In sickness and in health…

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Whenever I fell ill as a child, (which was quite often!) the whole household revolved around me. Ditto for my brother too. Whenever one of us, or both of us (most of the time) fell ill, my mom stayed home and had a perpetually worried face. Dad called every hour to check on us. Everyone joined forces to make sure I swallowed my medicines.

This pattern continued well in to my late teens.

Once I came down down with a viral when I’d just started working.

“You go to work” I told my worried mother. “I’m old enough to take care of myself”

Reluctantly, she left me with instructions on what I should eat and what medicines I should take, still with a worried face.

I dozed off into a fitful sleep.

I woke up at lunch time. Tried to get up and walk to the dining room a few feet away. But my feet just didn’t co-operate…

Wobbly, I held on to the wall and staggered to the table. I fed myself and staggered back to bed.

Now I had a horrible headache plus a raging fever. The tablets lessened the fever, but the headache refused to go away.

After much tossing and turning, I drifted off to another bout of fitful sleep.

I woke up to my mother opening the front door.

She came straight to my room to check on me.

“Don’t ever leave me when I have fever again!” I croaked.

********

Years later I fell ill when I myself had became a mother. My husband just couldn’t take off from work, but he did his bit by dropping off my 2 year old at his parents’ during the day and picking him up after work.  My dad brought me my lunch. (perks of living within an 8km radius of one’s parents and in-laws!)

Again my raging fever and headache stopped me from reading or doing anything remotely enjoyable. But surprisingly, I didn’t falter when I had to walk around the house.

My rest lasted only 2 days, since my son spent his second day whimpering & crying for me alternatively and refused any nourishment.

So the third day  I had no choice but get up and take care of him!

A few months ago, I was sick again, but never had the luxury of a  lie in. Armed with paracetamols, I drove my son to school, did all my usual chores for the day. Only difference was I napped for an hour in the morning and again in the afternoon.  And went to bed early.

But what surprised me was, I somehow had the strength to do all my chores.

So it brings me to an essential question… Is illness merely a state of mind? If I have responsibilities, my body gets the energy to perform the chores and when I don’t, it runs totally out of it?

Or is it just one of the curses of motherhood?!!

Fights and Feuds…

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The doorbell rang as I was racing against time to finish an assignment. My son was napping and I prayed he wouldn’t wake up and ruin my efforts to catch a deadline.  For once.

H, a friend stood outside my door.

Her forehead was smeared with so much kumkum that it looked like she’d emptied a dubba on herself.

I invited her in and ran back to the comp.

She dragged a chair and sat next to me.

“I walked out of home,” she informed me.

“Why?”

“I fought with my husband”

“So what’s new?! ” I asked. ” you keep talking… just don’t expect me to say anything till I send this mail… ”

She rattled on about the arguement she’d had with her husband (which was so petty, I can’t even tell you…)

I half-listened and made all the appropriate noises.

I finished my work and we lounged in the sofa with a cup of tea each.

She’d just told me how she had walked all morning from one temple to another to get some peace of mind… She was sure her husband must have been having hell trying to handle both their boisterous kids when the doorbell rang again.

This time it was her driver.

She looked at me flummoxed.

I just shrugged.

The driver informed her that his master was downstairs waiting for her in the car.

“Tell him I’m not coming..” She said haughtily.

“Ma’m… I’ll lose my job.. you please tell him whatever you want to yourself…”

She looked at me…

“Your man is smart..” I told her. ” He knows exactly where you’ll be when you run away from home!”

After dragging her feet for another ten minutes, she sheepishly said her goodbyes and went back to her waiting husband…

*******

Fights in a marriage is as common as cold, I think… I have my share of them too… But over the years they’ve tapered down to a curt word here, a killer looks there and we just get on with our lives.

I remember the first time we had a fight as newly-weds. After a bitter argument and a healthy blame-game session, my husband stormed out after yelling he didn’t want dinner.

I threw myself on the bed, cried into my pillow and ignored my own grumbling tummy for the better part of the night.

The next time, we had just sat down to dinner and I was ravenous.

But my husband who was suffering from a bad cold was mad at me for the chilled curds at the table.  How could I be so inconsiderate?

I told him he’d been avoiding curds for the past few days and the chilled curds were for me.

He walked off in a huff.

I looked at the food in my plate.

Then I looked at his sulking silhouette in the balcony.

My hunger won. I ate my dinner and retreated to the bedroom and watched some TV.

But the dishes on the table bothered me.

So I went up to him and asked him ” Aren’t you going to finish your dinner?”

“NO!”  he barked. “I told you I will not eat!”

“OK” I said. I cleared the table, cleaned the kitchen and went back to bed. After a bit of channel surfing, I drifted off to a peaceful slumber for the next eight hours.

And the next day my husband was back to normal, talking about the weather!

Having stumbled upon this brilliant way of handling a fight by sheer accident, I’ve stuck to it all these years …

But of course there was this odd incident when I was overcome with so much anger that I tried a filmy style walkout late in the night. (We were staying in a very quiet and lonely neighborhood then)

I was sure my husband would follow me with a thousand apologies, but when it didn’t happen, I quickly backtracked to find him glowering at the door.

I got an earful for being so foolish and how I could have got mugged or raped or walked into so many such nasty situations.

Anyway, now both of us don’t waste our energies  yelling or screaming. And now we cannot afford to raise our voices in front of the kid. (Thanks to all those advice you get on child rearing, free or otherwise!)

So its clipped comments, curt nods and murderous looks for us. And after a bit we just carry on with our normal lives.

I think such small fights add spice to any marriage. Imagine if  we all had predictable, happy and peaceful conversations with our spouses all the time… It’d be like having plate after plate of syrupy jaangiri! Absolutely no spice!!!

And one of my favourite stories is about a good friend when she was a newly-wed.

She stormed out after a fight, stopped at a wine shop, got herself a bottle of vodka, went over to a friend’s place, stayed up cursing all men the whole night. This was before the mobile phone days. The next morning she returned home to find an anxious husband, who’d been worried sick all night and had been just about to call the cops. He was so relieved to see her safe & sound that they had a tearful reunion on the spot!