When I announced that I was going away with my friend for a 3 day holiday, my husband was initially very supportive. It was only after I actually booked the tickets that his attitude seemed to change.
'I've booked the tickets, honey!' I said happily to him. 'We're going next Wednesday?'
'What?' He frowned 'You're actually going?'
'What do you mean?' I flared up. 'We discussed this weeks ago, and I told you the dates already. Don't tell me you've fixed work travel then?'
'No, no.' He said quickly. 'It's not that. You go ahead. That's fine.'
He wasn't very convincing though but I gave up after staring at him suspiciously for a while. I then messaged Chhaya about the booking that I had made after struggling for a long time with the Indian Railways website.
'Just don't do anything stupid.' Vijay remarked to me at breakfast the next day.
'What?' It was a fairly out of context remark as far as I could see.
'You know.' He said 'You're always doing stupid things. Don't do them when you go to Kasauli.'
'Stupid things like what?' My hackles were rising.
'Generally.' He said vaguely and yet managed to sound wise. 'Just because Chhaya is into adventure sports, doesn't mean that you can handle it.'
'I can too handle any adventure sport!' I protested. 'I've done rafting...and...'
'Exactly.' said Vijay. 'That's all you've ever done. And you probably almost drowned then.' I opened my mouth to protest but he went on. 'Anyway, what I'm saying is, don't be stupid.'
'Will you stop calling me stupid for no reason?' I demanded. 'What's the matter with you?'
'Nothing.' He said and then in a positively hostile way, he added 'You're stupid.'
I stared after him as he got up and left for work.
Even when the day before the morning we were to travel and Chhaya had come over to stay the night, Vijay was at it.
'Have you packed?' he said tersely as Chhaya and I looked at Tripadvisor to see what there was to do at Kasauli.
'Not yet.' I said. 'It's cool, it's only a few things I'll need...'
'Have you packed your medicines?'
'No, I will.'
'Stupid.' He murmured. Chhaya raised her eyebrows at me, and I shrugged and rolled my eyes. He had clearly lost it. He made a big show of going about the room and gathering up all sorts of medicines and within fifteen minutes had finally made his 'Medicine bag' for me.
'Here.' he said gruffly. 'I've put in Emeset, Pan-D, Combiflam, Augmentin, Eno...'
'I don't need all that!' I said
'Oh be quiet.' He growled. 'Where's your suitcase?'
I pointed at the one I had chosen and he snorted 'Are you nuts? Why are you taking that old one? Take my new one, it's got a case for your laptop. I suppose you'll take your laptop even though you're going on holiday.'
I struggled to retain my cool and said with dignity. 'I am a writer. You never know where inspiration will strike.'
'Yeah.' He said sarcastically. 'Also, you use your Mac as a charger for your iPhone. Stupid.'
I was about to yell at him but thought it would be inappropriate in front of mild-mannered Chhaya, especially after he had prepared a bag full of medicines for me. I remained sullen as he dragged out a more compact bag which was indeed more suitable for a short trip. He put in the medicine bag.
'Why don't you just pack my other stuff?' I suggested sweetly.
'Hah. Shut up.' He was being very rude indeed. 'I'm going to bed. You guys should also sleep early in case you actually plan to go tomorrow.'
'What do you mean?' Chhaya asked him 'Actually planning to go? Our train is at 6.40' She looked at me 'What time should we set the alarm for?'
'7.30, I think' Vijay suggested and then walked out of the room.
Chhaya and I looked at each other once and then turned our attention back to Tripadvisor.
The next morning we were running about to get ready in an attempt to actually leave for the station on time. Vijay was up too, I noted to my surprise. He was hovering around and muttering malevolently to himself.
I went over to say goodbye to Papaji, who is an early riser, and to my annoyance, Vijay murmured from behind me 'Don't forget to touch his feet.' Just when I was going to bend over and touch his feet. I went ahead and did that anyway and then headed out the door with Chhaya.
'Wait.' called Vijay 'What about saying a prayer?' He indicated the pictures of the Gods in Papaji's carefully maintained little Puja area in the kitchen.
Oh. Well, I didn't usually do that, but if it made him happy, why not. I had my shoes on so I didn't go into the kitchen but I dutifully closed my eyes and folded my hands in a small silent prayer.
It was just at the moment that I had opened my eyes that I felt a hard thwack on the back of my head. Vijay must have meant for it to be a playful little smack but it really hurt me. This was the final straw. My forty-plus-year old husband had clearly regressed to the level of a Kindergartener pulling on the pigtails of the girl he liked in class.
'What's WRONG with you?' I hissed at him. 'You CAN just say you're going to miss me and tell me you love me, na?'
'Fine!' He said. He pushed me out of the door, saying 'I love you.'
He shut the door firmly behind me, but I still heard him adding 'Stupid.'
I stared at the door for a while and then squared my shoulders and walked away for my holiday, shaking my head but already smiling.