A DIY husband, however talented he may be, can be mortifying and exasperating.
He can also teach you a thing or two about stoicism.
Any job around the house, even if it is replacing a flush tank, involves not only research, but contemplation, discussion, designing, argument and deep contemplation again.
A sofa in the study can take over a year to materialize. Even so, fate must reconcile with Teja’s mood at the time.
Measurements of the space available to us are taken several times. Our requirements are enlisted several times, do we need to lounge on the sofa, do we need storage space under it, how will we open the drawer next to it, so on and so forth. The designs are then put into a drawer, we forget all about the sofa for several days, and after a month or so, the discussion begins again.
One day, when he feels specially indulgent towards me, particularly after I have nagged and nagged for 2 days, and added some tears, we go to our favorite store and look at the designs. I say, “We may just find a sofa we like, which fits into our space, and we can buy right away.” He nods.
We do find a sofa we both like. I also find a small coffee table with four pullout stools that fits into the study perfectly. I reach for my credit card. Teja says, “We’ll go back home and take the measurements of the space.” I know it is futile to argue.
In the car, Teja says, “I could make a better sofa for you at half the price. Forget the money, but we could make it exactly as we want. Of course, if you like the sofa, let’s buy it. I’d like you to be happy. It’s just that I like making furniture, you know.”
The man has learned feminine guile.
I say, “But I want a wooden one like the one we saw. Not a ply box.”
He says, “Of course. Look I have found a wood cutting mill near Valsad. They have all the machines I require. I can take the exact measurements, mark the cuts for the joints and have them give me the finished pieces of wood. Then all I have to do is nail them together at home.”
I say, “Really?” No sawdust flying around, no instruments lying around, no general mess around the house, for weeks.
He continues, “If you like that coffee table, you buy it. It’s really nice, and I couldn’t make anything like that, at that cost.”
I say, “Really? You mean that?”
He says, “Yes, I like it too.”
I test him out, “Should we turn back and get it right now?”
He says, “Now?”
I say, “Yes, why not? We are still close by.”
He says, “OK.”
I cannot believe my luck. This means he really likes the coffee table. I’m already planning the room around the coffee table, on our way back to the store.
I look at the coffee table proprietarily and tell the attendant, “I want that.”
He looks confused. He makes calls. “The Set-of-5 is discontinued, Madam. And this piece is sold. The website is down, so I can’t check the stocks in other stores for a week. But maybe, after that …”
I leave my name and number and sulk all the way home.
Teja says, “If they don’t get it for you, I’ll make it for you.”
Then, we stop to look yet again at TV sets. Teja cannot put together a TV even if he would like to. So, for a year, we have stared at TVs every time we have passed an electronics store. For hours, Teja has researched various TVs, brands, costs, technical specifications on the Internet. Dhanno and I can now answer all his questions on the differences between Plasma, LED and LCD TVs. We finally deserve to buy one. Teja makes the calls, books a deal. We wait a day, 2 days. The day our TV is meant to be delivered, is an all-India bandh.
Teja says, “It will come in a day or two. Maybe, we should re-paint the study before we get the new TV. Plus we need to get that wall water-proofed. And we will need a new DVD player cabinet. Let me make the designs. I should also check out the options for wall mounts.”
There are times when the little green elves have it in for me. Or maybe it is Miss God. Or maybe my long-departed Maaji who was not at all what grandmothers should be like. And to whose mind, I was not the granddaughter I ought to be. It is times like these when I wonder if I ought to be wearing some lucky stones or magic bracelets.
But the research involved in procuring these, defeats me.