Scenes From A Marriage – II

Marriage – Rule No. 2

If you’ve declared yourself to be a strong and independent woman, don’t go looking for help from your husband

Some time back, I had a heated exchange with my part time cook…She was rude to my daughter which made me go ballistic…I asked her to leave immediately…She got angry and started screaming…I got angry and started screaming…After I ‘threw’ her out, I went to my husband and said:

Me: Why the hell didn’t you intervene?

Husband: Because it was between the two of you

Me: So, it was OK for her to be rude to M?

Husband: I didn’t say that

Me: Aren’t you my husband? Aren’t you supposed to support and protect me?

Husband: Support, yes…Protect, no…I support your decision to fire her but why do I need to protect you? For 9 years you’ve been telling me that men and women are equal and that women can take care of themselves, so where does this business of protecting you come from?

Me: So, if she had hit me, you would have just stood back and watched?

Husband: Yup, I love good catfights – MEOW!

E-books

Amazon reports that sales of e-books have surpassed sales of hardcovers. Does this mean e-books have reached the mass adoption phase and printed books are on their way out? Or does this mean that hardcovers are overpriced and people who don’t want to wait for paperback versions are switching to e-books?

What is the option for publishers? Should they just get rid of hardcovers or should they reduce prices to stay afloat?

Will e-books destroy the publishing industry?

Scenes From A Marriage: A Cautionary Tale

Marriage – Rule No. 1

Don’t go fishing for compliments as it may backfire on you

Me: Do you love me?

Husband: Hmmmm

Me: Do you?

Husband: Oof! Don’t ask me such silly questions

Me: If you had many wives would I be your favourite?

Husband: I guess, but since right now you’re the only one I’ve got, you’re also my least favourite

The Shopping Conundrum

To go shopping or not to go shopping with your spouse, that is the question…Is it better to suffer the barrage of questions that you can never answer correctly or say what you think thus running the risk of ending your marriage? If you can answer this question correctly, then you have mastered the art of marriage…

As you may or may not know, I hate shopping with all my heart…Others may have other bones to pick with their spouses, but mine is going shopping with my husband especially for electronics…To be fair, he usually goes alone but sometimes he wants to make it a family outing and I being a part of the family have to go along…The logic here is “I like shopping for electronics…I like spending time with you and M…Let me combine the two and have twice the fun in half the time…” This ‘collaborative’ form of shopping is the most virulent form as far as I am concerned…

A few months ago, my husband decided to upgrade our TV…Fine…I like nice TVs but since the final decision didn’t depend on my opinion, I decided to keep quiet…Weeks of research went by and finally he managed to zero in on a brand and model…One fine Saturday morning he said “Let’s go to XYZ and buy the TV…We’ll have lunch there (which means I have to go along)…” So off we went…After reaching the store, we found out that the model my husband had zeroed in on was out of production…

A few more weeks of intense research went by…Another Saturday and the same statement…All of us trouped back to XYZ…This time (thankfully) the model he had chosen was still in production…The buying process started off with an innocuous “Take a look at it…What do you think?” What did I think? Too expensive…I meekly voiced my opinion…His face clouded up…”You are always thinking about money…What do you think of the picture quality?” Good, in fact fabulous but do we really need to buy such a big one given that M is the one who watches it most of the time? Again, the stupid me voiced my opinion (I never learn)…”TVs are not bought every day…We need to think of the time when we’ll get to watch movies on it…” OK, your money, your decision…The TV was bought…

A couple of days later, the grand purchase was delivered and installed (my husband had measured and marked the spot on the wall) …He comes back from office and looks at it…

“Are you sure they’ve installed it where I put the marks?”

“Yes, go and take a closer look…The hooks are on the marks you made…”

“It looks a bit crooked…You know what, I should have bought the 45″ one and not the 42″…Why do I even listen to you…”

“But you had decided on the 42″ one before we went to the store…I wanted a smaller one…How is it my fault?”

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Oh, how I wish I were that girl but unfortunately I don’t have the guts to go and get a tattoo…Anyway, this is not about me but about the book by Stieg Larsson which is the first volume of the Millennium trilogy that consists of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest…I just finished it and I must say, it is a real page turner…

Disgraced financial journalist, publisher and co-owner of the independent magazine Millennium, Mikael Blomqvist is hired by corporate honcho Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of his great-niece Harriet 40 years ago… Henrik suspects that someone in his large and powerful family has murdered the girl and wants Mikael to use all his research capabilities to do what the police couldn’t – find out what happened…

Soon after starting the investigation, Mikael realizes that Harriet’s disappearance is not an isolated event, but rather a part of a web of gruesome murders…He hires Lisbeth Salander, a young emotionally troubled computer hacker and social misfit with a vindictive streak,  to help him out…

What I found most interesting was the fact that the plot was set in Sweden and not New York, London or Paris as is usually the case…It is not just a crime and revenge novel, but a commentary on modern Swedish society as well…The country and its people are not as sterile or progressive as we are made to think – financial corruption and mismanagement, abuse of children and women, chauvinism, misogyny, racist violence against immigrants, casual sex (see, Sweden is not all bad) and anti-Semitism are all commonplace and hidden from foreigners…

Admittedly, the book starts off a bit slowly (Larsson takes a long time to set things up) but picks up once Mikael reaches the Vangar compound…The only problem I had with it was the relationship which develops between Mikael and Lisbeth…It was typical – a young girl falls in love with her much older boss…Why did Larsson have to change her? Why couldn’t she have remained the hard vindictive woman she had become due to her life experiences? Are all women ultimately fragile and vulnerable?

Many may find it hard to reconcile Larsson’s feminist agenda and male fantasy coursing through the book and others may find it righteous, but I found it interesting and worth my money…Sadly, he is not around to answer his critics and explain his politics or see the buzz he has created…The publishers of the English version should have stuck to the book’s original and stronger Swedish title, Men Who Hated Women

My Sins Against Gender Stereotypes

IHM, thanks for tagging me…The tag says “list at least ten things you have ever wanted or done which your gender is not supposed to.” Here is my list…

  1. As a kid, I was called a ‘tom boy’…Why? Because I loved climbing trees, playing cricket and wearing jeans…I hated those dreaded things called midis and frocks (I still do)
  2. I hated playing with dolls
  3. I love cars…I earned money by washing and polishing my father’s…I got my license as soon as I turned 16 (Australia)…Although I love cars, I don’t much like driving now…I think all women should learn how to drive so that they can be independent
  4. My greatest wish is to get a tattoo although I’m a bit scared of actually getting one because I’ve heard it hurts like hell…I love watching ‘Miami Ink’ and ‘LA Ink’ on Discovery Travel & Living
  5. I used to enjoy drinking Old Monk and wine (now I’m off alcohol)…I don’t know why people think that only morally corrupt women drink and smoke
  6. I’ve lived alone in Delhi…My idiotic neighbour used to complain to my mom  that I threw mixed sex parties and served alcohol
  7. Cooking is not my forte – neither do I do it well nor do I like it…I can’t make chappatis so we end up having rice or store bought frozen ones…For me, ironing is worse than cooking
  8. When I was in college, I learned to ride a bike…My friend (girl) and I had a great time going around DU scandalizing everyone
  9. I absolutely DETEST jewellery…My husband loves this about me
  10. I don’t know how to wear a saree properly…The last time I wore one was 3 years ago…

Edited to add:

11. I didn’t change my last name after marriage…My daughter has my last name as her middle name…

Some Bizarre Conversations

Well, I just got back from a 5 day holiday in Bali – it was great and most of all the people were great…

Balinese people are somewhat in awe of Indian Hindus – they consider India to be the mother country…One day, we hired a car to go sight seeing…The driver, like all Balinese, loved chatting…The following is a conversation he had with my husband…

Driver: So, Mr. A, do you have only one daughter?

Husband: Yes

Driver: Do you have more wives or are you planning to get more wives?

Husband: W-what? Why? No…One is more than enough for me

Driver: Well, you don’t have a son and a man needs a son to carry on his name…In Bali, if we don’t have children or sons with our first wife, we marry again and again till we have at least one son…It’s a Hindu custom here…I thought it was the same in India

Husband: It may have been at some point but now it is illegal to have more than one wife at a time…I’m very happy that I have a daughter and don’t crave for a son…In fact, my brother also has one daughter so our family name will die with us

Driver: W-what? And you don’t care?

Husband: Nope, not one bit

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This may be politically incorrect, but at times I’m embarrassed to be an Indian…On the flight back from Bali, I overheard an Indian lady talking to the steward

Lady: Since my son didn’t eat his food, can you pack it for us?

Steward: Well, Madam, we don’t usually pack the main meal…You are most welcome to take the fruit drink and cookies

Lady: But, we paid for his food so we have the right to take it with us

Steward: I understand, but we don’t pack left overs

Lady (loudly): If you don’t pack, I’ll complain to your superiors

This went on for some time and finally, the steward prevailed…