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Pinning Him Down

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Pinning Him DownAs she washed her hair, she was thinking, “Will one more Sunday pass without achieving a single thing?” This question may have sounded strange echoing in the head of one who was so calm, collected and efficient in her office that she had earned the nickname ‘Guru’ among her colleagues. But it wasn’t that she was worried about her own achievements. She was instead thinking about what they – her husband and her would achieve as a couple on a holiday.

When she came out of her bath, her prophecy looked in danger of coming true. He lay sprawled on the floor with a cushion, watching the cricket match on their new LCD TV. As she passed by, smelling of soap and shampoo, he held out his arms invitingly. She smiled, but wasn’t tempted. Gone were those early days of marriage when even the sight of his disheveled hair, his rumpled T shirt in bed, was enough to make her feel a rush of tenderness. Now, instead, there was a tightening in her stomach as she thought, “Its eleven o’ clock. Will he ever get around to remembering the tubelight that has to be changed in the spare bedroom?”

Not taking a chance on his memory, she said, “Please have a bath before lunch. And do change that tube-light in the other room. You know we need the light for the computer, and its been gone three days.” His enthusiastic nod should have signaled his willingness, but because he shouted with an explosive happiness almost immediately at a stroke of Dinesh Karthik’s, she didn’t give much weight to his having heard or registered her request.

The doorbell rang. It was the man who bought their old newspapers, bottles, and other recyclable plastics. She opened the door, but turned around and said, “Please get the stuff for him. I have put the papers in a bundle behind the spare bedroom door. The rest is in the kitchen.”

“Why?” he howled like a baby. Then, at her surprised stare, “I mean, why can’t you do it?”

She gently latched the door, asking the man outside to wait. Then she brought her face close to her husband’s and said, through clenched teeth, “Because you also live in this house, and read all the papers. Because I will not lift the mess of beer bottles whose contents went mostly into your belly. And because I HAVE TO COOK OUR LUNCH!” This last came out in a shout without her intending it to. But by then he had got the message. Smartly getting up, he had got the saleable items assembled, sold and money received, in record time. As he counted the change, he said, “Why are you getting so tense? See, it took hardly any time, and earned us fifty six rupees!”

She ignored him. By this time, she had arranged a few cushions for herself on the floor, where she was sitting shelling peas. He joined her, keeping his eyes pinned to the TV. Once in a while, his fingers strayed into the bowl of shelled peas to steal a few and put them into his mouth.
At one such attempt, she caught his hand. “You know, this is not such a high-tech job as all that. You can do it too. Here,” she said, getting up, leaving him to shell the rest of the mound. She walked into the kitchen to make the rest of the preparations for lunch, and his voice followed her. “Why are you so sarcastic today? Had a fight with your boss?”

And so their Sunday went on, till it was time for bed. Relaxed, happy after a day spent away from office and work, and completely confident of India’s victory in the Test match, he reached for her soft curves. She turned towards him, letting him make the first moves before stilling his hands and forcing him to speak. “What’s the matter?” he asked, his voice hoarse with desire. “Listen,” she said. “Do you think its possible to make one-sided love, with just one person making all the effort, or having all the fun?” Taken aback by the question, he said, “No, of course not. What fun would that be? Why, aren’t you…?”

“No, don’t worry, I am,” she reassured him. “I just wanted to remind you that this is how I wish we lived the rest of our life as well, you know? With both of us making the effort, both of us enjoying the fruits.” Seeing the gathering storm clouds on his face, she moved and lay on top of him. As she gazed down on his face, she smiled and said, “Just because your mother never asked your father for any help in running the home, did it make them a happier, more loving couple?” “No,” he admitted, slowly, reluctantly. “Well, I want us to be a lot more happy and loving than our parents were,” she said. “I want us to be truly together in more areas than bed.” Melting under the sheer sensation of having her this close to him, he said, “OK, I get it. I will help you more around the house.”

Much later, in the drowsiness that accompanied the after glow of their lovemaking he said, “Listen, if I start helping you more in the kitchen, will you watch cricket and cheer along with me?”

He had her feeling guilty for once.

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