Saturday, January 24, 2009

The older I get, the better I used to be!

“There is nothing permanent except change” – Heraclitus (535 - 475 BC)

Ever since I met my wife (at that time, to-be-wife), she has been constantly trying to change me; of course, with the good intention of making me a better man. But even after 12+ years, as per her, I am still work-in-progress. The sad part is that after being subjected to so much change and having changed so much, she feels, particularly when she is angry or we have had a fight, that I was a lot better man in the past. I wonder if she even thinks if I am the ‘same’ man she loved so many years ago. In fact, I even wonder if she wonders why I wonder so much, which is so wonderful.

Before I got married, I had thousands of faults I didn’t even know about and I used to live merrily. But after marriage, I came to know about all my faults and I live miserably. As per my wife, I need to change only two things to eliminate all my faults - everything I say and everything I do.

My process of change started off with me being asked to be “sensitive” to her needs. I was told that the first step was to be attentive to everything she told me and to be able to recall the details later on, like the following example:

When meeting a lady, whom she had known from last week, in the shopping mall, she would talk as if they grew up all their childhood together and then look up to me and say, “Dear, do you remember about the neighbour’s uncle’s friend’s daughter that I told you about?” And I am expected to answer, “Yes honey, the one who lives in US and has a Dalmatian (apart from the husband, of course).” That reminds me of the joke which goes that at the beginning of married life, every wife treats her husband as god, but later on somehow the first and last alphabets get reversed.

The next step I was made to undergo was to share common interests. This in normal language would mean where one person starts taking interest in the other’s activities and vice versa. But later on I realized that this, in her language, meant that I start finding shopping as an interesting activity and in return stop watching cricket, tennis and other games on TV.

I thought, and so did my friends, that I was a pretty funny guy before marriage. But I was told that all my jokes were silly and sometimes even vulgar. I was asked to be respectable in my speech and more serious in my conversations. This has made me a somber guy, which gets particularly exaggerated in the midst of bachelors.

The other thing I have been made to do is to help in domestic chores. I used to live a life where I considered tasks, like paying the electricity bill, calling the electrician, or dusting the house, to be menial. However, after marriage I was told that they are unavoidable tasks needed to perform in the household and I would better do them unless I wanted to sleep in the living room couch. (psst psst…. I will share a secret with you if you promise not to tell my wife - I try to mess things up often so that I will not have to do them again. And believe me, I have had reasonable success with it.)

When we got married, we decided that my wife will not add my surname to her name. But I had to fight four teeth and three nails to prevent her from adding her second name to my name. That is when I learned that the principle of change only applies to me. She has never attempted to change (psst psst… except her weight). What she doesn’t realise perhaps is the saying that a man will never change, unless he's in diapers.

I have heard that love and marriage are purely matter of chemistry, which explains why my wife treats me like toxic waste. But if change is the only constant, shouldn’t her treatment towards me also change? I am sorry to report that it hasn’t.

So my dear readers, is change permanent or could Heraclitus be wrong?

I hope my wife wouldn’t care much about this post. But between you and me, I have been, in the past, a remarkably poor judge of what my wife cares about. As you leave, please watch this funny commercial on change….