All Sundays Well That End Well!


Normally, Aditya spends his Sundays at home, a much-needed respite from his grueling MNC job that cruelly eats up his Saturdays too. He relaxes on the velvety sofa, watches television, calls up friends and relatives, indulges in internet surfing on his smartphone, and most importantly, helps his wife Karuna in the kitchen, preparing the choicest dishes to the liking of both of them and to their beloved teenaged daughter. He is a loyal and understanding husband/father, and so, on some Sunday evenings he does take out his family for a dinner or a movie or both.

 

That Sunday too has started quite well: a deliciously desi breakfast to start with; lounging around and loud chatting; pulling each other’s legs; watching the good, the bad and the ugly; daughter entertaining them with a brief session of karaoke singing; and the like. Everything has been normal till around noon when preparations need to be made for lunch.

 

As usual, on a Sunday, Aditya enters the kitchen at around 12,30 PM, takes out a quantity of rice on a strainer, washes well with a lot of tap water and keeps it ready in the proper container to be inserted into the pressure cooker. He notices another container with pulses immersed in water. He wants to ask Karuna if the dal were to be cooked along with the rice or separately. To save his trouble his wife enters the kitchen at that very moment.

 

Karuna takes out some vegetable pieces from the freeze and put those in the dal container. “Dal first or rice first? Or both together?” Aditya asks. “No, it’s channa dal (split chickpea lentils), it takes harder to boil than rice and so has to be cooked separately. If you want you can boil the rice first, no issues. I’ll take care of the special chicken dish later on.” Wanting to confirm it Aditya asks again, “So, I’ll put the rice first?” but, by that time, Karuna is gone to attend to their daughter.

 

Aditya occupies the sofa in heavenly comfort after taking off the cooker from the gas burner, his part of the work done. He gets absorbed watching a viral video that suddenly invades his mobile.

 

Suddenly he hears some commotion coming from the kitchen, as if Karuna is murmuring about something, unhappily. He takes out the headphones and calls out, “What’s up?”

“Come here immediately!” commands Karuna. Aditya is a bit dismayed by detecting some trace of anger in her tone. He enters the kitchen hesitantly.

“Who told you to cook the rice first? Couldn’t you see I prepared the dal container right in front of you! Are you deaf or blind or both?”

“Why? You only told me no issues whichever I do first! In fact, I asked you for confirmation, but you didn’t listen…!”

“I didn’t listen? Oh God! How you people pass the blame so easily! I told you very clearly to cook the dal first!”

Aditya is now slowly heating up even as the cooker is slowly cooling. “No! I heard you clearly! There’s no scope for an argument here!”

“Who the hell is arguing here, huh? You deny and you start an argument! Fact is you people never take your wives seriously, you never listen to them and ignore them most of the time! Your office is your heaven, you actually live there and listen to everyone there only! We’re just affordable ornaments!”

The references to ‘you people’ and ‘office’ hit Aditya very hard, even though every quarrel, on Sundays or not, follows that trend faithfully. “For heaven’s sake! Don’t please make it again a ‘us and them’ issue! It doesn’t really matter if rice is cooked first or dal.”

“Don’t try to sermonize me! Who is bringing up the ‘us and them’ now? In your mother’s home you accept your mother as the most powerful personality and in your own home…!”

 

Aditya rushes out of the kitchen at that moment. He cannot tolerate when it incorrigibly comes to ‘your people’ and ‘my people’. Now the quarrel has gained enough momentum. The argumentative dialogues have now assumed diabolic proportions amounting to plain shouting by both the affected parties The shouting is accompanied by excited movements across the house, from room to room and as the it rises to a crescendo, their daughter bolts herself in the guest room, insulating herself one more time from the routine hassles.

 

Feeling the dryness inside his throat getting intense and his heartbeats on the up Aditya decides to let it go, not bothering about who has won or lost the debate. However, he’s very much pained by Karuna’s dictum, a new addition to the normal quarrels, that ‘you’re not worthy at all! I’ve decided! My sacrifices all useless and gone! From today, I’ll do nothing! I’m not your slave, damn you! Listen, you can no longer sleep in my bed. I can’t share the same bed with you, you ungrateful creep!”

 

The rant goes on for one more hour. And then quiet! Both parties pained and extremely exhausted. Aditya wants to demonstrate his terrible hurt by lying like a dead man with eyes wide open on the sofa. Unfortunately, Karuna has no time to see any of that. He sometimes wonders if the words 'marital' and 'martial' should better get merged; because, he justifies within, both words are ominously similar both in spelling and in relationships, be it in conjugal, bilateral or multilateral and in wars too. 

 

The Sunday lunch that day becomes a super flop with all three members munching something or the other, alone and aloof; no chicken dish or whatever. Aditya is determined to maintain his gloom; Karuna is determined to sleep on without cooking anything; and their daughter is determined to order dinner from Zomato.

 

As the gloom continues unabated till the nightfall, with his daughter’s help Aditya manages a decent dinner; Karuna must have got it too, he assumes. Their daughter in the meantime has immersed herself in a movie streaming online. Aditya now prepares to sleep out the night on the sofa, arranging the cushions to the best of his comforts. He must respect the wishes of his wife, he decides; however, his gloom is not going to end ever.

 

Karuna comes out of the bedroom to finish the kitchen chores and notices Aditya adjusting the sofa with disdainful care and gloomy velocity.

“Hey! What are you doing?” Karuna yells.

“What the shit! You’ve just divorced me, cannot share your bed. So, where the hell should I sleep!”

“No! you can’t sleep here! Don’t dare spoiling my sofa with your dirty breaths! Just go inside and sleep there! Go! Now!”

 

Aditya doesn’t ever want to disturb their neighbors with earthy parleys of shrieks in these unearthly hours. So, he obeys meekly; subduing an overpowering urge to lounge out still with his smartphone plugged in his earholes, a sight that never fails to irritate Karuna.

 

Before lying down on their traditional conjugal bed Aditya smiles sardonically, smirks grimly and tilts his head sideways, very much like what Titus Welliver does regularly in his role as detective Bosch, as if Aditya knew this’d be the predictable end through his investigative cum argumentative acumen. “No! I’m not a misogynist, always trying to put the blame on the wife! Quarrels are very normal, in fact the lack of it is abnormal. Both parties are equally responsible for whatever happens between them. Love is the permanent bond that lasts forever in this love or arranged partnership,” he reassures himself.

 

Karuna joins him after finishing her daily routine. Her familiar body fragrance soothes him as always. Both of them sleep peacefully.

 

(This short fiction is sort of a prelude to a new piece in these pages: “Amazon Web Series Bosch: The Lovable Honest LAPD Detective!” Coming Soon!)

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