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Where there’s cigarette there is smoke, and I HATE smoke. So imagine my relief when the L&M said the day we met, which was the the day the ice was broken, that he was a non-smoker. But it is only later, after the wedding, that I came to know he HAD been a chain smoker and only the previous year (a new year resolution) had given up smoking for good.

Well, it could not have been otherwise considering that we met precisely three times before our wedding, each meeting more of a family affair and not lasting more than half an hour at the most with barely few sentences spoken to each other. So it is only afterwards that we got to know more about each other. Don’t even try telling me that arranged marriages are oh-so-romantic for the same reason. They aren’t. Arranged marriages are nothing but shots in the dark with luck being more often than not the determining factor of success. Anyway, I digress.

The L&M’s colleagues/friends, of course, knew of his smoking habits of yore and the fact that he had one fine day given it up for good. But after my arrival, they never lost an opportunity to tease by pretending to offer him a smoke or a drink (he is a teetotaler, sorry, not my doing either), then acting as if they suddenly remembered they shouldn’t have, not in front of me. They’d make a great show of apologizing to him for the faux pas they made and hope I wouldn’t give him hell. Yawwwwnn.

These are games grown men play everyday around me. They like to pretend, childishly in my opinion, that the wife is the controller (yes, these same men who revel in a mother’s control), and the enemy who would not allow the husband to smoke, drink, (whatever else). The friends themselves are the supporters (Awwwww, aren’t they so sweet?), ever ready to secretly help the man in supposed distress. Yawwwwwn.

Though I was newly married and young too at the time, I had already, many times over, seen this happening around me among young couples, even among older middle-aged ones. Frankly, the games bored me to tears. Was this the heights of humor that men could manage to achieve in mixed company, I wondered. YAWNNNNNN. Let me add that I am equally bored by women who treat their husbands like infants, ready with a bib and a tissue to wipe the…. nose. YAWNNNNNN.

As mentioned earlier, the L&M had given up smoking of his own volition, not at my orders. So the tedious charades by his friends only set my teeth on edge. Still, I dutifully smiled, like a good-natured (and silly) wife was expected to do. Not getting a reaction out of me did have a dampening effect and they stopped after a while, but not before I told them their efforts were wasted on me. Not smoking had been the L&M’s decision and no, I was NOT going to keep an eye on him.

©Shail Mohan 2016

Daily Prompt: Smoke

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