Disclaimer: Just for fun and a good laugh, recipe follows...
Today I want to start with a story...well not actually a story, more like an incident that happened to me when my husband was in B school, some four/five years back...read on...
"Currently reading Marian Keyes "A Charming Man". Domestic violence is weaved into the novel. Met a character who is definitely a victim, all under confident and hopeless and shivery. Knew someone like that while growing up. So kind of recognised the signs and somehow got to understand the person I grew up watching, much better. I keep understanding her better and better now, when I am thousands of miles away and when she no longer is a victim and very much a survivor. I wonder how this helps her. But it certainly helps me.
Apart from that, predominant thought was about the 'self'. While reading kept thinking I am so lucky to have married a nice, gentle and kind man, whom I can boss quite shamelessly, yet who is no mouse and can give me his two pennies worth of stern lecture when pushed too much, which can put me properly and tightly (cos of my figure, no fault of his) into place! The first time I got his lecture, I can tell you I was so surprised that my mouth was left hanging open in a perfect o. Stunned I forgot to fight back (and I am a champion fighter).
Anyways, while reading the book I kept thinking thank God and thank my runaway guardian angel (who sometimes does good things for me, belated realisation strikes) am married me to my husband and not some nasty wife beater. In fact at one point got so overcome with emotions that actually bothered to get up from bed and go over to the other room to communicate to husband my thankfulness. Isn't this what marriage gurus say? Do these small things which keep the romance alive and make the partner feel loved and appreciated? After all 90% of the time all he gets from me are grumbles and complaints. No, for a change I can be a thankful and appreciative wife. Let me tell you, this need to be magnanimous is very strong and has to be gratified almost immediately.
Being the imaginative sort had a little Bollywood movie style skit playing in my mind. Something like this....
'Oh baby I am so thankful that you are my husband"....
Husband startled: "What a nice thing to say! This is why I love you so...."
You know...instantly violins start playing in the background and pink rose petals comes floating down, and we do an impromptu jigg (hate dancing, though not in imagination) and the rest of it.
All this flashed through my mind during the few seconds that it takes me to trek from our bedroom to the sitting room where husband is immersed in school work. Must congratulate my imagination for not only being vivid and totally filmy, but super quick as well.
So with great anticipation of a momentous marriage moment, I knock on the sitting room door. No response, so a second knock and then a third one. I try to hear what is happening behind the closed door. No sound. Hmm. Feeling a little impatient, I tentatively push the door open. Husband engrossed with a fierce frown of concentration, computer screen shows writing in progress. I gaze at husband's face (which looks slightly eerie in the blue fluorescent light of the computer in an otherwise dark room) and then at the screen. Some words dance towards me: customers, insights, designs, markets...I sigh....dear husband...so bogged down with essays, assignments, exams, truant group mates with Ph.Ds in free riding and irresponsibility....you know the usual B school crap. My love overflows and I tap gently on his shoulder. No response...poor, poor dear...if possible my love doubles. But the husband should look up when his wife taps on his shoulders, no? So re-tap...and then again, this time tap resembles a stern shake. Startled husband looks up....concentrated frown marred with worry. He looks at me excepting to hear that great disaster has befallen me in the bedroom hence the tapping err shaking.
"What?" a question which comes out more like a bark, or a battle cry, the knight all ready to spring into action to slay the dragon disturbing me in the bedroom.
Now this reaction was not part of my rocking imagination, so I am taken aback. And just when I need my wits about me, they flee from the scene, leaving me alone. But husband is looking at me expecting an answer. So I fumble "No...nothing....err... just wanted to tell you that...I...mmm...am reading this book on domestic violence and I...I mean...that...am (now in a rush like a speeding train late at night) so thankful that I married you..." My romantic dialogue sizzles out.
Shit that did not come out loving and romantic, did it? But have great faith on husband to be more romantic. Wait, all anticipation.
So what did husband do? Hug me? Say pretty things? Promise to love me for ever and ever?
All I got out of him was an uninterested "Oh" and then back to his computer screen. I mean that is it. No reaction, no romance, no love scene, no violin, no nothing. Essay winning over romance, assignment winning over love, concentration refusing to give space to mutual appreciation, in short B school taking over marriage!
The moment which had great potential to blossom into what not, turned out even flatter than a month old Coke in an open bottle!
I want a clarification: when marriage gurus counsel to be spontaneous do they include wives of those B school stressed husbands as well? I do not think they were ever married to one, otherwise would never make a suggestion which just might wrap up their careers forever!"
Cut to the present, work has taken over B school and life goes on more or less in the same vein. I know with the Val Day fast approaching you would be more interested in hearing about mush and romance. But sadly I have none to give you. With the passing years I have realised that it is rather silly to want movie style romance, that hardly ever happens and it is even sillier to designate a day for romance. Maybe it works for teenagers but certainly for the 30 something me. Am I too cynical? No, I think I am tired of mass media imposing a preconceived notion of romance and how couples should measure up to it. For me the day is like any other, but if I get the chance to eat good food, I do not let it pass.
So when Hartley's wrote to me about their Val Day breakfast challenge, of course I had to take it up. I decided to make heart shaped pancakes served with apples stewed in Hartley's strawberry jam. It came out a treat and if you make this for your partner for this Val Day I am sure you will earn lots of romantic brownie points.
The recipe is easy and totally fuss free and but eat it while it's still warm. It's not one of those recipes which will nicely heat up or taste good cold. So don't let romance come in the way of good food!
If you are into celebrating Val day have a good one. This year it's over the weekend too. But if you are not order your spouse to make you breakfast in bed and have a lazy morning, watching Saturday float by.