Since the publication of that bestseller by John Gray, the man-woman conflict seems to have got much simplified. Every weekend domestic skirmish now finds an explanation attributable to the different planetary lineage coming from Mars and Venus. Without profiling ourselves into being the descendants of the two specific planets, I have no hesitation in declaring that my wife and I too have had that celestial chasm in our outlook to life.
For a working couple, weekdays get too busy to have any scope for a difference of opinion or for that matter any opinion at all. But all slipups and aberrations do not go unnoticed – not by the Venusians for sure. It just builds up like the cyclonic low pressure zone and hits home over the weekend. As in case of any weatherman, though I can well predict the timing, the intensity remains as capricious.
The weekend, for me, means a relaxed milieu of rest and recuperation in preparation for the impending week. It means waking up late; it means a relaxed breakfast, reading through those extra pages of the newspaper; and it means a short post-lunch nap. Of course, without compromising on that weekly grocery shopping and topping up of the freezer with fruits and vegetables for the week. For her, the weekend means setting right all the upheaval of the household over the week. Catching up with me on the status of the pending bills; checking with me on that mutual fund investment that she read in the newspaper over the morning coffee, on one of the weekdays; a gentle reminder on some KYC that she had to submit and I had been dragging it for many months; chasing me to get the plumber and the electrician for the leaking tap and the dysfunctional light switch. And the list goes on.
At times a Sunday can get tougher than the weekday. The descendants from Venus, I am told, are great at multi-tasking. As they juggle around their multiple assignments, they have also stacked up all the delegations that keep coming up the moment poor Martians complete one task. One such Sunday morning recce of my cupboard by her resulted in recovery of a big bunch of sundry papers. As I finished disposing off this bunch of receipts, bills, notices received and stacked over a period, she handed over her form-16 to me to file her tax returns. I looked behind her, on the study table, as to what was lined up next. She gave me a mischievous smile and went into the kitchen.
As I was working on my laptop, calculating her tax liability, she was explaining a real life problem that she had been facing. I thought the problem was due to her incorrigible habit of excessive multi-tasking and was about to suggest a simple solution to overcome the tricky situation when I suddenly remembered the golden words of John Gray, as I had read the book recently – the Venusian is not looking for a solution from me. And I told myself – you are a genius but don’t trivialize her problems. Just listen to her and acknowledge her problems. Thanks to Gray, the conversation ended pleasantly – I reserved my solutions and she contained her emotions.
The other day, as part of a long weekend clean-up, she inspected the refrigerator and took out the 3 cans of beer lying there for some time. I had bought these a few months back when a cousin of hers came visiting. I had stocked my freezer well with the drinks to make sure I do not run out of them if the visitor decided to stretch his limits.
As she took out the bottles, she noticed the expiry dates printed at the bottom, in bold letters. To my bad luck, the dates had gone past due. I knew I was in for trouble. I had this uncanny knack of getting into trouble by missing dates due to procrastination. So far this had happened only with utility bills and notices but this was my first ever dispiriting experience with the spirits. She looked at those printed numbers and then looked at me but said nothing. And suddenly it flashed upon me that this was a catch-22. She couldn’t be happy that I had not consumed the alcohol and she couldn’t admonish me for letting the stuff get expired. And that gave me a high that consuming those three cans couldn’t have given. The old wine stayed loyal to me even after its expiry.
But she had the last word. The three cans are now lying in my bathroom and I am expected to wash my hair with that twice a week. I am not complaining if that sometimes leaves a taste in my mouth, I am just worried about the strange smile that my office security guard gives me when I enter my office early in the morning.