Remember that as you walk in through the polished and gleaming doorway of marriage, there are several windows with unwashed curtains that love could fly away from

Advice to peace-seeking newly-weds: split the housework. Or split!

Every newly married couple want to start off with a great looking, well-decorated, appliance-compliant home. Take my pals Ritu and Rocky. Their brand new house looked exactly as they did, just after their riotous wedding party. She was well-painted, and he was plastered.

They joyfully unwrapped their wedding gifts, many of them given by thoughtful relatives who gave them exactly what they had hinted at. Bread-toaster, drinks-coaster, coffee-maker, coconut-breaker, gasburner, chutney-churner, window-washer, potato-smasher…they had them all. All they had to do was to buy an alarm clock to wake them up every day, as they were planning to have kids only three years later.

The couple’s early days of marital bliss in their new home were splendid.

The only arguments Ritu had with Rocky were over the dishes: whether to have dinner on the yellow ones given by her sister or the blue ones given by his aunt.

A husband like yours is hard to find, said Ritu’s pals.

Very soon, that remark started coming true. Rocky was hard to find...especially around the house. And Ritu began to discover that husbands are like wood-fires. When unattended, they go out.

Leaving Ritu home alone, to do all the housework.

One day Rocky met his pal at a pub, who said, “Hey, I heard you got a new dishwasher.” “Yes, I got married to Ritu,” said Rocky. Which made a lot of people around laugh at this good joke. But he probably didn’t know then that the dishwasher was heading for a breakdown.

Back home, Ritu found that earlier she was always ready to sink into his arms; nowadays her arms were always in the sink. Soon, even the laundry started piling up. When Ritu’s sister asked, “Has Rocky changed since his marriage?,” Ritu replied: “I encourage him not to; who’s going to do all the washing and ironing?”

Ritu set off to the bookstore for some self-help books. A salesman said: “Madam, this book will cut your housework in half.” “Good, then give me two of them,” said Ritu.

When even that didn’t work, Ritu decided to throw in the towel and cared less and less about how her home looked or smelt. Soon even the resident rats and cockroaches began looking at the classifieds for new places to go live in. Rocky noticed the changes in their home, and asked her one day, “When will you straighten out the house, honey?” She replied: “Why, is it tilted?”

Earlier, Rocky would enter the house every evening, sniff the delicious waft in the air, and ask, “What’s cooking?” Nowadays he had begun to ask, “What’s thawing?”

Ritu had also begun to discover that a garden is a thing of beauty, and a job forever. So there wasn’t much of a lawn to have their cosy coffees together any more either.

When Ritu heard that her neighbour had got a bottle of Scotch for her husband, she said, great, she too would like to make such a trade-in. And one day Ritu told Rocky, “If you really loved me and wanted the best for me, you’d have married someone else.”

When Rocky didn’t laugh at all, Ritu asked, “Hey, can’t you take a joke?” Rocky replied, “Well I took you, didn’t I?

As Rocky began contributing more and more money to the local pub’s maintenance and less and less to his own home’s, Ritu began to protest. “If you don’t give me money, I’m going home to mother,” she declared. He immediately gave her a couple of thousands for her fare home.

But then Ritu found out that the cost of leaving had really gone up…

By now, Rocky realised that his marriage was as rocky as his name, and the promise of finding peace and joy in his home-sweet-smelling-home was a filthy lie.

So all you dear newly-wed couples, remember that as you walk in through the polished and gleaming doorway of marriage, there are several windows with unwashed curtains that love could fly away from. So do your homework on dividing housework. Come clean and tell your spouse: “I promise to love, honour and maintain our household appliances, and will be yours to have and to hold; for richer, for poorer. Till dirt do us part.”

(Indu Balachandran is a travel and humour columnist. indubee8@yahoo.co.in)

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