I stand in front of the door with my soccer boots in one hand and my laptop bag in the other. I place the bag on the floor and gently knock on the door.
While I wait for the door to open, I sing under my breath:
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the World
I’m in a jubilant mood. I have returned home after playing a couple of hours of football. My team won emphatically by literally crushing the opponents. The situation warrants a song and I continue to sing:
We are the champions – my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting
Till the end
We are the champions
I knock on the door again. The door swings open violently. She steps out and grabs at my boots. One slips out of my hand and falls inside the door and the other one lands in her hand. She furiously hurls the boot at my face. I duck just in time. The boot flies past my face and hits the wall.
“Get lost”, she screams and slams the door shut.
Ladies and gentlemen, this woman here is my wife.
Now, you may think it is a gravely serious scene and may even be sitting with your hand cupped over your mouth in shock, but this is a regular scene for me.
Hours early, I had simply swapped the responsibility of dropping her at home after work for a football game at a very short notice, and had just left her all on her own to tackle the crowd in the government bus, to wade her way through the maddening traffic, and to keep her time to pick up our daughter from a daycare center before it closes. Not too easy and her anger is justified.
I sit on a staircase that is right in front of my door and smile. When your love is split between wife and football and you can’t decide which one is more important than the other, you should be prepared to catch flying objects on your face with a smile.
But I know how to deal with her. I have been doing that for the past 15 years with exceptional ease and expertise. First, I need to talk to cool things down. I get up and go to an open window. I find my daughter facing me with a gleeful smile.
“Honey, can you open the door for me?”
She nods and puts a finger on her mouth and gesture me to be quiet. She then tip toes across the room and slowly begins to drag a chair towards the door. She can stand on the chair and reach for the latch.
My wife appears in the frame again. She pulls the chair out of her and says, “You don’t open the door for 3 hours. Let him be outside” and switches off the outside light.
I go back to my place on the staircase.
My mobile beeps. I have received a message.
Prakash: Soccer City tonight. 8:30 to 10:30. 2 slots available. Do you want to join?
My face brightens. Whoa! I can go and comeback within 3 hours. When she realizes I’m gone, she’s going to think I left because I’m sad and would feel sorry and would probably make an extra omelet for me for dinner. Brilliant!!
Oh, but wait a minute, I have only one boot. The other one got stuck inside the house. How do I get it? I will have to irritate her to make her hurl that boot at me.
I go back to the window.
“What did I do wrong? I just went off to play football. Is that a big deal? Besides I get one bonus point today – my team won the league, you know”
“Bonus point! Just get lost. I can live without you”
Okay, this is not going to work soon enough. I don’t have time to waste. I change the line.
“How dare you throw the boot at me? You do that one more time, you will see the real me”.
She gets up, “Huh? One more time? I want to see what you can do” and frantically searches for a shoe.
“You need to work on your aim. It isn’t good”, I add.
“Yeah, yeah. This time I will smash your bloody face – my bonus points to you”
I run to the door and stand with my arms wide open. C’mon babe, do it.
She flings open the door and sends the boot cutting through the air in ferocious speed. I duck again instinctively but it crashes on my ear. “aahh” I shriek.
The door slams shut again.
My ear! But who bothers! I search for the boot in the dark.
I look at my watch. Bloody hell, it’s going to be a long wait outside!
Featured Image Credit: Joshi Mukard.
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