As a cursory reader of this blog would realise, I am not a person to let good enough alone and must necessarily take upon myself to be the social leader and gatherer of folk to communal pursuits. Yesterday, it was the culmination of a week long effort of hectic smsing and calling that got together over a dozen mammas from the school my son goes to, dressed in our finery, for lunch. Over a buffet. As any woman would understand and sympathise with, eating together in a public situation with other women watching like hawks to check just how much you pile on your plate is a very scary proposition. Of course, it meant that many waited until the rest had filled their plates before wandering off on their ownsome lonesomes to investigate the offerings at the buffet table. Much camaraderie and joking happened. And then the discussion veered to the ambitious plan of “Lets do this again sometime with the husbands.” This said by a brave woman who probably has a husband who is more sociable than a wall of drying paint, which is what most husbands are like. Mine included. The husband has been known to never emerge from his room to even make a cursory nod at guests he doesnt find interesting. On the one hand I admire his courage at being so inhospitable. On the other, I melt in puddles of embarassment, and short of dragging him physically into the living room through threats or bribes of the variety that cannot be mentioned by a decent married woman on a public space, I have no option but to keep apologising for his lack of sociability.
I donot think husbands will ever make themselves comfortable in a gathering of men who are not their bum chums since childhood. Langotiya yaar, I believe is the phrase. Take my husband to any social gathering and he will find the darkest dimmest corner to stand in and sulk until a decent interval has passed (Normally fifteen minutes) before he can do the disappearing trick. Give him his very best friend in the whole wide world and he will probably even forget that I am along.
And me, being me, I have to flit around the entire venue, chat up every vaguely familiar face, even to embarassing levels of accosting random strangers if they look like someone I have had a conversation at some point in a previous life. There is so much to do at a gathering of people, some of whom are known, others who are friends you yet have to get to know. Catch up with lives and marvel at weightloss efforts. Enquire about children. Boast unabashedly about your own tyke.
Now, we have taken to going separately for events of individual interest. Its easier on both of us. The rare times we go out together is to homes of couples who are individually friends with both of us. Or wedding receptions, where the mandatory Mr and Mrs attendance is warranted.
Therefore, when this point was raised, while someone must have been drunk on goodfeeling and bonhomie and dim lighting to even suggest it, the mood immediately sobered down. We all looked at each other, gasped in shock and disbelief. “Nahhhhhhhh.” The verdict was unanimous. Lets just let the good times roll. Getting husbands to meet would be like dragging bulls to the slaughter house. Not to mention the whining before and after the event. I speak for my man. I dont know about the rest.
I stabbed my bhuna chicken boneless with my fork and contemplated deeply. (Yes, yes, all ye who are thinking, there goes all her good intentions of dieting and getting into shape, I didnot eat dinner to make up, and walked a mile after that spread, which had the buttons popping on my jeans as I hauled myself up from the table. And yes, I was the last woman eating in the group, while the rest waited politely for me to clean up or at least put fork and spoon down in 12 oclock position). Why is it that we are better with girl friends without them husbands being around? Is it the girly talk we indulge in, that we know the husbands will have no ear for? Or is it simply that I have married a wall of a man who’s occasional response to every question is a grunt or a nod, in alternative sequences. How are the men in your lives as social animals? Can you ever do a decent lunch or dinner with the ladies and the gentlemen in good humour?
As for our ladies luncheon, we enjoyed it so much, we’re going to make it a regular event. Once a month. And investigate all the restaurants in the vicinity. Anything to eat good food. And have some great conversations that revolve around absolutely nothing of importance, including such fascinating topics as ladies who sell real fake bags straight off from Bangkok at killer rates, and who have perfumes at throwaway prices. And a designer who makes miracles in designer wear from your old sarees and some judicious embroidery. Stuff we women live by. Sometimes it feels good to leave your brain at the door of the restaurant with your dietary resolutions, and just indulge yourself.