The new happily ever after…

The husband and I had the kind of romances that the Hindi filmdom copyrighted and would have probably charged us a royalty on had they gotten to know we filched their story.

Boy is college hunk. Girl is mousy geek. Girl is always aware of infinite handsomeness of boy who seems to be perpetually battling off contenders in mini skirts for position of arm candy of the week. Boy has no clue girl exists. And then, kaboom, one fine day their paths cross outside the girls common room. No the boy is not visiting said place, the girl is, and the boy’s much neglected classroom was somewhere in the vicinity. Eyes meet. Girl walks away. Boy follows. Introduces self. And girl is unsure of the volley of attention from boy. And boy stays put like leech till day is done. And grafts himself onto girl’s schedule by hanging outside her classroom for hours, huge sacrifice given that he had afternoon college and she had her first lecture starting at 7 am. Progressing to waiting on railway platforms for her to make her appearance and walking her to college.

Girl is terrified. Boy has quite made up his mind that doves are cooing and conches are blowing and rings are to be exchanged. It took boy six years and many fights. But he got there.

And then the romance, it went off scampering to the marriage bureau office to find newer victims to con into believing in cooing doves and naked cherubs shooting flower laden arrows into hearts and such like. Jumping into 7.40 am Churchgate return locals every morning and counting the coins at the end of the month did not make for an environment conducive to romance survival. Imagine me, staring all moony eyed at the man, “Dearest?” “Yes, Honey Pie?” “There’s no money to pay the electricity bill.” “We will live by the tax free light in your eyes.” Uncontactlensed one presumes. Anyway, you get the gist. And its the reason why the greatest romances always ended with the couple plunging to a watery death, stabbing themselves or getting poisoned. They didnt have to confront electricity bills and EMIs and a recessionary economy. Yup, our home loan interest rates are up darling, come let me take you out for a romantic dinner a deux to discuss it. Yup, I thought so. You too? But, I digress.

Scampering between work and home and deadlines and some years later, the child, romance was as dead as the proverbial dodo. Dinner a deux had been replaced by eat all you can buffets. Holidays meant destinations where we werent meant to be locked in the room doing pretty much what people locked in rooms on holiday do, but were now find stuff to entertain the child holidays. Deep lingering looks into eyes happened only when one begged the legally married spouse to check which corner the contact lens had vamoosed off to. And given that the spouse is as demonstrative and a believer of PDA as a new Taliban recruit would be,  hand holding was limited to helping me jump off a precariously docked ferry and then too hastily disengaged.

Which is why, the other night, when I got up with the wierd I know what you did every last summer since you were knee high kind of scare, that strange feeling of someone staring at one while one was asleep, and bounded up, patted the side table frantically for them spectacles to make sense of the shadows. I saw the man lying on his side, head held in one hand, looking at me. The spawn of our combined sperm and ova snored between the two of us, hands and legs spread out in the selfish starfish pattern child way of sleeping that ensures that no other occupant of said bed would ever have at any point more than a sliver of bedspace to sleep sideways on.

“What, what?” I asked. “I need a good night’s sleep,” says the man. With a huge sigh. The fruit of his loins had planted one karate chop right from where he had originated and the man was in agony.

So it is now, that I and the apple of my eye have been summarily despatched to a mattress on the floor, and the lord and the master sprawls undisturbed on a VERY VERY large bed. All Alone.

One would think that he would be snoring in such REM enough to have multistarrer blockbusters going on in his dreams. But no, the man was awake at 2.30 am last night. And clearing his throat suggestively. Now that we have the bed to ourselves and such unsubtle implications. Which I chose to ignore. Given that I had been the sole recepient of deep REM kicks and punches from the child and hadnt been able to sleep a wink anyway.

Yes, naturally, my definition of romance would change. It would have been a romantic gesture had he offered to have the child up on the bed, and allow me my deep undisturbed REM sleep.

Therefore, the need for a time out from parenting and to be back to our romantic selves. Research shows that as people change their definition of romance also changes. His handing me the remote is the most romantic gesture I can ever think of these days, and for him, I guess, the fact that I leave some hot water in the geyser tank for him after I take my looooonnnngggg bath is up there in strobe lights with other Archies moments.

Yup. Romance is redefined. If the man sang paeons to me now, I would probably put a detective on his tail. But if he just ensured my credit card bills were paid on time, I know he cares. Its not about the stars exploding when your eyes meet anymore, nor about that instant hit of stomach wrenching lust that assaults you when you spot him coming into the room (though to be honest, would be two decades since I was worthy of inducing stomach wrenching lust in anything animate), it is about the simple fact of knowing the other is there. A comfort that goes beyond ratty pyjamas and unbrushed morning mouth kisses.

It is about me knowing that he will drive down to town and brave rush hour traffic for four hours, but let me have the driver for a lunch I have to go to. It is about him knowing that I will have everything cooked double soft and of swallowable consistency when he has a toothache. And no, bells dont ring, and doves dont coo anymore when our eyes meet. But we look at each other and we dont need to speak. We know what the other is thinking. And it is more often than not, “Dang, I forgot to switch off the geyser!”


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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28 Responses to The new happily ever after…

  1. maya says:

    how beautiful, wonderful and touching was that. that was one of the best posts i’ve ever read. thanks so much for sharing. hubby never indulges in pda either, but an ache in my back, and he massaged it, and i thought – this is love. after a decade of wedded togetherness, its not so obvious, but so much real.


  2. going anon says:

    So true and so romantic. 🙂 And I loved the observation of hiring detectives if he got mushy now!!


  3. going anon says:

    So true and so romantic. 🙂 And I loved the thing about hiring detectives if he got mushy now!!


  4. Jira says:

    Such a wise write-up! So sweet. The bliss of romance and matrimony! It is all about being there for each other. Isn’t it?!

    Totally agree with romance getting redefined! The best couple I can think of in context are my grandmom and granddad! They never held hands, or looked into each other eyes, or exchanged gifts, not even talk for more than a few minutes during the day. But one can see the affection, the care, the love that comes after years of being together, in their relationship!


  5. B says:

    that was so the idea of romance changes after years of togetherness!


  6. Kiran says:

    Oh Kiran, the timing of this post is perfect for me !! Since last night me and my husband are on a cold war initiated by me. He was stressed, I was stressed and I chose to keep a sullen face and be on katti terms for attention. We have a 2 yr old baby and I cant remember the last time, my husband hugged me or kissed me or said something sweet like “U look nice” or told me he needs time to go on a date or anything like that……But he did take the day off and spent a week taking care of me when I got sick. So I guess I should let go of those HIndi movie notions of romance and open my eyes to the real love which stays.


  7. The first part was very funny and the last part is so sweet and true!


  8. SJ says:

    omg I have been reading your post for a while and I truly identify with you in so many ways. The inter caste marriage ( I am a catholic my husband from UP), the child at 30…..but this one just took the cake. I truly feel you read my mind or my life…..Can’t wait to read more.


  9. dipali says:

    This is the real thing, Babe!


  10. M says:

    Sweet – and yes, Dependability over Romance is my idea of Love as well! 🙂

    Regarding the broken sleep: can’t you leave K on the floor once he is asleep?



  11. sraikh says:

    Oh yes, after 11 yrs of marriage, our(mine) idea of romance has changed.No flowers, no cards, no diamond jewellery. Instead its the letting-me-sleep-in-Sat-morning-and making-chai romance or the filling-up-the-gas-so-that-I-dont-have-to-do-it romance or even just watching a show that he doesnt like but watches to keep me company.

    PS:You need to do a proper post on your whole love story.Did your inlaws accept you or was there war filmy style?


  12. NainaAshley says:

    That is so true…after kids the idea of romance is the other person willing to take care of the child to allow you some ‘me’ time or some time with friends.
    Hop on to my blog to see a quick post about our meeting.


  13. Shilpa says:

    Though we are newly married(2.5 years qualifies as new. no?), we both cringe at PDA. We have eyes only for each other when we are together and all but when we are in public, we like to maintain some decorum. No kissi kissi, huggi huggi in public!


  14. Anamika says:

    Wow Kiran …
    your words express your thoughts so well ..
    and not just your thoughts – everyone who has been married for some time, i guess …
    I am married for 2+ years only and no kid yet .. still can relate to most of the stuff u wrote ..
    but silly me still wants the good old stupid romantic words to be uttered every now and then and ofcourse the PDA too …

    but these days the romance is limited to the goodbye kiss every day morning and 3-4 phone calls during the day that ends with a code for “I LOVE YOU” – that we had devised during the courtship period which he uses more or less like – “ok bye”, these days .. so much so that he has unknowingly uttered the code to someone in office over the phone …

    but at the end of the day, as i lay my head on his shoulder and he wraps me with his hand and our legs entangled ..
    i guess thats what you call romance ..
    right ??
    atleast for now i am happy end of the day – not much during the day 🙂


  15. aneela says:

    you should print this off and gift to newly weds as a present (sure beats the crystal or pyrex platter)…long story but in my wedding vows I had emphasized sticking through the dull, ugly and boring…I always feel that its not a ‘ crisis’ that rocks the marriage but the ‘ predictable blah’ of life.. and to acknowledge the blah with the bling is the MOST important life lesson of all.


  16. Kiran Manral says:

    Maya: Its a more comfortable phase of caring. One doesnt need to keep proving ones love to each other, and this caring come naturally.

    Going anon: Its true. If he ever serenaded me now, I’ll be going through his phone bills.

    Jira: I hope me and the hubby can be like that in our dotage.

    B: 🙂

    Kiran: After 13 years Ive learnt to defuse everything with a laugh. It keeps the peace. And when I get angry, people know I am really serious. Most things arent really important enough to make the house all grim and cold. Homes should be happy and laughing.

    Just another mommy: 🙂

    SJ: Lol. Soul sistah. read on.

    Dips: Yup.

    M: Of course I do. 😉 Just not continuously. He seems to sleep better when he has an arm thrown across him. The brat that is.

    sraikh: Nope. Will not post on the details, too many people might get offended. Lets just say, alls well that ends well. BTW, read the post, a memory sparked off by shoes, which comes in the possibly linked stories up. Its got the story.

    Naina: YUp. Or offer to take the child to the playzone at the mall, to let you shop in peace. Thanks for the lovely post. Am honoured.

    Shilpa: Its because you dont need to mark your territory anymore…you know you have each other, therefore no PDA required.

    Anamika: I have a rule. Unless he’s a beater or a cheater, dont sweat the small stuff. Its worked so far.

    Aneela: Yup. Its the blah and the bling that make it work…


  17. Andy says:

    Oh Kiran, such a lovely post…..and so true too. But the sad part is that the heart never stops hoping to get back to all those days of long conversations, holding hands, impulsive actions whether a holiday or a long drive…but thats the way we are right…we want it all!!


  18. Madhu says:

    awwww…that was cute 🙂


  19. Honest confession … please tell me it didn’t take 13 years for the “Bollywood style” romance to end. We just completed 8 years together and I don’t remember the last time bells rang and doves cooed.
    When we look at each other we also know what the other is thinking and it is mostly “will you please change the diapers … I am too tired”


  20. Childwoman says:

    Ahhh..sweet romances and strong marriages are made of these!! 😀


  21. aarabi says:

    ‘clearing his throat’ suggestively! Loved it! 😀
    Damn cute post.
    But really, is marriage all that it’s psyched up to be?


  22. Shruti says:


    Nothing other than the tag line resonates (a teeny bit) with me.. (otherwise just so you know I have issues a plenty with this commercial)!

    So true so true so true.. every line you write here. If he can take the child to a doctor’s appointment so I can make sleep in one day – ohhh my God.. better than the best. I totally relate and your rule on beater/ cheater up in your comments.. will definitely come in handy next time I start a fight “coz we haven’t done anything romantic” in ages!

    Oh thank you for reminding me to appreciate what I’ve got 😉 Would die for your wisdom.


  23. Kiran Manral says:

    Andy: Does it? I dont miss it. I’ve had it and it was fun. But that was another phase of life. I dont need it anymore. I;d rather have this dependability and this total comfort.

    Madhu: 🙂

    CA: No, as I mentioned, the Bollywood style romance ended when the 7th phera was done with and the man grumbled about how long the shindig was taking.

    Tara: 🙂

    Aarabi: Well, I wouldnt have it any other way. When I look at so many of my contemporaries, divorced, seperated and unhappy, still playing the dating game and going home to an empty house, I wouldnt have it any other way.

    Shruti: Romance is over rated. I;d rather have a man who didnt do the big romantic gestures than one who will and will make my life miserable through his over possessiveness.


  24. Oh Kiran, this was so good to read. With my wedding’s 2nd anniversary coming up and me wondering where the romance has gone, I think I needed this perspective! 🙂


  25. Abha says:

    so so true!

    M was never the romantic type. but now when he keeps soup ready when i get home from work or offers to take care of Cubby when i wanna sleep in, thats romance and loove for me! 🙂

    and sooner we realise what asli pyaar is, happier we will be! nahi?!



  26. so also cleaning prawn shells so that self can cook them at wish


  27. Dottie says:

    very late to this party. but what a heartfelt, lovely post. yes… romance does change, na? I know he loves me when he does the laundry and the dishwashing and Chip-care while I read away that unputdownable when lounging on a couch on weekend.


  28. wordjunkie says:

    Hi, have been following your other blog, karmickids, for a while, and am really happy to have discovered this one today .
    That was a lovely post, complete with ROFL moments, romance seguing into sharing mattress space with a human starfish… much like my own decade long marriage.
    Are there any other blogs i should know about…:)


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