Siddhartha Gunti

The first year after “I do” - Husband manual missing

If you are expecting some pearls of wisdom, the collective of husbands is laughing at your innocence. If you are married, then you know there are no pearls here. This post is as clean as our bachelor pads. And pearls, if any, are shamelessly denying to grow up. Think of this post as an invitation to a simple, desi, last-minute party with your old friend. 

So let’s cut to the chase: 

What happened after marriage? 
I stopped being a prince. I became a king. 

You would think that’s a step-up. A promotion. But, picture this-

I love spending time with my Telugu mom. She watches a movie on TV and I sink my mind in a book. I love spending time with my Hindi GF, now-wife. She watches a movie on TV and I sink my mind in a book. One week after the wedding. We, three, are in the same room. They were both watching a movie. I happily sunk my mind in a book. After an hour of happy reading, I felt my book melting from the rage of the two women beside me. 

You see it? No? Let me paint another picture. Pay attention this time.

I was staying over at my Punjabi mother-in-law’s place. It was 10PM in the night. The in-laws called in for a very important conference. My wife, her brother, and my mother-in-law were immersed in a serious discussion. There was an irresistible excitement in the room. I peeked in. The topic of discussion- What to eat the next day. If you didn’t understand why my Telugu brain found that visual striking, let me explain-

My Punjabi in-law's day starts with a happy belly-filling breakfast. And before that is digested, you get a lunch spread. And by evening, just when you are glad that there was some gap, you are fed fruits, nuts, coffees, teas, and everything that comes along with it. Let’s not even talk about dinner.

This is not a special treatment for me. This is how my wife is treated at her home. Food is their love language. 

On the other side, in our Telugu family— We, too, love food. Don’t get me wrong. But we simply love food with our three-course meals. They LOVE food with their giant 5-6 course meals.

Now imagine my wife coming to our place for the first time. Her anxious mind waiting for some evening snacks. And her Telugu in-laws were watching TV with her husband reading his book and no one's mind remotely thinking of food.

Let me nail my point down with the last example. 

My Punjabi in-laws love to squish people out of their minds. Their hi’s, bye’s, woah’s, miss-you’s, thank-you’s, even simple good-job’s have a hug before, after and during. If food is their love language, then hugs are desserts you can’t and shouldn’t say no to. 

On the other hand, in my Telugu family— my dad probably hugged my sis once so far in his life. Some blink-and-miss moment for a picture. Now imagine my anxious wife, unsure if her in-laws are liking her or not. How come they didn’t even hug her once so far?

So you get it. That’s roughly how the married life started. I realized the place I used to call “home” is still a home but in a different way. 

Enough about the families. Let me talk about me, the husband. After all, this post is all about the transition from me, a bf, to me, a husband. So, one simple story about me.

I love walking. I used to go on 1 hour walks in the evenings. During those walks, I used to call my then-GF, now wife. After the wedding, I continued my 1-hour walks. Now, it is plain weird to call the person who lives with me. At the same time, I was told, in very pleasant words, it is irresponsible to leave the wife alone. Especially when she came after a long day at work. That 1 hour on my calendar has a completely different weightage on her calendar.

In the process of transitioning from a prince to a king, I realized I wasn’t prepared for being a king. Obviously, it’s easier than being a queen. But still, as a man-child prince that I was, I am going to indulge and cry that it was harder. 

So here’s my experience—the first year was a rollercoaster.

As with all husbands, I went through the exercise of becoming a responsible adult. I made some decisions. I restructured my time to still hold onto bachelor friends. Some decisions were made for me. I put on weight because I was eating twice more than what I was used to. 

My wedding has been a major milestone in my parents' lives, more than mine. They looked forward to it so much that they forgot to plan for what comes post the wedding. My dad calls me now when he feels anxious. Somewhere in this transition, our roles reversed. I, now, shout at him to go check with a doctor. I, now, tell him that all is well and everything will be alright. 

As for the North-South situation, eventually, people realise they love each other. So after a few more meetings where I kept my book aside, this happened—

My wife wanted her ear pierced. I asked my parents, casually, what they think about piercings in general. My mom voiced her opinions of why it’s unnecessary. Then I told my mom that my wife wanted her ears pierced, and that I am not a fan of it. Within seconds, my parents flipped their stance on piercings. Apparently, it is the new fashion and it suits my wife.

Overtime, both sides are learning to love each other more. My Telugu family still eats less food. But when my wife visits, my mom gifts her her-favourite tomato pickle. And she gifts my parents more hugs in a day than what they did their whole life.

Who knows. Maybe after a few more years. I can stay in the same room where they both watch TV and I pick up my book. 

As for being a prince.
Being a son-in-law at a Punjabi household takes good care of that nostalgic emotion.

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