This may be the last time that you will read something here about the husband. Let me put you at ease by informing you that we are not separating from each other for it is hard to part ways after one has found air conditioning compatibility. After years of sparring over the temperature of our room we have both made our peace with each other and settled for 20 degrees C. That is the cement that binds us.
What does not bind us however, is our differing views on dieting. The reason I will avoid writing about the husband again is because we both made the mistake of following a low carbohydrate, low protein diet together, the outcome of which was slightly unexpected.
The husband and I are not an overweight couple by any standard but we are vain by all standards. I have been on one diet or another my whole life but the husband isn’t one to follow grueling regimens that limit food intake.
Like any other married couple, we reserve the weekend for deep conversations of this nature:
Me: Do you think I have put on weight?
Husband (without so much as glancing in my direction): Not at all. You’re fine.
Me: Are you sure? I think I have gained a few pounds, I feel fat.
Husband (sounding irritated): I told you already you haven’t. Now relax.
At least once a month it is my turn to reciprocate when the husband sucks in all his breath and asks me if he has gained weight. The foundation of any relationship as we know is honesty. I tell him tell him he has. He surprises me each time by taking this news well and agreeing with me. I suggest we go on a diet together, mostly because misery loves company. He never succumbs. He has no regard for the effort I put into discovering new weight loss plans. He finds my low-calorie food unappetizing and speaks of my diets disparagingly.
Lately my soft nagging about his expanding midriff is getting to him for he has offered to go on a diet with me. His general stance is not of a person who is committed to weight loss but of a person who is doing a favour to his wife by sharing her penance with her.
Different shades of the husband have been revealed to me within three days of being on the diet.
Day 1: On the first day I serve him broccoli soup and rocket salad, both of which the husband seems to relish immensely. Now that his appetite is whetted, he looks towards the kitchen door expectantly even as he forks the last leafy bit into his mouth. “So what’s next?” he asks me.
“Nothing, this was it,” I inform him, avoiding eye contact.
He looks at me incredulously. “We are on a diet, remember?” I remind him.
He chews on this piece of information, in the absence of anything more substantial to chew on, gets up from the table and walks away from it, a slow despairing walk.
The next morning we both wake up feeling slimmer already.
Day 2: When we sit down to partake in our meal option for this night, there is this deep unspoken bond between us. The kind of bond that only two people on the same weight loss plan can share. This time, the husband is more receptive to the skimpiness of his meal and eats his baby spinach leaves without complaining. He spends the rest of the evening in contemplative silence. Any effort to start a conversation at my end is met with monosyllabic answers. Something tells me that he is sulking with me. He decides to pay attention instead to Arnab Goswami on television, to keep his mind off food. Goswami does not look very appetizing and this helps for I do not see the husband scavenging around the refrigerator that night.
When we wake up the next morning, he is still not talking to me.
Day 3: On the third evening, I have put together something a bit more wholesome on the table in order to entice him into speaking with me. I am required to talk to my staff about a matter that beckons my immediate attention in the kitchen and am unable to join the husband over dinner briefly.
By the time I resolve the issue and come back to keep his company at the table, he is done with his meal. By now I am famished and cannot not wait to sink my teeth into the tandoori chicken and the pomegranate salad that awaits me. Little do I know that what awaits me that night, are empty bowls instead. There is no chicken left on the table. “You ate all the chicken, there is nothing left for me to eat” I say to him in disbelief.
“I did not know there wasn’t more,” he smiles, trying to look innocent. “Don’t look at me like that, it was only chicken,” he adds.
“But you are on a diet remember? And that was half a chicken. Who eats half a chicken when they are on a diet? This is not Atkins where you can eat all the meat you want. You have to control your portions!” I tell him.
Turning my attention back to the table I lift the lid from the salad bowl only to see four pomegranate seeds and a single lettuce leaf floating away in balsamic dressing. By now I am ready to cry. “You even finished the salad? You ate up all my food,” I shout angrily. My chicken gone, my salad gone, I feel like the baby bear from Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The husband looks genuinely sorry but sorry isn’t going to fill my stomach.
I feel like punishing him. There ought to be a marital law against a spouse that eats up all the food on the table leaving nothing behind for his starving wife.
I get up from the dining table and reaching out for my laptop I begin to type furiously. The husband watches me type and smirks a telling smirk and says, “I know you are blogging about me. I don’t wish to be your muse from now on. Find something different to blog about”.
If only the man knew just how popular my blog has made him. If only he knew that people, after reading my semi-fictional accounts of him, now believe there is a never-seen-before human side to him. He is asking me to undo all of that. I am going to be a subservient wife from now on and hence shall refrain from writing about him.
I have also decided that I am taking him off from the diet from the next day.
He will be served buttered paranthas and paneer for dinner tomorrow night.