Strangers in the Night

My husband shares his day with me, and he really cares about mine. I’m home sooner than him, and that’s what he does first thing he enters home. It’s usually around 7 and he wants to know about my day.

What does he do, then, besides, ‘Hi, honey, how was your day?’

He doesn’t actually call me honey. We don’t call each other anything like that. Well, I do, sometimes. I am careful with him because he doesn’t like it much.

He doesn’t like being called ‘darling?’

Yes, or baby, or sugar, or honey, or anything.

You are with him again, because?

That’s not the point. Marrying him was supposed to be easy, and also the more responsible thing to do. There was no real reason I could turn him down. Family friends, comfortable lives. I tried grand passion before. It hurt like a bitch. But enough of my life. How are you an outrageous person?

I ask uncomfortable questions.

Not really, if you meant uncomfortable by these questions you asked me…

You aren’t uncomfortable?

Do I look uncomfortable?

I get it. The coolly lighting cigarette bit. Tad overdone. You don’t have to re-enact a 60s scene for me to get that the questions didn’t faze you.

How interesting that you chose the 60s.

Not really, we all watch Mad Men. Okay. Don’t say it, your husband doesn’t.

Yes. He doesn’t get it. And he’s busy. Making a living so I can live comfortably. I will not fault him for not liking the TV shows I like. And you didn’t answer my question. Besides, it’s getting to be 8. I will need to leave by 8.30 once the traffic eases. U B City looks gorgeous in this light. Otherwise, it’s quite a monstrosity, no?

I don’t know. I somehow like the whole opulence and cherubs hanging down ceilings. To answer your question though, I light fires in my car when I am stuck in a traffic jam. That good enough for you?

Pyromania? And in a car? That could have serious repercussions and I don’t see any scars.  But if you truly are one, it’s possible I might have a job for you.

What? You want to burn your husband?

Jesus. Not at all. Just this someone else I know. But no, you are still not answering my question.

No? I am unlike anyone I know.

Honey, that’s what the entire world thinks about itself. If anything, a thought like that only makes you more common.

What do you want me to say? I am very good in bed. Isn’t that what this is about?

No, not at all. Sex is the easiest of things. Being good in bed is tediously simple. All you need to do is be attentive and curb your selfishness. And hopefully, smell good while you are at it.

Okay, how about if I tell you I am scarred?

Aren’t we all?

You read too much Kafka. That’s not the point. I have issues. Health issues.

Like?

Lupus.

Ah. So you are on meds?

Naturally, for lupus. I’m surprised you even know about it. Not many do. And…

Depression?

Yes.

Are you anxious all the time?

You could say that I have my days.

How bad is it?

It’s in remission now. That’s what they said.

How bad does it get?

On worse days, I cannot function at all. I am holed up in my room. I make Maggi for myself and throw up half of it. This is when the flare-ups used to happen.

Fuck. Don’t you have a cook?

No. I eat out mostly. I cannot keep a schedule so arranging things with a cook would get tedious. I also travel a lot.

I can see that. And? How do you travel if you have lupus?

I just do. There’s nothing to keep me in Bangalore anyway. And I have mood disorders. You might as well get to know about it now. Frustration, angst, depression, paranoia. It doesn’t help that I love my job and I must be the best at it. At least in my company. They gave me the Best Employee award last quarter.

Okay. Now it all ties in. Fairly uncommon though. I do have women friends with lupus, but men?

It’s genetic.

That’s unfortunate. Our parents always find a way to fuck us over, no?

So yes, now you know the sordid tale of why a 35-year-old, clearly intelligent man is unable to find a wife. And why I chose OKCupid instead of shaadi.com.

So you did try shaadi.com?

That and second shaadi or whatever.

You aren’t missing much. Marriage is really not all that it’s cut out to be.

So speaketh the great defender of the institution. A while ago, you wouldn’t let me show you how ridiculous your marriage was.

You forget, you found me on OKC in the first place. I know how ridiculous my marriage is. I get everything out of it except excitement.

So how many men have you slept with outside your marriage?

Jesus. This is not about sex.

Then?

Do you know how long it’s been since I spoke to someone and connected so easily? The Mad Men reference, the Kafka, hell, even the sharing of your illness.

So you are just a bored housewife?

I am hardly a housewife.

In a manner of speaking only. There’s no need to cross your legs. It’s not cricket to cross your legs and show me thigh when you keep insisting this isn’t about sex.

You know, I find this kind of arrogance in a man very attractive. I didn’t cross my legs because I was miffed. I crossed my legs so I could sit up straighter.

So what next, then? You know, I do find you attractive. Not conventional looking, I will grant you that. The weight might take getting used to.

Your insults, honey, I will never get used to. We are not going to be sleeping together.

Somehow every time a woman says that to me, I feel, I must correct her ignorance.

And how many women have undergone your correctional, then?

How would that matter if it’s not about sex? No, not many. The mind is willing but the flesh…

Flare up?

All the fucking time. And remission doesn’t mean anything, really.

I’m really sorry. It’s quite terrible to live with this, I know.

How would you know?

A tale for another day?

Suit yourself. So what is it then? Are we going to be lovers, friends, friends with benefits, what?

I don’t know. I do know I could get used to speaking to you everyday.

Conversation, like marriage, is overrated. We can speak this easily today because we only just met an hour back and have exchanged a few emails and what, four texts? A few conversations, more sharing, and we’ll be bored of each other. Unless we have sex. Then it will take a little longer to be bored by each other.

That’s true. It’s my firm belief that everything has a shelf-life anyway.

What about your marriage then?

O why do you go on about my marriage?

Fine, I won’t, but can I at least kiss you?

Well, why don’t we settle the bill and you could walk me to my car?

That doesn’t answer the question.

No, it really doesn’t, does it?

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About Bhumika's Boudoir

I love to laugh, and end up being a part of high drama and stormy emotion even when I don't pursue it. Being creative, and communicating with people get me going. I enjoy all the good things in life especially those that are slightly risque, and apologise little, if ever, for all that I do. Literature is a passion and so is music.
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13 Responses to Strangers in the Night

  1. Prashila says:

    Ooh lala! fabulous again. That ending left open in the air, super. Again, one of those pieces, I will keep coming back to. So much to savor, so much to love.
    But, this.
    No? I am unlike anyone I know.
    Honey, that’s what the entire world thinks about itself. If anything, a thought like that only makes you more common.

    Simply WOW!

    Like

  2. Prashila says:

    Read again. It’s amazing how you manage to make it so witty, and so poignant, and funny, and sad, and yet somehow hopeful. Keep writing, please.

    Like

  3. Nanditha Guruswamy says:

    A great piece, Bhumika. Well written, enjoyed reading it 🙂

    Like

  4. Seriously? says:

    I truthfully, don’t even know why I read this. Some sadistic streak inside of me I guess.
    Even before clicking I knew how crap it was going to be, and obviously I wasn’t let down.

    You and your sycophantic crew make me want to throw up.
    Please, please get a grip.

    Like

  5. Marvin Grey says:

    Have I ever told you, that the first time I read a post on your blog, it was too honest that it made me feel uncomfortable? But I read on because something about the writing and the author wouldn’t let go.

    This post, the first time around, I didn’t understand. So I didn’t comment. Like I haven’t on many of your poems. My mind can’t wrap around those. But there are others, I can’t get over. I will never forget. Like when I was here looking for a quote from one your blogs when I thought I was going through a heartbreak. I couldn’t remember the words. Turned out to be 4 years old! I remembered how it made me feel, the first time I read it. Doesn’t sycophancy have a motive? To get something back in return. Over the years, I have grown to love you as a writer and friend. Most things I need, your mom cooks.

    By the way, like Prashila, I read it again. I thought, may be it was not a good post. That’s why I couldn’t understand. But this time I did. Funny, sad and punchy at the end. Seriously(?), I wouldn’t read this if I thought it was crap. It wouldn’t be for me. Love you writing Bhumika. Never stop.

    Like

    • Ah. Such a lovely thing to do. Coming to my rescue like this. (Though you needn’t have.) And saying all these marvellous things which I know are true because you gave me proof. 🙂 Thank you, thank you, thank you. It means such a lot. I am experimenting a lot with fiction these days to take a break from work-related writing. And when I feel I like a piece enough I share it here. It’s a very vulnerable thing for me to do. This, even when I run a writing workshop! And it’s an absolute ice-candy in Cubbon Park sort of a delight when people like it and comment. So thank you.

      Like

  6. Srikant says:

    Like others, I went back to reading it twice. What appeared to be a conversation between 2 bitchy women, turned out to be a passionate love-talk. I liked the intensity… easily one of your best!

    Like

  7. pinksocks says:

    That’s a beautifully written piece. Absolutely stunning.
    My fav line was “Our parents always find a way to fuck us over, no?” I shall never forget this one.
    Coz mine are doing this to me time and again. Phew.
    That rant for some other time.
    Stay blessed.

    Like

    • Hello, pinksocks, welcome to the boudoir. 🙂 And thank you so much. If someone fucks your life more than once, it’s time to quit the relationship no matter what it is, I’ve learn this the hard way. Suffering is fun and heroic only in fiction. Hugs.

      Like

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