxed my chances of ever having a daughter by admitting to wanting to have one. Damn it.
Oh. I almost forgot. I started following UFC for him. I can’t believe that I am all about blood and guts now. But you know what, I’ll let Murali write an article about this when BA has another contest for men titled “why do I love my wife so much” or something.
Anyway. Celebrate love folks. It’s pretty amazing.