Recently at a family gathering the topic of conversation turned to border disputes. Being the only military person present in the gathering, I was asked to give my considered opinion and educate the rest. I took a deep breath before attempting to answer this most complex subject. I thought to myself, how I can ever pontificate on a country’s border disputes when I have not been able to resolve one at home.
The border dispute at home started some 40 years ago when I started sharing my bed with my newly married wife. At the very beginning, bereft of any experience and being totally new to the game, I made a number of concessions. The border treaty tilting heavily in favor of the better half was signed. An accommodative spirit, the overwhelming love and affection and large-heartedness that floods the early years of marriage ensured peace on the border.
Decades later, much like the Indo – China or Indo – Pak border – fissures started to appear. One night I was very rudely woken up and tersely told that I had forcibly occupied her territory and she had no space and was unable to sleep properly. I was ordered to vacate the occupied territory and withdraw deep into my own. Adding to my woes, there was no scope for arbitration or seeking the intervention of UN. Her decision was final. In the middle of the night I was forcibly pushed into a cramped corner while the privileged partner slept without a worry in the newly acquired area. WAR had been declared.
Mention of the previous night’s border incursion popped up on the breakfast table. Lady of the House (LOH) was not prepared to concede an inch of her territory, stating I was the aggressor and known for my land grabbing tendencies.
Since then, I have tried many subtle tactics to regain my part of terra firma such as occupying a favorable place well before LOH retires to bed. I have also tried employing the ‘Salami Tactics’ of the ‘Cold War’ era; wherein an aggressor takes in a landscape, piece by piece and the opposition is eliminated "slice by slice" until one realizes too late that it is gone in its entirety. Unlike other border disputes this battle is fought every night. New strategies have to be put in place or one is likely to get ousted from the disputed area altogether.
There are a number of other collateral issues connected with this border dispute.
The sharing of a blanket is akin to the sharing of river waters. Invariably the blanket gets pulled off and I am left with next to nothing. Any talk of separate blankets is frowned upon. Ladies are known to ruthlessly employ all kinds of emotional blackmail with utmost skill to force their will.
Keeping the reading light ‘on’ well beyond ‘pipe down’ timings is yet another ingenious way to make the man mellow and submissive. Any request made to switch off the light is met with a stern statement – turn the other way.
My preference for sleeping on the right side of the bed is also an issue. Fortunately for us this has been resolved once and for all. I have been ordered to sleep on whichever side is nearest to the bedroom door. The reason being – in case a robber comes into the room, I will be the first one to be attacked.
The ignominious alarm is yet another contentious issue. I am yet to come to terms with the LOH’s alarm which started blaring the song ‘Bum Bum Bole’ from the movie –‘ Taare Zameen Par’. The song is so loud and jarring, it is impossible to sleep for the next three days and you quiver like a guitar string. To help you understand what I mean, here is the song-
If the alarm goes off just once, it’s ok, but the final alarm at 6.15 AM is preceded by two other equally annoying ones at 6.00 AM and 6.05 AM.I don’t even want to talk about the generous use of the snooze button!
Snoring, elbowing, possession of pillows etc further complicate the dispute.
To this day, this border dispute remains unresolved.
Unlike other border disputes the warring partners continue to share the bed in whichever fashion it is divided each night in love and harmony.
Cheers and good night! And if you are anything like us, have a good border dispute tonight!