Have spent the last three weeks converting a bachelor pad into a home. Here’s a list of things you need to do, fellow geek-marrying women, if you venture into this exercise:
1. Find out how much the boy earned last month. Spend half of that sum on brooms, mops, cleaning liquids, cleaning solids, cleaning gases.
2. Open his clothes cupboard and pick every alternate shirt/t-shirt. Spilt them at the sides. These are your cleaning rags.
3. Wear a plastic bag over your hair, and scrub, swoosh, wash, rinse, mop etc.
Ok. None of this will make an iota of visible difference, except the net weight of the house will be 5 kilos lower. So move to phase 2.
1. Get furniture. At this stage, the boy might show symptoms of angina, stroke, or the flu. Ignore and Persist. Smart women will have had “the talk” about furniture well in advance, and when this stage comes, the boy will be a resigned-and-even-hyperenthusiastic partner in the shopping crime!
2. Begin with a cupboard for your clothes. Yes, so you brought three bags (one very small) of clothes. Add a dash of “you should have married a typical woman and then you’d know” in case the protest over this issue crosses 3-decibel muttering. Set up your cupboard and you’ll have your revenge when you catch the hero preening in front of the long mirror on the cupboard!
3. Get some cool storage space for his geeky stuff. This makes him enthu on shopping trips and shows him that he needs more shelf space for his CDs than you for your clothes. Remember, guilt is good!
4. Rip the archaic strings that hold up the prehistoric curtains. This will make him worry about the safety of the house that the landlord has left in his care. Don’t stop to wonder why dirty curtains are ok with him, but half suspended curtains aren’t. He will summon the landlord to stop the crazy wife, and the landlord will appear not only with a gift, but encouragement to change curtains, and will offer plumber and electrician help, which is much needed.
Simultaneously, or later, you can set up a kitchen. Here are the steps:
1. Throw away everything on the shelves currently. Save the pet jars and wash them and dry them.
2. Get a fridge. Ignore eye-rolling. He thinks one can live without a fridge. But then he also thinks one does not need three suitcases (one very small) of clothes. So get a fridge.
3. Get a gas connection. Setting it up makes him feel important and useful. Also the click of the lighter is a big event.
4. Get utensils. Be ready to field questions like “aren’t the ones we have already enough?” “what are you gonna use THIS for?” “so many?”… By now he will realize that resistance is futile and will silently hold the bag in a corner while you whip up a frenzy at Big Bazaar.
5. Get grocery. At this stage, he’ll be happy just being allowed to write out each individual item in his expenses sheet separately, instead of “home stuff” or “grocery” as you’d have put it.
Keep up the scrubbing and mopping everyday for at least three weeks, With any luck, you’ll be halfway through at the end of that duration. Here’s the rest.
1. Get curtains. Put them up. By now the boy is totally tuned into what’s happening and picks up a matching bedcover in the shop!
2. Home cooked food, and a cleaner floor, should have become incentives by now for boy to love the house that no longer looks or feels like his. Your moment of triumph will be when he brings in a friend to see the place, even before he has your permission (not clean enough yet, what will they think of me)
And then one day when you come from work and turn the key in the doorknob and hastily enter before the neighbor lady strikes up a conversation, you’ll see not a Ramsay Brothers film location, but a home. And hopefully a beaming boy at the clean dining table waiting with chai/for chai.
P.S.: The boy previewed this and said he fell for it all only because he wanted to. Ten extra points to you if you can hoodwink yours into believing that!!!