My Experiments With Marital Independence

orange shirtAll the consultants of our hospital gather every afternoon in the doctor’s lounge and eat lunch together in a convivial atmosphere, without – incredible though it may sound – trying to stab or strangulate each other. We have many fruitful discussions on many important matters such as Kejriwal’s latest U-turn, Modi’s latest speech on the coming achche din, the likelihood of Preity Zinta being able to land a husband for herself, and so on.

An important fact to emerge from these daily discussions is that every single male consultant in our hospital is absolutely petrified of his wife. For instance, our spinal surgeon who has 32 sweet teeth once consumed a kilo of laddoos on the occasion of someone’s birthday, and afterwards literally pleaded with tears in his eyes with the rest of us to help him finish his tiffin. His terror of the stony look his wife would give him on taking home an uneaten tiffin was so great, that we took pity on him and helped him dump his tiffin into the garbage bin.

Whether a consultant’s wife is a doctor, a non-medico professional or a homemaker does not seem to make any difference to the amount of terror she inspires in her husband’s breast (some studies have claimed that men married to gynaecologists are more terrified than the rest of men, but these results are yet to be confirmed by rigorous case-control studies). Each man of us agrees that none of us is man enough to buy even a shoelace without his wife’s approval.

One day though, I was feeling particularly suicidal, and I declared that henceforth I would buy my own stuff for myself. It took 10 minutes for the uproarious laughter to settle down. I remained firm however, and swore a mighty oath that the same day I was going to go to the nearby mall and buy a shirt for myself – without being supervised by my wife. The neurosurgeon said that he hoped that my life insurance premiums had been paid for this year.

Straight after work, I drove to that mall. I’ve always fancied myself in an orange shirt, but my wife believes that I look like a particularly dumb fruit in such a shirt. Committed to be brave, I strode full of purpose to the Arrow store and brought an orange shirt for myself and drove home with it.

About the time we were preparing to retire for the night, I casually said to my wife:

“Uh, I went to the mall today.”

“Oh?” She said, her eyes on her laptop.

“Yeah. And I bought a shirt for myself.” Casually, like it was what an adult man was supposed to do – buy his own stuff.

“Oh?” Her eyes were still on the laptop, but her voice was laced with an ominous tinge.

“Yeah. I thought why bother you for these petty things. It’s foolish of me to drag you around to buy stuff for me. After all, it’s no big deal for an adult man to buy stuff for himself, ain’t it?”

Another ominous “Oh?”, followed by an ominous silence.

Now that I was standing right at the edge of the precipice, I decided to take the plunge.

“Shall I show you the shirt?”

A sweet smile this time. “Of course. My husband’s badge of independence.”

I unpacked the shirt and put it on

“What do you think?”

“Ah! Orange!” The same sweet smile.

“You like it?”

“The important thing is that you like it.” She put away the laptop and lay down in bed.

“You don’t like it?”

“Oh it’s fine.”

“Should I wear it to work tomorrow?”

“Of course. These days patients like their doctors to be attired a little cheerfully”

My heart sank. From the time of the Cro-Magnon man, patients have never liked their doctors to dress cheerfully. People want their doctors to be dignified, dull, grumpy and dressed as conservatively as possible.

“You think it’s a little too bright?” I asked

“No, no. It’s quite okay for you to experiment with your dress.”

“So you approve of the shirt, eh?”

“I thought you had decided to be independent in buying your stuff from now on? Adult men shouldn’t need their wives’ approval.”

The upshot of the whole thing was that I accompanied my wife to the mall the next evening and exchanged that damned orange shirt for a sober white one. And we also bought two suits for her. Needless to say, I was the butt of jokes in our doctors’ lounge for the next week. What the hell. Maybe I should start with the small things first – like starting with buying my underwear for myself

I have always been a great believer. I've flitted from one belief to another, from religion to atheism and from one philosophy to another, until I finally settled on J. Krishnamurti whose philosophy is that there is no philosophy. So now I firmly believe that there is nothing to believe. Now such a belief would, I believe, have been considered dangerous to society if the authorities had believed me to be of any consequence. No man of consequence they believe would waste his time on the pursuit of blogging!

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21 comments on “My Experiments With Marital Independence
  1. Reblogged this on Vatsal S. A. Shah and commented:
    Great read and awesome insight!!
    Nice to be following the author on twitter too.

  2. Dhwaney says:

    A marriage is the union of two people of equal status. The partners complement each other as much as they supplement each other. Relationships no matter what their nature can only be successful and long running if both partners are equal. As J.K rightly said, “we can have a decent society only when individuals, you and I, are not seeking power in any direction, whether through wealth, through relationship, or through an idea.” There is no need to dominate the other. Each person has strengths and weaknesses. To love someone is to celebrate their strengths and accept them weaknesses and all. that’s my two cents worth🙂

    • Every equal relationship has one person who is more equal than the other

      • Dhwaney says:

        Of course!!! But in different matters… for instance, in our house, he is more equal when it comes to earning, investing saving I am a little more equal when it comes to spending!!! He is more equal when it comes to complaining and I am more equal when it comes to ignoring the rant!😉

    • Raju says:

      in real world, there are no equal people except in mirror

  3. Mike says:

    heh…well i was always fiercely independent – fell in love with a woman who i admired for her fiercely independent lifestyle & got married – she tried to control me, I refused…..I asked for a divorce and she took me to the cleaners……now it’s been 5 years since i lost half of everything i owned…….was it worth it?

    Absolutely.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    We women have clear ideas about how the man should be dressed and we don’t accept any change which we are not comfortable, be it color or style. Sorry, that is kind of territorial for us.

    Then what will you do if you send the husband to the shop to buy a black trouser and they come back home carrying a navy blue trouser saying it is black; when they order black trousers online by themselves and some sort of bluish trouser comes in the courier…experience makes the women more cautious of letting men be independent in such important matters ( read above for importance)

    • men like me learn the hard way that there are basically only three types of men:
      1) Men dependant on their mothers (unmarried men)
      2) Men dependent on their wives (married men)
      3) independent men (extinct)

  5. arahan says:

    Have followed your tweets this is the first time I read your blog .. Brilliant

  6. And that is the foremost and the only reason i choose to remain single and uncommitted untill death. My freedom to do what i want, how i want, where i want, when i want is more important than any control freak commitment or relationship ever.

  7. I would prefer to remain single and commitment free for all my life than to get stuck up in a shit argument as to what clothes to buy.

    My freedom is more important than to be controlled by a person who wants you to eat, sleep, dress, work or go as far as breathe air the way they want to. No way there is anybody to control me or my choices.

  8. ajay thakwani says:

    Hilarious!! Sir, I have few copied lines for you… A man, who surrenders when he’s wrong, is honest. A man who surrenders when not sure, is wise. A man who surrenders even if he’s right, is a husband (The Bad Doctor) Yours truly Bad Mulga Sent from my Xiaomi

  9. Kudos on your attempt at exercising freedom! Always better to give-in for peace and harmony.

  10. DI says:

    Absolutely hilarious! Had to leave a comment when I realized that you were good with words, even beyond the 140 characters I’m used to seeing. Cheers, and keep up the good stuff!

  11. Some Curdled Milk says:

    I agree with what you said a couple comments up-that one person in a relationship is always more equal than the other. Your wife apparently found your shirt too flashy, and I concede she decides most clothing matters. If you have used this incident as generally representative of you entire relationship dynamic, I would say there’s an extreme power imbalance that needs to be immediately addressed (like when a celebrity dates a fan). Do you feel suffocated? As a singular entity, or do you feel representative of most men? Are you aching for dominance or do you want her to validate you somehow?
    If this was one instance of many, including ones where you overrule her opinion, then I fail to see the big deal. Everyone eventually surrenders to someone, be it wife, husband, mother, father, man or woman.

  12. Tanmay L says:

    Bachelorhood lookin’ more and more attractive.

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