Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A little thing called Married Love

So much of what we know about love, we learn from movies and books. Dashing dudes on motorcycles and sultry femmes in their pastel best. A formula for romance, peppered with grand gestures and heady kisses. Ah, so magical! We yearn for those fireworks and try our hardest to replicate the same formula in our lives. 

And yes, sometimes Love is Dazzling. Scary in its intensity, thrilling, all-consuming. Verses of Poetry waiting on our work desk. A dozen roses, simply because. He’s loud, he’s magnetic, and he takes your breath away. You walk around in a daze, drunk on this love. 

But sometimes Love is subtle. Unexpressed with words but loud in its own way. He gets home Pizza and a tub of Chocolate ice cream. Surprise breakfasts delivered to your bed, buying Tampons with zero embarrassment. Fueling up your Car to save you time in the morning, seeking your agreement but respecting your ‘NO’s. He may forget to kiss you before leaving for work, but calls at noon just to hear your voice. 

Sometimes Love is plain boring. Filling out loan applications together. Attending his tiresome coworker’s party. “Babe, what’s for dinner?” “Hey can you pick Kiddo up from school today?” 
You wake up hating the non-drama. Envying the newlyweds next door. Mr. Hot Guy and Mrs. Perky Boobs. Wasn’t that you once upon a time? 
You look over at your husband, making you hot chocolate with infinite patience. Trying to cheer you up with a droopy little rose he plucked from the backyard. 
And suddenly you want to kiss him right there in front of the kids because how did you get so Lucky?!

Often Love is difficult. It requires you to be unselfish. To care for someone else even if you’re just as sick. To forgive angry words said in heated voices. To see past wet towels on the floor and work meetings on Sundays. It takes every ounce of patience to not scream. Fights, sulk fests, smudged rivulets of mascara on white pillowcases. You’re shocked by how hard marriage is. But you vow to work harder on your relationship. You’re a warrior and he’s worth fighting for.

And then sometimes Love takes a little nap. Years of togetherness, decades of comfort with each other’s routines. He forgets your birthday, you lose that watch he got you for your first anniversary. Life and kids and a million pesky things come between you. One day, he gets home a hastily wrapped present. Perplexed, you open it, while he hops around on his middle-aged feet. 
It’s a rather ugly watch with a too-large dial. 
“Do you like it? Do you like it?” 
And you do! You adore the damn thing, just like you cherish this darling man standing before you. Guess what? Naptime is over. And hey, Love was always a light sleeper!

Married love can be dazzling or subtle, dull or infuriating. It can be all of these types at different times for different people. And some days, love sleeps for a really long while. But there‘s no right or wrong here. Our relationships are our own unique experiences and how we cherish our spouses. Married Love is more of a verb and less of an established Noun.

Occasionally love comes in bursts and waves, like a glorious thunderstorm. You can get drenched in it and swept off your feet. But like a gentle rain that nourishes, love can also be quiet. Modest and unappreciated for its simplicity. We must be careful not to overlook the unsaid because often the biggest acts of love happen in the quietest moments.

So much of what we know of love, we learn from movies. Dashing dudebros and sultry femmes with their grand gestures and heady kisses. 

But if you asked me, I’d choose that droopy little rose any day. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Day 1.
My hotel room has funny looking walls. They’re painted an odd color, but I could live with that. The journey has been exhausting, and I ache everywhere. So I lean back and doze off.
Shortly after, a soft thrumming from the walls wakes me up. A neighbor, probably. My head bobs to the tempo. Mmmm. Catchy. A few hearty sips of my favorite shake. And before I know it, I’m asleep again.
Day 2.
The music is louder. The dark walls stare at me. I stretch my body when I feel it. But how? How could I have grown larger? In what 4 hours? I feel the first tendrils of fear. My tummy growls, needing, nagging. Oh well, a voice whispers from inside. A couple of sips won’t hurt. Right?
Wrong! I balloon bigger and bigger until I hear a comical pop. Wait, is this a dream? Was my shake spiked? I wait a long minute and peek. Thankfully, I’m still intact. But twice as large as before. There are these weird bumps over me and goddamnit, how can I STILL BE RAVENOUS?!
Day 4.
I lose track of time. All I do is marvel at my size and keep sipping my shakes. At one point, I give up all pretense at civility and chug that slop down. I’m mortified but I cannot help myself. And yes, I keep getting bigger.
Days 5-15
Hours morph into days. All I do is eat. There're times where I try my hardest to stop. Then the clouds shift and I’m stuffing my face, thanking the Gods for free food delivery. I struggle with what I’ve become, and how fast my body is expanding. Am I a monster?
Days 15- 30
The hotel has offered me a free upgrade to a bigger room. With walls the color of a dewy rose, this room also comes with premium room service. I giggle with excitement, already thinking about my next meal. My size is a thing of epics and lore.
Days 30-60
Guys, there’s something ticking inside me. I’m scared.Oh! And did I mention I have floppy tubes growing out of my body? I pause a second to take in this fascinating discovery before the hunger calls to me again.
Days 60 - 80.
I’m eating my entire weight in chow and discovering I prefer certain foods over the others. I love spicy flavors but cannot stand garlic.The Chef at this hotel is outstanding and I’m more than keeping her busy.
Days 80 - whenever.
You guys, I was in such a good mood! I have been sampling this scrumptious new Paneer recipe and not worrying about my weight. I thought I’d come to peace with my new body, when I saw the growths. They look like teeth? Also, those floppy tubes from 2 weeks ago sprouted tinier nubs with sharp ends. I’m terrified of someone seeing me like this.
On the bright side, I’m not hungry anymore!
HAHA!! Just kidding. I’m eating around the clock and I’m worried I will explode.Could that happen? Also, do I smell Tacos?
Days 150 - 200
Well, I have superpowers now. All my senses are deliciously heightened. I still have lumps popping up every day, but some of them are useful. I can propel myself in rapid trajectories and pick up on Chef humming her favorite tunes from rooms away. The best part? I can shovel food faster into my mouth hole. Now, if I didn’t worry about physically outgrowing my room, I would press pause and enjoy these new abilities. BUT, now I must eat.
Days 200 - 250
I tried going on a diet. Failed miserably. I’m officially as large as my room. The management and Chef have complained about my size. Bah! Just keep the meals coming.
Day 267
Not to alarm you, but the walls are shaking! Damn, did you hear that shriek? Sounded like Chef. Is she hurt? Can someone check on her?
Day 268.
Chef has been screaming nonstop. My room is vibrating and everything hurts.
Day 269.
Guys, I got kicked out of my room just now. They’re taking me through this dark, narrow alley.
What?!! I’m being pushed through the world’s tiniest doorway. I’m too big, guys!! Make it stop! Oh I can’t breathe! I’m terrified!!!……
... And I’m on the other side. Everything is so loud and bright! I’m losing it! I’m LOSING IT! Arrrghhh!!!
“Congratulations Maya and Paul! Here’s your beautiful baby girl!”
Day 1.
Guys, I’m so hungry! On the plus side, Chef is ok. She’s rather nice and she has the prettiest eyes.
I think, I’ll call her Mommy!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Dear Wifey

I recently had an interesting assignment in one of my writing groups-"Pretend you’re the opposite gender. Write a honest and heartfelt letter to your spouse."
It got me thinking really hard about the male (opposite gender) perspective and how he might perceive everyday situations.This is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy this “husband’s letter to his wife”.
Hey Wifey,
I am a man. Raised in a culture where I wasn’t encouraged to express my innermost thoughts and feelings without risking ridicule. I am supposed to be “Macho” and “Stoic” and bottle up deeper emotions unless they’re about Sports/Politics. If I wanted to profess love/grief/despair or something subtler, I am expected to use few words and fewer tears. For too long, Toxic Masculinity has dictated how I should act and talk. Well… no more. Because I’m bigger than that. And you deserve better.
So my dear Wifey, here are some things you should know:
1) You are beyond beautiful. When you parade that new dress you’re secretly worried about. The way you throw your head back and laugh with abandon. When you puke for the tenth time because our child is infesting your uterus. Your loopy drunk voice, your anger in all its glory. From your early morning smile to when you kiss me goodnight. Your beauty is limitless and free. Your face, your hair, your body as it is. How did I get so lucky? And why don’t I tell you this more often?
2) I am an idiot. Sometimes, you have to spell out what you mean. I understand you’re upset, but I’m not always great at knowing why. This is my fault and my fault only. But till I figure it out how to do better, would you tell me exactly why you’re irritated?
3) I’m scared you think I’m incompetent. Housework, taking care of our kids, changing diapers. Now let’s be honest, I will never be as good as you. I may not remember your exact technique for making pasta, or the latest games our kids are into. But here’s a secret- I’m a quick learner! A master of improvisation. Our son will learn that real men share responsibilities and our daughter will see her flawed dad putting in his 100%. So let me mess up the laundry, allow me to cook you a subpar breakfast. At the least, we’ll have funny stories to tell our grandkids some day.
4) I sometimes use your deodorant/conditioner/face cream. What?! I like to look and smell fabulous too!
5) My heart hurts when I see you in pain. Migraines, periods, labor pains. I think you’re a superwoman to go through so much, so often. I wish I could make the cramps and aches go away, but until then - here’s chocolate and all the love in my heart. Also did you want me to order takeout?
6) I can be a Giant Baby when I’m sick. Partly because I have a low tolerance for pain. But mostly because I delight in the attention you give me. I love how you fluff up my pillows, your soft murmuring as I cough up half my lung. And that hot soup you make? Babe, I would conquer the mightiest demons, just for another sip of that soup. But, first let me blow my nose again.
7) I am jealous and petty. My gender has been raised to think we are irreplaceable. So when you gush endlessly about Harvey Specter and Vicky Kaushal, I’m trying so hard to not put my fist in their (handsome) faces. I know you love me and I would probably lose in a fight to those guys, anyway. But, I will be damned if I have to be mature about it. Give me this one, babe.
8 ) I am sensitive, just like you are. I tear up at soppy scenes and sad songs. Words and actions impact me and while I may not always talk about them, but I hurt as deeply as you. If I appear uncaring or gruff, it’s probably because I am scared to show you how fragile I am.
9) Because we’re being honest (please, don’t bring this up in our next fight), I ought to let you know. I notice other women. There, I said it. I have decent peripheral vision and there are attractive women (and if we’re really being honest, MEN) around. But I am not a creep. I don’t stare and lust after them or make them uncomfortable. The color of a woman’s hair, the way she walks, her voice over the phone often reminds me of you. And sometimes, she’s just a pretty face. I am 100% committed to you. You are the queen of my kingdom and the only one who will tolerate my shenanigans. I’d be an idiot to do anything to hurt our relationship. And why would I? You hawt, mama!
10) I can be weirdly silent and secretive on occasion. I’m not having an affair/ hiding a strange disease/connected with the underworld. I’m probably thinking about my sports team or wondering how to get past that level in Mario. And some days, I don’t feel like being an adult. Trust me enough to give me space and I’ll be back to my old self.
Every so often it may feel like we’re drifting apart. Like strangers under the same roof. Much to my dismay, I’ve discovered marriage is hard. I’ve never been more scared or more irritable. Never had to explain myself so much. It sucks and I’m terrified of doing the wrong thing.
But I have faith. In us and the family we’ve created. In our shared joys and inside jokes, our loud fights and whispered apologies. The way your nose twitches, the lilt of your hips when you dance. Oh, I could write songs about your femininity, your passion, your madness.
But instead, I’ll tell you this.
I was merely a man. But after you, I’ve evolved into something Bigger than myself. And Dear Wifey, I have never been happier.
Much Love,
Your Husband.
P.S. - I sense a cough coming on. Do we have soup?