Conversations with the Spouse

Sunday morning.

The spouse plays Snow White’s Grumpy with the newspapers spread before him, a permanent frown splitting his forehead in two distinct sections.
I waltz up, the cook having arrived, to figure out what he would like to have for breakfast.

Me: The cook is here.

He: Hmmm.

Me: So what do you want to have for breakfast. (This question being occasioned by umpteen occasions when I have taken said decision on my ownsome only to have him smashing crockery later, metaphorically speaking of course, when he didnt like what was on offer).

Him: Hmmm

Meanwhile I’m bouncing up and down like I have springs under the soles of my feet. Said cook is making clucking sounds from the kitchen.

Me: What? What? What? What do you want for breakfast, tell me quick, I have to get lunch organised too, cant keep her waiting until you decide.

Him: (Giving me the kind of blank look that people who normally come out of general anaesthesia give their loved ones hanging around in the hospital room). What what?

Me: *deep troubled sigh* What do you want for breakfast?

The child sees a potential pressure cooker explosion building up in mamma’s brain and drops all pretence at Cartoon Network watching to grab ring side seats.

Him: Make anything.

And buries his head back into the newspaper.

By this time I have started ricocheting off the walls and ceilings. The top maid who has been sweeping in the vicinity, quickly steers clear.

Me: *counting to hundred in my mind* Do you want alu paratha or powa or idli sambar or dosa sabji or omelette or sandwich…..

The spawn of our combined loins comes forth and pokes his head between his father’s and the newspaper, and tries to help.

Child: Pappa, whacyure eading?

Him: Anything.

And calmly removes the child’s head from obstructing his line of vision.

I clench my palms into fists and walk shaking with anger into the kitchen and tell the cook to make “anything” and I say it loud. My voice carries enough to wake the dead.

She stares at me blankly. The child trips in. He wants powa. So it is decided Powa will be made for all.

Breakfast is served. The man looks at it and says, “What is this, powa?” with the kind of dismissive air that jailbirds normally reserve for their loaf of stale bread with mould growing on it.

I have a mini explosion. It ends with me needing to take a Disprin for sudden inexplicable migraine attack.

Then the cook asks me what has to be made for lunch.

And I go ask the man, Are you off to get some dead animal?

Him: Hmmm…..


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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22 Responses to Conversations with the Spouse

  1. blinkandmiss says:

    My God, Kiran! This exact same scene played out this morning at our home too. And I swear to God if I ever divorce my man, it will be because of that bloody “hmmm” reply.

    And there should be medals for all us women, for coming up with menus that are nutritious, not repetitive, tasty and takes care personal preferences for 3 meals a day!!!!!


  2. Meira says:

    Sigh! The what-to-cook dilemma never lets go of us women!


  3. soulmate says:

    hehehe… I am in splits… I ask this question to myself since I cook only for myself.. what shall I cook today??

    Is there a way a dish named ‘hmmm’ or ‘anything’ can be served? πŸ™‚


  4. Sunita says:

    God!! so totally agree. I hate that “anything” and the dissatisfied look that follows at the dinning table every evening.


  5. Imp's Mom says:

    Same story at home too.. and mum and I are preparing a menu for 2 weeks.


  6. Paritosh says:

    Same situation between my mum and me. Frustration is understandable.


  7. aanteladda says:

    Ha! my friend’s mum once dished out empty plates and say..this is what ‘kuchh bhi’ looks like. Now eat it! And that was it for that meal. πŸ™‚


  8. Phew…it’s a epidemic…i dont even get a hmmm…the TV just continues to be prettier than me and get more attention!


  9. BlueMist says:

    Sigh. Most of the times I wonder “why there is do dish that reads “kuch bhi ” ! ” 😐


  10. mukul says:

    oh my god.i fell off my chair whilst reading this one. and forwarded it to a dozen friends of mine.

    i think, men are taken aside in school/college or somewhere and taught how to do this!!after reading the comments, this suspicion is confirmed.WHY do all end up saying exactly same sentence.the syntax, the semantics and the expressions are like manufactured off one single line at some factory.


  11. shilpadesh says:

    My god when it comes to What To Cook, the husband is the same way! And when he sits at the table he looks questioningly at the food. I feel like throwing the whole pateela on his head 😦


  12. M says:

    This isn’t just a male province – the mental blankness applies to everyone! I am usually the most decisive person when it comes to deciding what to make, but when my (visiting) mother asks me what I want to eat, I blank out and go “anything”! But I love pretty much all food, so no dissatisfied looks from me. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    When I do the cooking, I have simply hardened my heart/mind to not care about looks/dislikes! You had your chance of input, didn’t provide, so you lose out…:) πŸ™‚



  13. Doli says:

    hahaha my mom also has the same frustration every morning! πŸ™‚


  14. Shilpa says:

    Kudos to you…You are ONE PATIENT WOMAN….!!


  15. kenny says:

    i never ask him. bloody waste of time. now the cook never asks me either (bloody waste of time, i hear her muttering).


  16. We should have five-star kitchens and cooks to keep pace with these menz! Just 10 mins ago; a reasonably nice home-made Chinese meal has been made…the spouse orders a Subway. And on days when I could do with a Subway myself, I get the, “Junk food for dinner? Tch, tch, tch. Why can’t you eat what’s been made at home?”



  17. excuse me- now I want all of the above choices


  18. Anon says:

    may be u should start calling one of the items as ‘hmmm’ instead of say ‘idli- sambar’ or chicken biryani etc.. So at breakfast if it is ‘hmm..’ idli-sambar is for breakfast. at lunch hmm.. is chicken biryani πŸ˜€


  19. Sonia says:

    Umm Kiran, can I come stay with you??? I want a cook to come by in the morning and me to tell her what to make…..I am stuck making everything all by my lonesome – sob sob sob…..price of living in the US I guess 😦


  20. starsinmeyes says:

    Echoing Sonia…can I come stay with you?

    We go through this for every bleddy question, not only ‘What to cook?”, but “what’s the plan for the weekend?” “When shall we do the (millions of) documents/paperwork pending in our lives?” and so on and so forth. Gah! And then we’re called controlling!


  21. Kiran Manral says:

    @all: LOL. Looks like this post has touched a sore point with every woman on the comment list….


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