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Peter Pan at the pub
I see you’ve been giving advice to people and I really would appreciate some counsel from you. Over a year ago I married a girl of Indian descent, meaning she came here as a child. Meanwhile, I am a pukkah Australian, meaning my ancestors were from the first fleet. Now Auntyji, my wife is a spectacular lady and I still don’t understand why she chose to marry me in the first place. I have known her for four years and in that time she has worked hard to complete her post graduate degree and certifications, and has managed to do very well in a prestigious organisation. She is very hard working, intelligent and very attractive. Recently, we bought a new home and our house looks like it features in Vogue magazine because my wife has good taste. Now previously, my wife never had issues with me playing cricket and golf on the weekends, and if I wanted to see my friends at the pub. Recently though, I have noticed something and it worries me. We have nice neighbours and they invite me over for drinks, so I go there at least once a week. Sometimes I forget what time it is and come home late, like 1.30am. The last couple of times it happened Shaheen told me she did not like these late night sessions, but I said to her that I never tell her what to do, so she shouldn’t tell me that I can’t see the neighbours. So now I’ve noticed a change. While she does not say anything when I go to the neighbours and meet my friends at the pub and she is still her usual self, there is a certain look in her eyes. She does not ask me what I had for lunch, and often she gets her own dinner and does not ask me if I want something. Not only that, she has started going out and working late, and does not bother to let me know what she is doing. Sometimes, in the evenings by the time I go upstairs, she is already asleep. I don’t like any of this Auntyji, and don’t know how to solve this problem. I just want my beloved, loving wife again, the one who did not care if I spent hours with friends because she was busy studying. Can you tell me how to solve this please – I don’t want to lose Shaheen!
Well, there you go. You married above your station, and it looks like your wife married a Peter Pan. It appears to me that you want your fun and games in life – and your wife wants a hardworking, attentive husband who is more interested in her and family life than someone who goes drinking with friends and neighbours, and forgets about time. So, as happened with my friends Sheela and Shanu, it seems you married a woman who works hard at work and at home and keeps everything ticking along, but has a ingrate for a husband. If I guess correctly, you probably don’t lift a finger around the house because Shaheen takes care of it all. Yes, I have met superwomen like her before. So she puts a lot of effort into creating a family life, and you put the most effort into having the maximum amount of fun and games. So of course, Shaheen is peeved at you. Think about it from her point of view. She works hard at work and at home. She takes care of just about everything, while your priorities are cricket, golf and drinkies with the boys. So now that she is no longer distracted with her studies, she is probably wondering why she married you after all and what value you are adding to the relationship. There is an unfair and inequitable balance in the relationship, and intelligent Shaheen has this sussed out. Your time for having fun with friends and being a bachelor is over. You need to now focus on creating a balance in your home life. If you want to continue as you are, then by all means do so, but don’t be surprised if Shaheen decides you are not worth holding on to. If I were you, I would schedule a small break with Shaheen and negotiate the boundaries of the relationship. And it looks to me that you will need to give up some of your fun loving habits. Otherwise, you can have all that, but as a bachelor. Sheela and Shanu’s husbands will tell you the same thing – at the moment, the two of them have moved in together in a small ugly flat in Kirribilli; they eat pizzas and cup soup noodles for dinner, and have developed beer guts almost overnight. That will also be you, unless you do something about it. The price of marrying a very attractive, intelligent, hardworking and loving woman is that you get to give up your bachelor lifestyle. Can’t have both, buddy!
No time for dancing-shancing
I have a loving, wonderful gora husband who is cultured and well read. I am an Indian from Fiji and love my Bollywood movies. I particularly like all the old Bollywood films because when I watch them, the romance makes me feel alive. So almost every night after dinner, I get onto YouTube and watch old romantic songs. My husband does not mind, although I make sure the volume is not too high because I understand the high pitch of Lara Mangeshkar can be irksome for foreign ears. In any case, while I am listening to my music and relaxing while lost in my own happy world, my husband walks in the room – and this happens every single time – he starts dancing to the song in his ridiculous white man dancing style. These are not songs to which one dances! So when Nanda and Jeetendra are singing, “Humne jo dekhe sapne” from Paarivar, or Rajendra Kumar is singing “Baharon phool barsao,” you will agree that these romantic songs are not for dancing-shancing, right? It totally spoils the mood and I keep telling my husband not to do this, but he does not listen to me. Auntyji, I know this problem is so minor and does not feature on the same scale as other problems such a peace in the Middle East and child poverty, but by Vishnu, this is such an irritation for me that I am getting all cranky about it. Batao na aunty, main kya karoon?
Oh meri gulabo, meri chameli, mere roop ki rani, this is exactly what your nani and nana must have thought about when you told them that an achi Hindustani ladki like you (I understand that’s Fiji Hindi for girl) is marrying a gora. They must have thought, oh no, these gore log don’t really understand the culture-shulture and they won’t love you the same way a Hindustani ladka would. Of course, you would have though this was racist claptrap, but now you know what they would have meant.
In any case, the deed is done and now you live with a jahil who doesn’t appreciate the beauty of “Baharon phool barsao”. So here is your solution. Your pati dev dances because he has an audience. Stop looking at him and he will stop, because he is doing that for your benefit. Just don’t look at him when he walks in the room while you are listening to songs and there will be no naach, but there will be gaana. Your other solution is to perfect the art of a disdainful, contemptuous stare – the same stare that your ancestors would have given to the gore log who invaded their land generations ago. In fact, I’m surprised you don’t have this stare down to an art form. It’s time for you to learn this. Your other solution is also quite innovative in its approach, but equally effective. The next time your husband is listening to music, you need to muster up the most phaata awaaz and sing along to the songs, off-key, tunelessly and loudly. You will need to keep this up no matter how embarrassed you feel. If your husband asks you to stop, negotiate that if he won’t dance, you won’t sing! Simple, nah? See, these are the little tricks of marriage that make for a happy union. By the way, if you happen to be a good singer and can’t sing with a phaata gaala, continue to sing. A wife or husband who sings along to each and every song ultimately becomes really annoying because at the end of the day, you want to hear Mick Jagger’s version of ‘Satisfaction’, not your spouse’s.