What a surprise?

This blog was written for an online magazine in 2008.

A sensitive husband always throws a surprise birthday party for his wife a year ahead of her other friends and relatives! Well, that’s a joke and is too good to be true. We do not expect such sensitivity from someone from Mars.  As per the survey result and experiences of married women like me who are enjoying the mundane ‘comfortable zone’ of their married journey, most of the husbands forget to remember their wife’s birthday or their marriage anniversary because they try too hard to memorize it.

Well, I am not writing this blog to complain about the defects that my Tech-savvy husband suffers from when it comes to touching the soft corner of a woman’s heart.  That’s how majority of real men are. And I do not want to change him (well! I give up on that impossible task) and I love him the way he is. He is not a man of words and I rule the relationship when it comes to expression through words. Whether it’s love, anger or agony in the relation, I am the designated speaker. I have to search for love in his small gestures like preparing special chicken dish for me or saving the last bite of my favorite fish curry and chocolate cake for me. Well, these gestures speak loud about his love for me. When it comes to playing beautifully with words to show your love, the ball is in my court as I am the writer in the family.
  This only happens in Yash Raj films where the cute looking actor (without a bushy moustache on his face) is a successful business tycoon in his late twenties, is married to his dream girl, is never exhausted after a day’s work and is a wonderful romantic husband too. He is on business trips across the globe, remains unaffected by the jet lag, squeezes time out of his busy schedule to dance around the Swiss mountains with his lovely wife who gracefully withstands the chill in a chiffon sari. But it is different in real life. At the end of the day, your husband is exhausted after those business trips and meetings and you are drained out of energy dealing with two cute kids and the household chores. The remaining energy is used in running on toes to control two overactive kids and put them to bed in time so that you can catch a crispy couple chit chat at bed before both of you start snoring. I outgrew that dreamland of Yash Raj films after my teen years and chose to settle down with real man with a bushy moustache. I shuddered fantasies of those reel life sweet-coated husbands. I embrace the truth of marrying a man and not a mannequin. 
 You have to pay a price for marrying a jewel. If you are married to a jewel, you should stop expecting jewelleries for gift from him. In my case, I am one female who is least bothered about her looks and jewelleries.  I was content to get those books and jeans as gift from my husband on special occasions. What mattered to me most was that for so many years since our marriage, he was the first soul on this planet to wish me on special occasions like my birthday and our anniversary. But last year, something unusual happened as my husband forgot my birthday. In fact he repeated the same mistake after two weeks to forget our wedding anniversary. Those days he was so engrossed with business meetings and problems at work that he kept forgetting every other minute details. But wife’s birthday is not a minute detail and I was hurt. I thought that he would be suffering from guilty pangs for forgetting his wife’s birthday. But what hurt me even more was that he was not. My phone kept ringing since early morning and I got wishes from my loved ones across the globe. Even those calls failed to make him realize that there was something special about the day. He started his day as usual and was in hurry to catch up an important meeting at work. He left for work without even wishing me. It was the first time when the reality of ‘comfortable zone’ of my marriage hit me. I tried to swallow the harsh truth of the comfortable zone and spend rest of my day managing the house and my kids. In the evening he rushed back home with a cake. We never used to celebrate occasions with cake till my elder daughter started advocating that birthdays are incomplete without cake cutting. So a little celebration patched up the matter and we were back to normal. Same thing happened on our anniversary and a family dine-out at my favorite restaurant cooled off my anger.
But my silent anger had immense effect on my sensitive husband and he tried to compensate for his mistakes by surprising me with a diamond pendant this year. He was so overcautious that he wished me a month before our wedding anniversary, but soon he realized the mistake and waited for one month to surprise me. This year we were the first ones to wish each other on our anniversary. Since it was Thursday and we could not munch on our favorite chicken dish in Indian restaurant, we decided to postpone that program for Friday. We agreed on going to temple in the evening and then have a nice home cooked vegetarian dinner at our family table. He left for work, my elder daughter went to school and I was left with my younger one in the house. Day passed by as usual taking care of a toddler and preparing an elaborate dinner for the night. My husband returned home early picking up my daughter from the school. He did not ring the doorbell as he had the keys to the house. He entered the house and got an important call from his office. There was some business issue that he kept tackling for the rest of the day behind the doors. I got busy with my two kids.
In the evening, he came out of the room, had tea and we got ready for temple. We opened the door to go out and were shocked! There was my surprise gift that was unattended for almost four hours. The scorching heat of Phoenix had dried up the roses and melted the chocolate. We were relieved to find the diamond pendant safe. I took the packet and rushed to keep it in refrigerator. Throughout the way to temple and back home, my husband kept whining and rambling about his forgetfulness. We had our dinner and then enjoyed the distorted heart shaped chocolate candies. Even on dinner table my husband kept talking about the ways he could improve his memory power. Finally he zeroed down the options and decided to go for regular gym and meditation to boost up his sharp mind.
After putting my kids to bed in their room, I entered our bedroom with the pendant in my hand. My husband was on bed with his book. I stood in front of the mirror with the pendant in my hand. I wished that he would come and romantically put it around my neck. But I stood there in vain. He just took his eyes off from the book to ask me if I liked it. Even before I could reply he was back reading his book. At last I kept the pendant in my jewellery box.
He kept reading ‘The World is Flat’ when I hit the pillow hard on my flat marital bed. I wished him ‘Good Night’ and closed my eyes. I could feel the pinching discomfort of the comfortable zone of my marriage.
I solemnly swear that at times I terribly miss those Yash Raj’s heroes.


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