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Honey, let's buy a car

Honey, lets buy a car

By Bikram Vohra

Published: Fri 4 Oct 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 18 Oct 2019, 9:52 AM

My friend is unhappy. His wife wants a new car. She has made the decision unilaterally (means without asking him) because two of her friends have rich husbands who have bought new, upmarket cars, and now she expects him to do the right thing. She is tired of that five-year-old jalopy and says it is hugely embarrassing to go anywhere in it.
After letting him stew for two days in which, like most silly self-delusional husbands, he thought he was off the hook and she had forgotten about the car, she came back to the subject all guns blazing.
When are we going to the showroom, she said over breakfast on Day 3, let's start this evening.
He nodded miserably, he says, and has planned to say the boss made him stay in late for work, so no way he could leave in time.
The showrooms stay open late, I say, till 10.
He looks at me long and hard. Are you a friend or a foe, what's with you, I thought you were on my side.
I am, I say, just being helpful.
Tell me, he says in that hollow, mirthless tone of voice men adopt when they are cornered by their wives and don't have the courage to come out fighting, tell me why do they have to make everything into a test of love. The amount we do for peace in the house, always giving in, just to avoid a con-con-con-you know that fight word.
Confrontation, I say, helpfully.
Yes, he says, but a car, why do they need these periodic tests, you know what she said, she said if you really, really, really love me, you'll get me the car, do you know what three 'reallys' mean in the 'peace-in-the-home-at-all-costs' stakes?
I opt for strategic silence having been whacked on the wrist once.
It is a fortune, he says, misery doing a breakdance in his tone, that's what it is. We just finished paying the EMI on this one and now I have to start one for another five years, I mean what's wrong with this one, she runs fine, good mileage, a bit small, but so what?
She is a bit tired-looking and the backseat sags, I say.
So nothing, I respond, try second hand cars, good bargains.
I tried that, he says, oh boy, I did and she said, so that's what you think of our love for each other, a tatty second-hand affair... If that's what you consider it, then I don't want a car, forget it.
There you are then, I say, she's let you off the hook, forget it.
He looks at me pityingly.
You're a married man and you talk like that, he says, when a wife says forget it, she does not say forget it, like it doesn't matter, she says for-get-it and what she means is just try, mister, or there will be a price to pay, don't you see it's the old historical guilt trip.

He says, do you know there are categories in this situation, like common run-of-the-mill love, tangible love, true love, epic love and that real, real, real 'show me how much you love me ' thing they fling at you, not to forget the 'if you love me' and the 'not that I ask for much' angles they throw.
That's nice, I say, she does love you, then realise that this too is an inappropriate response. It's not nice, he says, its dia-dia...
Bolical, I say, always on hand to do my bit and help a friend.
Tell you what, I say, assert yourself, tell her flat no way.
I have to go, he says, she wants to go to the showrooms.
So, you're going to buy the car for her, I say, late this evening.
No, he says, I'm going to win the Olympic gold in kayaking; of course, I am going to buy the car.
So why are you cribbing, I say, if you are going to the guillotine, trot along with a smile.
If I didn't resist, he says, she wouldn't believe I love her. I just can't agree at once, that would raise her suspicions, she'll only value it if she has to win the war by letting me win all the battles.
The car arrives this week.

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