A suitable wife

A suitable wife


February 1, 2017

Karan Johar is making headlines yet again. This time for his memoir ‘Unsuitable Boy’, which perhaps aims to inform all those who have been living under a bed without ideas about him and Bollywood.

I haven’t read the book yet. I don’t know if I would anytime soon either, because others’ pillow whispers do not entice me.

However, the book’s title seduced me. If I were to write my memoir anytime, I could easily borrow from his title, because often times I’ve wondered if I’m a normal common wife or a weirdo. And the fact is I can’t subscribe to any one of the social definitions of a wife.

For instance, kitchen is my favourite place at home. Like all dutiful wives, I understand.


I love it spacious, open and inviting in all white, candle lit and smelling of pink roses at all times. How I love a book case, beside a huge glass window and me munching on cookies in PJs reading my fav authors slumped on the kitchen floor. The very thought turns me on. Seriously.

Well equipped, yes. All gadgets sleekly accommodated, please. A table with fresh flowers and birds-chirping music playing all-day long.

As for dishes, I love it all in porcelain. I’m fine with any cuisine. Thai, Indian, Chinese, Arabic, Italian… as long as it’s ready-to-eat and am served.

So…

My parents never considered it important to teach me kitchen skills and my mom-in-law never bothers. The husband has always been absolutely adjustable. He can survive on bananas and dates and make his own stuff. So I never bothered to care.

I hate planning meals in advance. Most often, I order food on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Eat out on Fridays. Cook on Saturdays, rest on Sundays and go instant on Mondays.

I had friends who took cookery classes before their wedding. It’s time I check on them to see how different is their married life from mine. And then I have elderly cousins, who advice me on a wife’s responsibilities about feeding her family.

Now, this gets me to the other so-called wifely duty – Maintaining relations. Calling up both families and asking upon their well-being at regular intervals. Parents and in-laws alone won’t suffice. Chacha, mama, mami, ammai, tintu, mintu, chiku… the whole bandwagon. All well? How are you all? Is your nose running still? Did aunty go for her massage? Is uncle’s gastro smelling bad… please!

Oh yes, and you need to know the aunt of your cousin’s mother-in-law’s third uncle’s wife. If you do not recognise the person, you had it. First they attempt helping you recollect. Can’t you remember, we had gone down north, along the road, by the paddy field, to a granny’s house for her fourth daughter’s third child’s naming ceremony. That time, there, one person came to you and spoke. How can you forget him? Such as big man he is, and you forgot him!

All the chinus and minus and unis and ponies, young and old – I love them all. And respect a few who deserve it. But communication I reserve to my convenience. For two reasons: 1) Not with everyone can I have a conversation beyond a limit without losing my sanity. 2) Therefore, if I happen to speak only to a select few then like wild fire the news spreads ‘Nisha calls them not us!’

So I play fair. Meet and greet and mind my step. And if you thought social media makes communication easier? That’s a circus at a different level. Emojies and a husband are the perfect partners to my rescue.

Well, so that gets me to the point. Am I a suitable wife?

I asked my girl. “Do you think mama is a suitable wife?” [I started explaining to her the context but she was aware of Karan Johar’s book already. My baby is growing up fast]

“Well, mama, no one can be perfectly suitable!”

Aawwe! my baby! I got up to hug her, when she said, “except for my papa, who is 10 on 10, always!”

Nisha Sanjeev

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