Who is More Forgetful?

OMG, she burned it again! I swore under my breath as I picked up my purse, glasses, handkerchief, and a comb she had neatly arranged on the burnt bedsheet.

She burned my shirts, my pants, and my only suit! Will she ever learn? Why can’t she remember these important things? Forget mine, she’s even burned her own dresses, which she had treasured for so long because they were rare gifts from me. She’ll put something on the gas burner and forget about it until it’s overcooked and the smell of burning jolts everyone’s senses. I’ve reprimanded her about this many times, but she refuses to change. Her counterclaim is that I am more forgetful.

Who loves more? Who provides more quality time? Who is more forgetful?

These are the everyday arguments we have.

Who Loves More?

I keep telling her that she’s not my type. She doesn’t possess a single quality I expected in my life partner. But I’ve compromised, tolerated every flaw, and loved her unconditionally. She fires back, saying that her life at her father’s home was heavenly, but it turned into hell after marrying me. She insists she has only survived because of her love for me. Otherwise, she would have been long gone. I’m always caught up with work, books, and traveling. Have I ever truly cared for her? I avoid her piercing gaze, mumbling, “Before the wedding, I made it clear that my work was my first wife. You knew that when you married me. You can’t complain now. You and your father agreed to this because I was a busy and famous surgeon. You were selfish.” She retorts, “No, we were never selfish; we were fooled,” and I’m always taken aback by her ready responses. Knowing I can’t win this argument, I say, “Okay, enough. I decided to marry you because of your father. He was such a simple man, unlike you.” I mutter the last word, hoping she won’t hear it. “What did you say?” she questions. I imagine she’s fuming. I just shrug my shoulders.

Who Provides More Quality Time?

“Honey, when I’m working, I’m earning for us,” I try to justify. “I don’t need to set aside separate ‘quality time’ for you or for us. All my activities are for the benefit of our family.” Her reply is predictable: “And how does that help us enjoy time together?” I can almost see her frustration as I look away. “But when I come home wanting to chat, you’re either glued to the TV or busy with your friends on WhatsApp,” I complain. “There’s more to life than clothes and jewelry. When will you and your friends understand that?” I challenge. She counters, “Oh, and what have you bought for me, or what have I bought for myself in the last 19 years? Do you have any idea how much work I do when you’re away? You can’t stand to see me resting for even a few minutes!” In a moment of desperation, she suggests, “You have plenty of time for us, right? Let’s go out for dinner. I’m too tired to cook tonight.” I realize I have to prepare for my next conference and I only have this night to do it. I feign illness. “Sure, honey. But I can’t eat out; my stomach’s been upset since the afternoon. I’ll just keep you company.” “Stomach cramps? I’ve told you a thousand times not to eat those peanuts,” she responds with concern. “Listen to me for once. Okay, I’ll make you some omelet. We’ll go out another time when you can eat with us.” After eating the omelet, I start working on my laptop. “This was your excuse for not going out, wasn’t it? I knew it,” she accuses, and I don’t have the energy to continue the argument. I surrender by keeping silent.

Who is More Forgetful?

As I pay my vehicle fuel bill, I notice my purse, which I hadn’t seen for almost a week since she handles most purchases. Everything is meticulously arranged: money in different denominations for change, the identification card for the airport, credit cards, and so forth. How did she remember all this? Just before leaving, I was cursing her forgetfulness, but now I’m struck by the care she took in organizing what I needed for my trip. Had she not done so, I would have inevitably forgotten something and ended up calling her from the airport.

As I head towards Bangalore, I open WhatsApp to find her message: “How could you forget our anniversary?”

It hits me like an atomic bomb! We had an unwritten agreement that I would always be home for our anniversaries and our children’s birthdays. Caught up in work pressures and not wanting to disappoint close friends, I had completely forgotten our anniversary and agreed to be a guest faculty at a workshop in Raipur. Our daughter’s exams meant I couldn’t take my wife with me.

Today, she had posted several of our photos together, which she had lovingly collected, along with a picture from the temple of our family deity where she prayed for us in my absence. I felt guilty for not being there on this significant day. Reflecting on who is more forgetful, who loves more, and who provides more quality time, I realize I can never surpass her in these respects. My heart feels heavy, not just with love but with gratitude. My only concern at this moment is whether I will ever be thankful enough for her role in organizing my life and helping me reach my current success.

I text her, “What do you want as a gift for our anniversary?” Her reply comes: “Don’t party too much. Stay healthy. That’s a gift in itself for me.” I know I can never win an argument with her, but I’m happy to lose. I surrender.

“Happy wedding anniversary, my dear wife! Our family has thrived because of your tireless service and care. I promise never to miss another December 21st, the day with the longest night, as I should spend it with you.”

Prof. Dr. Prahlada N. B
21 Dec 2019

Leave a reply