Musings

Husbands who starve you

“I’m so fed up of you, that I’m going to title my next post ‘Husbands who starve you’!”, I hissed angrily trying to keep my voice low and still growl at him at the airport.

He gave me a lopsided grin. “And you think anyone will believe you?!”

I saw more red. He was referring to my expanding girth. And as always he was leaving no chance to rub in the fact that he had managed to shed off a dozen kilos on my prescribed diet, while I had miserably flopped.

But that overconfident comment of his burnt my fuse. My side of the story had to be told. And now.

We were about to be engaged. The ceremony was to be in Patna. He boarded the train from Sevagram.  While I was to board the same train from Nagpur where I worked then.

It was hardly a month since I had met him and things were really awkward between us. We were still in the process of discovering each other. And the thought whether I had made a mistake by agreeing to this alliance occurred far too frequently for comfort.

I boarded the compartment of Sanghamitra Express at 11 am at Nagpur expecting a warm welcome from him. And the first thing he said was “Today we have no chance of getting any lunch on the train!” My worst fears had come true. What a disastrous decision I had taken by agreeing to marry this man! Did I still have a remote chance of calling off this engagement?

As a kid some of most favourite moments have been discovering India with my parents.  Travel was a regular feature of all our summer vacations. And the best memories were of the food from all the railway stations. My father would invariably get off at each platform, hunt for the most delectable kachoris or hot aaloo pooris. And we would munch our way through the journeys sampling the cuisine of each region. His penchant of getting off the train would keep us kids on our toes. Had he got on the train before it started moving? Or did he get left behind on the platform in his quest for crisp bhajiyas? He always got on the train on time, and he never returned empty handed. And we dared not say we didn’t want to eat. Or we would have got an earful of how he had hurried to get us something nice and we didn’t value it.

And now, I was going to get married to a man who said he would take me hungry from Nagpur to Patna! I wasn’t that crazy! Why didn’t my Dad find me someone with his love for food and travel?

Apparently the pantry car guys had taken lunch orders before the train reached Nagpur and so Mr Right (now looking completely Wrong in my eyes) had made that earth shaking proclamation. Thankfully that afternoon my brother averted the starvation crisis. He walked into the pantry car and coaxed the cook to make us some warm omelettes and bread.

But it was a repeat of this same story when I was going to get married. Same train. Same timing. Same proclamation. I needed no more evidences to know that I was headed towards doomsville.

Post-marriage things turned more weird. He would never pick up hints when I told him I wanted to stop at a roadside eatery or a scrumptious smelling stall. “Are you sure you want to eat this?”, would be his first response, shrivelling my entrails with disgust. Didn’t he hear me the first time? Why did he always want to review my decision?

It wouldn’t hurt so much if he behaved consistently this way. The rules changed depending on what was on offer. If there was a golgappa or chhota bhatura place, which he fancied (and I didn’t), he would head there right away.  Everything was healthy then. If I wanted to eat something, invariably a lecture on healthy eating, salads and calories would follow. Such hypocrisy!

This evening was ghastly. I wanted a bite before I boarded the flight. And he says, “But I’m full because I ate before I left home”. But what about me? I just got back from work and got to the airport!

And as furious I am, I wish I could sue him for cruelty for all the times I had to sniff and kill my dreams. But as he says- will anyone believe me? They all go by the apparent exterior, forgetting my growling interiors. It is such an unfair world for the diametrically challenged.

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