Lockdown had got the husband and me to realise that distance had been our secret to staying on the road of marital bliss.
The geographical separation during his business trips gave us the space to appreciate each other better and the children to believe that the role of a father was to engage weekend evenings in movies or games, ensure they get their weekly supply of takeaway and throw in a timely dose of wisdom their mother’s way when she intends to give them a piece of her mind.
Then came the Pandemic that first put a cap on his travel plans and then blurred the boundaries between workplace and home.
On the other side of a dozen phone calls, he brought home mostly everything that was not on the list. There were cucumbers but his eyes had refused to see the spinach that usually sits beside it
His travels were suddenly reduced between the dining table and study that occasionally threw in the excitement of stepping on a squeaky toy. We saw each other for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. When we met at the water cooler during water breaks, something had to be done.
With the door to the outside shut, we opened a window. A modern-day Hakawati that spun stories in the languages of the world, streamed with subtitles.
This time machine took us back to the nomads of Anatolia, the struggles and victories of Ertugrul; the chronicles of Columbian drug lords; a gang of bank robbers, a heist and a mastermind — the Professor, among many others.
Happy couples thrive on space. We had the space, a laptop and Netflix.
We also began reading an Indian Mythology series.
Watching and reading the same series ensured the silly thrill of keeping up — he leads in viewing and I am ahead in reading, and unintentionally throwing spoilers. We had healthier topics to discuss other than the virus.
We were into so many stories that even our domestic dilemmas often entwined with one and there was the advantage of the husband assuaging his guilt that follows a binge-watch with offers to help.
Last weekend, post a marathon-viewing while I busied in the real world, he offered to do the grocery run. On the other side of a dozen phone calls, he brought home mostly everything that was not on the list. There were cucumbers but his eyes had refused to see the spinach that usually sits beside it.
He assured me that the packets of crisps, fizzy drinks and the bags of carrots were on offer. The following week we had carrots at every meal, even with crisps, until the children complained they saw orange.
He pretended not to hear me explain that if we bought carrots, we had to learn to eat it too!
He has also been on the tolerant end of some of my blunders.
Luckily, we are under the constant scrutiny of two little pairs of eyes and ears that keep our behaviour in check and remind us that we have no one but each other to face at every turn inside our home.
We even keep in mind our friend, whose wife could not make it back on time, who spent lockdown with only Alexa for company and swears that Alexa knows it all but listens a bit too much and speaks too less.
We are individuals first and bow at Cupid’s alter next, but the beauty of relationships is in accepting the other’s imperfections. If you catch yourself spiralling into arguments about the falling economy to bags of carrots, just pick up the newspaper and read the heart-wrenching stories of losses that the people of our world have endured.
It will help you drink from the well of tolerance to remember that sowing the seeds of any new ‘real’ relationship outside of our homes is still a vaccine away.
As for us, we are too caught up in a web of heists, wars, triumphs and disasters of our protagonists that busting cabin fever is just a window away!
— Pranitha Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @MenonPranitha