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Time seems to be running out and tension is mounting. I feel a la Madhuri Dixit. Dhak dhak karne laga, mora jiyara darne laga. In my case the dhak dhak has got nothing to do with the Saiyyan holding on to the baiyyan. It has been thirty years since the Saiyyan (or the L & M) has been doing just that. So I have sort of gotten used to it and no longer go dhak dhak over the fact. The reason the jiyara ties itself into knots and goes the dhak dhak way is entirely different.

For all thirty of those years, I have had the house all to myself for at least a few hours every day (except weekends and holidays). Ahh, the bliss of solitude! There is something rejuvenating about it. Doing your daily chores while all by yourself in a silent house, except for the music of course, and the intermittent bark from the frisky dog, has something special to it. But, all this is about to change. Very soon in the near future, the L & M will get his marching orders and will no longer be part of the great work-force that leaves home every morning and returns only in the evening. He will become a permanent fixture around the house. The mere thought gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Don’t get me wrong. We get along just fine. Besides, I am of the opinion that I could not have been luckier than I got by marrying him, considering that our marriage was “arranged” by clueless family members for whom marriage meant a totally different kettle of fish than it did for me. Oh, we have had our differences like everyone else, the L & M and I, our ups and downs as they say. We learnt to deal with them on our way, in our own way, just like everyone else I suppose. But I also know for a fact that there is no one, no one else in this world, who would love and take care of me as he does, which trait he has obviously passed on to the sons as well.

Everyone knows how he springs into action the moment I go ggu-ggu-ggu or even eeeeek depending on whether I have come across a lizard or a mouse on my wanderings around the house. Where my mother used to wrinkle her brows in annoyance and say:  “It’s only a lizard/mouse. For God’s sake, stop acting like a goddamn freak,” the L & M would brandish a broom or stick and chase away the offending intruder. How can I forget how he insists on getting me some food item I happened to mention that I liked, over and over again, till I am fit to throw up at the mere mention of it?

The other day I happened to come across a post. A young woman was vehemently opposing the adding of husband’s name to her own after marriage. Indeed I share her views on this. No one should be forced to change their name. No one should have to add anyone’s name at all to their own. But our law says otherwise. They need a surname. The woman wanted to retain her father’s name; after all he was the one who cared for her all her life, she felt.

Funnily enough, I remember taking up the matter with L & M in the initial years of our marriage for the opposite reason. I insisted that I wanted my name changed officially, with his name added to mine.  When I found the L & M wasn’t taking me seriously, I threatened him that if I ever ended up having to go through life saddled with my old name, I would never ever forgive him. Very soon, things started moving and I had all documents in my new name, with his name duly attached. You may wonder why I was so adamant. Parents may mean a lot to many of you. But for me, the L & M definitely means more than any parent. It is as simple as that.

And yet, yet…. here I am dreading that he will be retiring soon (there is still some time) and that he will be around the house 24×7. The thought as I already said gives me the heebie-jeebies and also the jitters. Those who know me well enough are aware that I am a really cool cucumber who is not ruffled that easily by anything. Well, a spider might of course, or a mouse or even a lizard. But that’s about it. Just think of it: I have walked out of the room calmly on seeing the junior son reading a comic instead of studying while his board exams were on, a sight that is fit enough to make mothers (and fathers) throw conniption fits. Of course, I have thrown a conniption fit myself when I found him mumbling into the phone late into the night when I had explicitly told him to go sleep as he had an exam the next day. But then that is another story of a cell phone that was snatched off him and broken into two. Then again, it is not germane to the issue at hand.

Anyways, reminders of the L & M’s impending retirement gives me anxiety attacks so much so that I have been talking about it to all and sundry, something I rarely do. OMG, what will I do with him home ALL the time? I keep asking my sister, sister in law, friends. I doubt they have any inkling of the worry gnawing at my heart. Most of them think its a big joke, including the L & M himself when I put the question to him. I remember the senior son watching me fuss over his having taken a year off to prepare for his engineering entrance asking me, “But how will I ever disturb you by staying at home? I will be in my room studying!”

You see, no one understands. How can I play the music I like, the way I like, a little loud? How can I sing along with it or even do a little dance totally unconsciously with no thought of anyone watching or telling me what the neighbours would think? How can I run around with Luci, scream at her and laugh myself silly? How can I stand and stare at the fluffy cloud in the sky that keeps changing its shape? How can I escape having a full-fledged meal and make do with yesterday’s leftovers? Hmm… only time can tell.

Meanwhile I am looking at the silver lining: the times we can catch all the movies we like without the weekend rush to deal with, the travel plans materializing without a hitch because there is no more need for leave to be sanctioned and of course having the Brandisher of Sticks at hand to keep the inmates of Jurassic Park in line. Not to mention the ‘your wish is my command’ service provided with a smile. Oh well, life has its perks either way. Here’s to thirty years that have gone by and the thirty more to come. Happy Anniversary to us.

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