Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Boring Aspects of Marriage


This is a post about all the boring things you have to do once you are married:

a. Plate Grabbing: Before I got married, I've seen my mum do this. And now that I'm married and in a house where I'm the prime hostess, I've to pretend to do this too. If you have guests over, you are supposed to carry their plates to the sink once they are done. Now I've never really understood the point of doing this but it becomes even more absurd when the guests start protesting about you carrying their plates to the sink once they are done.

Because, apparently, this is what they are supposed to do.

And then you have to keep saying 'No, no...oh no, pleaaaaasssseeeeeee let me do it!' and then they have to keep saying 'Ohhh what is there in this yada yada!' And this exhausting process goes on for ages and you finally have to grab the plate from them with a brilliant smile. The thing is, some of them get offended if you say, 'Alrighty then! Dustbin on the left!' as soon as they protest. So you have to keep doing this even though it's mighty boring. Why we need this drama at all in the first place baffles me. When I go somewhere as a guest and this ritual begins to unfold, I just quickly give the plate off because really, I don't have any great attachment towards it and if it's so important to someone else, I don't see the point in holding on to it like it's a life-jacket.

b. Health Enquiry: Before I got married, I could be blissfully unaware of which thaatha's which cousin was bedridden or which estranged aunt of mine had broken her leg. But now, since I'm a separate 'unit', it's not enough if my parents enquire after their health. My mum will call and give me the full details of what's happened to which person and then I have to call the said person and ask questions- the answers to which I already know. I'm terrible at small-talking with people I don't particularly like or know, so after asking how they are doing, I basically have nothing to say. So I'll keep laughing inappropriately and hang up after feeling like a prize ass. Why do people care about random people calling and asking about their health? Really, if I were sick, I'd be grateful if nobody ever called me and made me repeat the story of my misery endlessly.

c. Visiting relatives: If you happen to move out of your city after marriage, you have to keep visiting relatives every time you go back. Whether or not you like them. And then you have to keep shuttling between your spouse's place and yours. This becomes a real bore when the two places are not two streets apart but some forty kms apart. So this means you have to work out a schedule of where you will be on which days and inform the respective sets of parents so they can do their 'arrangements' three thousand light years ahead.

d. 'Respect': I call M all sorts of things and for the life of me, I can't speak this 'avar', 'avanga', 'aap boliyeji' kind of language just because other people are around. It feels strange on my tongue and in any case, sets M off into a spate of giggles because he knows how hard I'm straining to sound so proper. According to my mum though, it will sound really bad to other people (the majority of whom are irrelevant to my existence) and I should speak a 'respectful' language to the husband. Why I don't know. I don't get this idea of fake respect. I mean, just because I said 'neenga' instead of 'nee', it doesn't mean I have more respect for someone. But since this is apparently such a big deal, I have to be careful about how I speak to M when the relatives are around. Since I can't manage this very well, I just avoid calling him anything altogether.

e. Tiffin Box Exchange: If somebody gives you something they cooked in a tiffin box, you can't just wash the box and give it back to them. You have to put something in it that you cooked and return it. And then they'll give you something else because you did this and then you have to cook something else and give it to them and then....well, you get the drift. All this is very well if you are some Tarla Dalal character who cooks fancy items all the time, but otherwise, this is such a mammoth bore. I mean, if someone gives me homemade most wonderful mysore pak, I very well can't give them cabbage. So I have to make something similarly wonderful which I'm incapable of doing. I wish people would just give stuff wrapped in tissue paper and be done with it.

There's lots more but I think I should get some work done now. Okkkk. Boi.


Phoenixritu said...

Have you had the price of vegetable prices conversation yet? And the "get a suitable match for so and so's daughter or son" You arent officially married/an adult unless you have had that

hamsini said...

rotflol! Love A and D. What is itwith maamis and pronoun watching?:D

The Bride said...

OMG so true! With regards to: 1) plate grabbing and plate letting go, I am sadly deficient. As hostess, I let plates sit there before people without noticing until I do notice and there at least a couple of plates to be taken in. And if people get up to put their plate in I let them.

2) Yeah my mother encourages me in this health enquiry direction as also birthday wishing of aunts and uncles but i generally ignore her unless particularly close to said person.

3) Visiting relatives I like (I only visit the close ones) but shuttling between parents and in laws is a grad, especially since my leave days are so precious. Negotiating how many days we spend where is like negotiating some UN treaty.

4. Respect: non-applicable and I don't see myself conforming if it was.

5. Tiffin box: OMG such a pain. I am shameless in this regard though and send boxes back empty. I reciprocate when I can with a different box. Not often though.

R's Mom said...

oh God I was so nodding my head through the post

1) Plate Grabbing - I tell them once that I will pick up. IF they give its okie, otherwise please use the sink on the right corner :)

2) Calling up relatives - I DONT do that despite ma telling me :(

3) Visiting relatives - I so hear you on that one! Especially the time management part of it

4) Respect - My in laws were upset at first when I called RD as 'tu' in front of their relatives..but I told RD either I keep calling you aap and pakaoing you or I be real and call you 'tu' Guess what he chose :) and you know what, my mom also calls my dad 'nee' and my in laws were pretty much upset about that as well :) now of course they are used to both the daughter and mother calling their spouses 'nee'

5) Tiffin box: Thank God I live in Mumbai...we are friendly with neighbours but no so much to exchange food..the occasional happening - both of us are smart, we use plastic plates and cups ;)

Baap rey my comment is so long!

shilpasharmaonline said...

LOL, This plate grabbing, I have seen my mom, aunts, bhabhis do this a lot. It's quite a funny sight to see them doing this.

And that visiting relatives thing, when someone like my cousins with their spouses visit us, there is a tradition here to give them a shagun when they leave, mostly people give money, now here also they play a tug of war, but instead of pulling they do the pushing thing. The host is hell bent on giving the money and the visitors on refusing to take it.
But if I get married, I will take it without protest, why refuse the 'Lakshami' coming to you? :P And moreover the host will not let go untill you accept it, so when you know the result already, why waste your energy?

I didn't get many of words you mentioned in respect part, I assume it's like women here in Punjab calling their husbands not by name but like 'main keha ji' or 'ki kehnde ho ji'... :O

We don't know many people here in Chandigarh, but back in my village, my grandmother would often scold me when I returned empty boxes if someone sent us something they cooked, even if there's nothing else to put in the box, fill it with either sugar or jaggery- was what she would say. I just obliged. :P

Ramya said... true! I realised that one fine day I had morphed into the plate grabbing hostess. I was horrified. After that I usually ask once and then point out the sink. Mostly though, we entertain friends, so its a "Get water from the fridge, pick up that plate" types. I've even made some of my house guests wash dishes when we were maid-les!

The health enquiry and birthday wishing is something my mum has been pushing me to do ever since I moved out of home 10 years ago. I comply only if its people I care about.

The respect thing though - my long suffering parents have only asked that I don't call him 'idiot' and such other endearing terms in front of relatives.

But I am so jealous that you, and so many of the commentors here actually get dabbas with food. Such luxury!

smartassbride said...

I think I kept two bananas and one cadbury in a return tiffin box. That seemed perfectly normal to me, until I read your post :|

I gave up on the "neenga" bit altogether because when I do try to "maintain respect" in front of relatives, my husband ends up provoking me into saying "dei!

Ugich Konitari said...

Been there, done that. Was the first case on the in-law's side to call the husband by his first name, and refer to him in the second person singular.

Forget all the dabba, food and plate stuff. There are other possibilities, which if they happen to you might enshrine you on the relatives dart board.

My son started calling his father bu his first name initially, and everyone gave me looks. But the father didnt mind so everyone just muttered around. The only time there was a sudden change was when a classmate from school came home one day, saw this, and announced in class that x called his dad by his first name instead of papa/dada etc. The change was instantaneous.

Just saying, so you can prepare in advance for the forthcoming years :-)

sandhya said...

LOL! I can very well see where Mayil came from!! Oh, yes, we picked it up and my daughter and I were in splits a lot of times.

Agree with all you say. Esp. the point where one has to negotiate days between relations on both sides.

Sachita said...

Aiyoo, I am single and suffer from quite bit of this boring stuff.

The plate grabbing thing, let me just say this - it is my plate - my echil - let me wash it or put it - i hate others fighting over it.

I dont do b at all - cant for the life of me wish birthday for the ones fb flashes so my mum might remind me n the time about some one's wedding day but i just cant. D is the only thing i left out E i think i took care of by sending some literally half baked cake :)

Anonymous said...


Finally, when you have the chance to inquire abt next door aunty's piles, you turn down the offer. What to do with you youngsters.

Visiting relatives: Do you still have to do it even now? I thought it was prevalent only in our times.

Have fun... :P


Nilu said...


dipali said...

The more things change, the more they remain the same-dabbas, plate-grabbing, phoning/visiting relatives.
My standard answer to the respectful forms of address is, that in most bhajans, God is addressed as 'tu'.
I'd grown up in a home where every one was terribly formal all the time(even when fighting) so it was the first major change I made when I got married. I would address the spouse as 'aap' only if really mad at him, normally as 'tum' and 'tu' if I was feeling extra affectionate:).

Prathima said...

Lovd the post... hilarious ,yet so true!

Meow said...

After reading this post... I am making up mind to do all these things in another 3 months :( I know... the same thing happens everywhere :(

Vidya said...

LOL......a post full of comical situations but each point is true.....
One of my first conversations with my husband included this respect aspect....I made it very clear that i would call his name and not 'yeta' or 'cheta' the typical homely keralite wifey calls!!! i just cant imagine calling my husband like

Srinivas said...

Enjoyed, and agree with, every line in the post. All the points find very similar reflections even in my mind. :) I particularly enjoyed d. because it is something my mom keeps telling me: onakku vara porava thaniyaa onna yepdi kooptaalum paravaailla but in front of others... jazz :D. I find it inexplicable.

I find small talk difficult too, and even with people I really like and am close to. So, yes a huge tick on c., visiting relatives.

I don't let people grab plates. I usually appear deaf even when the host is at the top of his/her voice. I find the whole thing highly embarrassing!

chandrima said...

nice ones..I am looking forward to the other points of the long list!

jj said...

Loved it... sharing it.

vishesh said...

I shall wash my plate and put it in the sink, if I ever come over to your place :P

Anita said...

The verbal gymnastics I used indulge in to avoid the 'tu/aap' situation got my head spinning so much, I switched to just speaking in English when the reference came up! Now I am giving major 'Peter' but atleast I am not disrespectful..

Poet Mamma said...

:-) Good observations and welcome to the club.

I admit being guilty on all counts at least once and sometimes even repeated offenses. (except for # 4 - that never happened, me and my hub were always best frens)

OMG! Never realised when I became my mother!

Anonymous said...

Hi GB,

Good post :) . I also feel our actions become so 'noticed' once we get married and i hate it :P :(.
Anyway I have decided to be just a lil more good than what I am(not too much) and make ppl grab their own plates if they really want to ;) :)(not going to coax them anymore).Let our generation change this trend and be a trend-setter ;) wotsay :) ????

RS said...

Hi GB! Loved the post and was going - OMG! This is so true - and kinda glad that all these happen to not just me! :-D

Plate grabbing - Incase I dont pick it up, I get glares from Mom (Incase she is also there) or she picks it up herself while Im thinking -" whats the big deal? They just have to put it in the sink outside!"

Calling people up and visiting - The pressure to visit someone is more if you continue to stay in the same city after marriage - Call and enquire/tell them how you are doing blah blah when Mom would've already done that on both sides!

Respect to hubby - Oh! I've heard plenty of this from lots of well meaning 'aunties' that I address him singularly and now after 6yrs they just shake their head and look elsewhere "one spoilt case".

Haha! Tiffin box - I just put some sweets or fruit and give it back - no cooking from my end there...

waiting for your next list!

Su said...

You, dear GB, are priceless! =)

Sindu said...

Ha ha... couldn't help smiling on the tiffin box exchange one. Good post! :)

Cocktail Party said...

ROFL! Plz do a post on the interesting aspects of being married. Iam unmarried and don't really dare to take that plunge... So I need that inspiration :)

Anu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anu said...

Rofl....I must add one more it that is so uncomfortable and so unjust --> when the not-so-close-to-me guests (esp not overnight staying ones) say "Let me help you in the kitchen".. WHY???(my face clearly paints the intentionally capitalized expression here).I was just going to make a cup of coffee. Ah now that just because the guests want to "help me" in the kitchen I have to rub, scrub and clean the kitchen too to make it look less hazardous before they arrive. whew..

Vini said...

When you thought of the plate grabbing part how did you miss the repeated offering/feeding to guests bit??

My mother would not rest with serving 5 different plates with nuts and namkeen and mithai. She needs to compulsively get up every few minutes and take the tray to each guest again and again, even if they already have something in their hands! Be it dinner or tea, once I have served my guests I figure that they will help themselves to whatever they want. I did not lay the table or the snacks for everyone to just eye but I did so for all to eat!

Another thing, I can't seem to keep track of when people's plates are getting empty and which sabzi/dal needs to be proffered again - So the minute I sit down for lunch or dinner with guests - I just announce - I am a terrible hostess, please feel free to help yourselves and that's that.

Anonymous said...

What happened to good old hospitality? *sigh*


Rishi said...

This is hilarious. Thoroughly enjoying your writing!

chroniclesofablogaholic said...

GB - It's amazing how much you observe and how you come up with the most funniest posts about the most trivial of things. Plate Grabbing and Tiffin exchange - hahah - I am going to laugh every time that happens now! :D

Anonymous said...

A decent conformity to social etiquette enhances the fun aspect of social gatherings, a little more courtesy than absolutely essential. It is only the excess of it which will make it boring.Like all art, cordiality too demands drawing a line someplace.
your marriage has made you forget your mom. Her book of Etiquette is an extremely thin volume.Why grab her when you want to grab plates?
And yes, NO tiffin boxes this time!

Anonymous said...

A decent conformity to social etiquette enhances the fun aspect of social gatherings, a little more courtesy than absolutely essential.
@Anon - well said.


The Black Scorpion! said...


Swati said...

I know what you mean ..been there done that ..each one of that ..and you had me nodding and smiling and saying yeah at each point.

Kookaburra said...

how did I miss this post? Got to read it only now! Changed the entire spirit of my day. I came to the net like a sour Buddhu(a) fed-up with life and your writing had me smiling happily - thank you! Changed my day! :)

Sriganesh said...

Awesome post! Just amazed by your skill at consistently finding stuff that Tam folks can relate to, and even making seemingly mundane stuff funny.. Keep 'em coming :-)

the mad momma said...

LOL! and I thought only I went bonkers trying to figure out what to fill in the tiffin box before returning. I mean, do I really want to ruin all my relationships by feeding people my cooking?!