I took the phone from Tahir and looked at the screen to see what he found so funny that he was busy laughing over it, but returned it to him a few seconds later, seeing no reason to join in his merriment.
‘I really don’t find this funny at all hubby dear, in fact I find the joke in bad taste.’ I complained.
‘Really, and what if it wasn’t a joke? What if it really happened this way?’ He asked still suppressing a laugh
‘I don’t think it happened at all. I’m sure it’s something made up by some anti-women man who wants all men to see us as problems and not the solutions that we are in your lives.’ I insisted.
‘No Bint, I’m sure this is a true story. We are talking about a factual situation, not a sentiment-based issue. I’m sure you remember what you just read, an author wrote a book ‘How to change your wife in 30 days’ and won a bestseller when the book sold over a million copies in one week. He however noticed a typo in the title of the first edition and so went and corrected it. The corrected version now reads ‘How to change your life in 30 days’ and he was able to sell only three copies in one month. So, natural enough, what sounds fabricated here?’ He queried.
‘What makes it seem fabricated is that men can’t be that desperate to change us. I mean what can be so bad about the woman who left her home and everything she’s used to, to come and make a new life with you? Should it be such a priority for a husband to want to change his wife in 30 days. What is wrong with her?’ I protested.
‘I don’t know what is wrong Bint and I certainly can’t answer all your questions but I do know that out there are men who really wish they could change their wives into different women, if they could.’ He declared.
‘Really?’ I asked looking up at him ‘and are you, by any chance, one of them?’
‘No, of course I’m not but just because I am not doesn’t mean these men don’t exist. I am only being fair to them and accepting that they have their reasons for wishing their wives were different.’ He explained.
‘But why should it be so? Look at the lot we take up as wives. We leave our parents homes, sometimes we even drop our father’s names, we take on the responsibility of home making and child bearing. We accept friends and relatives we never knew before because they are now connected to us through marriage. We try to please even people who show us obvious dislike because we feel it’s now our duty to do so. Probably in our parent’s homes we didn’t have to tolerate those who didn’t like us. And yet, inspite of all the changes and adaptations that come with being married, some men out there think they need to further mould us into shape, so what shape?’ I demanded.
‘Look, don’t get all worked up over this Bint. All over the world people are different. No two people are exactly alike. So don’t think because you are a good wife and you’ve made all those sacrifices in marriage, every other wife out there is the same. And not all men are the same too, maybe there are shortcomings of yours that I don’t even think about because I’ve learnt to live with them but there men who will take great exceptions to them and wish you would change. So see this whole thing in a broad light not in the narrowed down “no, women can be that bad” angle that you seem to like.’ He cautioned.
‘I see, so I have shortcomings that you have learnt to tolerate? Okay name them.’ I challenged.
‘Of course you do Bint, did you think you were perfect?’ He asked.
‘No, I never said I was perfect Tahir. But since you’ve just announced that I have flaws which you are struggling hard to tolerate, it’s only natural that I’d wish to know them so that I can change before you are tempted to look for a book that will guide you.’ I replied.
‘Well don’t worry about me Wifey dear, I’ve already told you I’ve learnt to live with them and maybe there are some of mine that you’ve also learnt to live with. This is why the Holy Qur’an says we are garments for each other (husbands and wives) because we cover each other’s faults and learn to tolerate them. But what I’d like you to understand Bint, is if there is a book, which became a bestseller because it said a wife can be changed in 30 days, believe me it’s because there are men out there who are desperate to have their wives change their ways in the quickest possible time. You see not every wife is as angelic as you, always trying hard to please me and not every husband is as angelic as me always turning a blind eye to your faults. That’s why we are a perfect couple.’ He concluded, with laughter in his voice.
‘You still consider this whole thing a joke Tahir. But the truth is I can’t understand why a man will be told here is a book that can change your life in 30 days and he wouldn’t subscribe to it; then he would rush and buy another one than says you can change your wife in 30 days. What is the attraction?’ I enquired.
‘The truth is we’ve always wanted to know how to conquer you. Yes, on the surface of it we are the bosses and you are under us in the family hierarchy. But we also know that that is only on the surface because like the funny saying goes “many a man thinks he is the boss in the house meanwhile he only houses the boss.” So on a serious note, we do want to know what’s going on in your minds and how we can tame you and get you to do our bidding always. So if a book says here are tips on how to change your wife we will naturally rush for it, not just because we want to change you but because we are curious to know more about this mysterious creature called wife. It’s an age-old problem that we’ve always wanted to know how you think. Do you the remember the Professor’s poem in the classic movie ‘My Fair Lady’? His simple question was “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”. Believe me the Prof’s question sums up the one thing all men, through the ages, have wanted to know: how you people think, why you women act in certain ways.
And this, my dearest Bint, is the reason the book about wife was a bestseller while the one about life remained a non-starter.’ He concluded, rising to his feet and making his way to the guest bathroom, to make ablution for Maghrib.
Readers of this column might have noticed how they couldn’t reach me through my old email in the last one year. Well, I have just registered a new email address. It is; [email protected]. And my phone number for text messages only is 08074468867