“Dad, mommy will sit on that chair, can you please occupy the one on her right?” Said my nine years old son. I look at him as if he has grown two heads, “That chair is for the head of the family” I tell him.”I am quite aware of the fact that the chair is reserved for the head of the family and so I told you to not sit there and leave it for mom” he argues. If I was confused earlier I am beyond confused now, what’s wrong with my son, doesn’t he know that the head of the family is always the eldest male, which makes me belong on that chair. “Rakesh is the meal ready?” my wife yells from inside the room. What meal is she talking about I felt like yelling at her, what is happening? Just then my wife chose to walk into the dining room with her hair tied in a bun, oh! How pretty she looked with the makeup on hold on, why is she wearing trousers? That is something one will wear to office, isn’t it? When did she start working? Before I could voice my doubts and ask them what kind of prank is this, she gives me a disapproving nod as she says,” Did you burn the food even today? Your cooking lessons are feeding on my pocket Rakesh and we have to order food from outside every day, if this remains the case our child might fall ill!” “Exactly” I scream at her,” That is your job don’t you see? Men are not meant to be in the kitchen, what the hell is wrong with everyone here, has everybody lost sense?” I breathe out. I hear a smack and the next thing I know is my left cheek stings, did she just slap me in front of my kid? I think to myself. “You never talk to me like that; I repeat you. Never. Talk. To. Me. Like. That.” She warned and turned on her heel, her nostrils flaring she walked into our room.
I shake my head trying to make sense out of everything, rubbing my cheek I walk into the kitchen and open the drawer, the one below the microwave. I take out the menu cards of the different restaurants; my stomach was grumbling I need to heed that call first. As I feel my pocket for my mobile phone, I am surprised to find it empty, I know better than to call and ask my wife about my mobile’s whereabouts. I use the land line to order the food. I should keep the money ready that will save me time I think as I make my way to my room and straight to my wardrobe where I usually leave my wallet and cell phone in the drawer. I shuffle things up-down, left-right but nothing absolutely nothing there! I don’t find either of those. I turn to my wife who was lying on bed with an eye mask on, “Have you seen my wallet?” I ask her. She gets up with a jolt and looks at me like she is amused, okay has my nose grown an inch or two? I touch to feel it. Nope it hasn’t perfectly normal it is. I wait for her to speak and I am not disappointed when she speaks, “Maybe it will be in one of those kitchen cabinets where you hide your savings.” She suggests as she gets back to her task at hand ‘relaxing’ that is. Kitchen cabinets! She has got to be kidding me nevertheless I make my way to the kitchen, true to her words and I am not a least bit surprised to find some money in one of those cabinets bundled in a plastic bag kept in the grocery box! I start counting 100, 200, 300 a 1000/- in total, I am falling short I need 500 rupees more.
In the meantime the door bell rings signaling the arrival of the delivery boy, I am formulating ideas on how I can ask for money from my wife without sounding like a jerk. Lost in my thoughts I walk out and see my wife receiving the order and paying the bill, ashamed I walk to her and take things from her hands. In a meek voice I tell her “I am sorry” as I hand her the one thousand rupees. Perplexed she looks at me, “Since when did you start paying the restaurant bills?” she said adding a laugh. “Now if you can waste little time and serve food, I am hungry and tired, I have a presentation tomorrow so need to sleep early.” She orders. With a nod I get to work, why is she behaving like I do? We eat dinner in silence except for our child’s small talk with his mom explaining his day at school. After cleaning the dishes (courtesy: my wife’s disappearance from the kitchen) I walk into our room to find her snoring already! This is what I get after a tiresome and a disastrous day? “Baby” I call to her, slowly planting a kiss on her forehead, she stirs a little and dismisses me saying “Not today, I am tired”.” Enough is enough” I yell, “You say you are tired when I am the one working all day”. Ice cold water is splashed on my face, I wake up breathing hard. “Aren’t you getting late for your office?” my wife asked me. Oh! So it was just a dream, no wait a nightmare to be precise. Overwhelmed by my discovery I pull my wife towards me and kiss her like there is no tomorrow, I thank her in between the kisses.