*Sameer and *Ankita, in their late 20s, are both IT professionals from Gurgaon.
Ankita and I never went for a honeymoon after our wedding, deciding that we would take a break after a few months. However our timing could not have been worse. At any other time, Malaysia in the middle of March would have been perfect. However, the year 2020 – it was different.
Much of what we wanted to do in Malaysia was shut, and when we came back to India, we were immediately told to quarantine ourselves for 14 days. And I thought to myself, ‘I’ve just spent a week with Ankita. Here I am, getting the opportunity to do so for two more weeks’.
To be honest, I was more excited than taken aback. We both used to always complain that after the wedding, we hadn’t been able to spend quality time together. And these two weeks of quarantine would be perfect.
Time of our lives?
Well, at first, it was plain sailing. We did the responsible thing and told family, friends and the house help to stay away. And we had the time of our lives!
The sex was great. There was no need to wear clothes immediately afterwards, just lie in each other’s arms. Our biggest arguments were over what to watch on Netflix. But then, slowly, I started realising that we were watching more and more of what she wanted and nothing of what I did.
We were eating food that she liked. We were playing music that she liked. Initially they felt like minor irritants, but irritants for sure.
Stuck in a tiny apartment
And then other issues began creeping in. Our offices agreed that it was for the best if we stayed away from other employees, but insisted that we join in for team meetings via Zoom.
Only problem: between the two of us, we had only one pair of headphones, and our meetings often overlapped. And they could get quite loud.
I realised that small bickering had happened in the past too, but one of us would change the subject. Maybe by lighting a cigarette or by naming a restaurant that we had to try out. And the little argument would be forgotten.
But now, we were unable to go anywhere, and were stuck in a tiny apartment together. And sometimes, just being unable to escape the presence of the other person just seemed to make the irritation grow inside us, escaping in small explosions from time to time.
Slowly, what seemed like a gift from God, a fantastic piece of luck to be stuck with the love of my life for 14 days at a stretch, quickly turned into a nightmare. We started fighting more and more, snapping at each other at any given time, till we started only yelling at each other.
End of my marriage?
I feel ashamed of saying this now, but I had reached the point where I was doing a mental countdown in my head, waiting and willing for this quarantine to end so that I could get out, get away, have a breather.
And then the Prime Minister announced a nationwide lockdown for 21 days.
To say that I was crushed is an understatement. We had barely managed to go through a little more than a week before we were at each other’s throat. I had no idea how we were going to get through three more weeks. I seriously thought that this was to be the end of my marriage.
Talked for hours
I’ll always credit my Ankita for saving the day, so to speak. One day, rather than the usual snipes she had resorted to, she came to me and asked me what was wrong. Why I was upset.
And so I told her. Then she told me her side of the equation. How I was not helping out enough with housework and how my requests for small things, like a cup of tea, had started to sound like orders to her.
And we talked and talked. For hours. And we managed to fix things between us, at least for now.
I’ll still admit it, I’ll be glad when the lockdown ends. As will be my wife. But we are no longer at each other’s throat. We are no longer fighting. We still love each other. And we’re back to where we were all those months ago, when we decided to get married.
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.