Romance is…..a warm bhutta!

Media has fine-tuned the celebration of specific ‘days’ to such an extent that one can’t forget a day even if one wants to. Amidst days dedicated to Mother, Father, Fourth Cousin, Hugs, pizza and whatever-not, there is one dedicated to Love too. As if such a profound emotion can be condensed and confined to one day!

Though I had married a tall, dark and handsome guy (which apparently was the formula endorsed by M&B novels as the most romantic and desirable specimen of the species), he was nothing if not unromantic. We never went moonlight walking or did any of the other things romantic couples were supposed to do.

Not that I was concerned much. Perhaps I was as unromantic he was or perhaps it was not high on my list of priorities in the relationship. Special days in our lives went unmarked by expensive gifts or flowers or even the ubiquitous Archie card that was all the rage in those days.

But before you decide that there was no romance in the relationship, do read the rest of the post.

Of the many moments which could give a run for all the cards, flowers and chocolates of the world, I’ll just share but two.

One of them concerns a bhutta 😊……

I was pregnant with my first child and had this insatiable craving for warm, aromatic bhutta, roasted on a charcoal fire by the roadside and smeared with tangy masala with a lemon wedge. And in those days we got the real bhutta, not the cloyingly sweet American corn we get today that has killed the original. But I am digressing.

So, I would waddle to the market every evening to get several things done in one trip – shop for vegetables, complete my walk and get myself a delicious cob of corn, fresh off the fire! All jokes about me being in danger of delivering a corn cob instead of a baby didn’t faze me in the least.

One evening the bell rang just as I was getting ready to leave for my bhutta walk. When I opened the door, there he stood, my L&M, proudly holding out a bhutta, carefully wrapped in its husk, smelling divine and setting me drooling. He usually came home rather late from work to avoid the peak hour rush, but that day had decided to surprise me.

I bet no flower would have smelt as sweet and no chocolate tasted so good. My squeal of delight must have been reward enough for him to make up for the crowded commute he had had to suffer. He has bought me many bhuttas and other things besides since that day, but that one remains etched in my mind and heart.

The second one happened in a sick room.

The little one was about a year-and- half and very sick with a stomach bug. I was exhausted sitting up with him, cleaning his poop and puke as his little body heaved out whatever little I tried to feed him. The L&M offered to take care of him for the night and urged me to catch up on some sleep and rest. He was himself bushed but he insisted, so I reluctantly left after instructing him on the medicines to be given and how to hold the child if he began throwing up. I showed him to save the bedsheets by covering them with towels or newspaper. He nodded somberly.

Later in the night I woke up and went to look up on the father-son duo. And what do I see? A shirtless L&M cradling the child who was sleeping peacefully, while wiping his sleepy eyes with a wet kerchief to keep from nodding off. The shirt was bundled and thrown in one corner – obviously soiled.

He looked up instinctively and gave a tired smile. If one could find romance in a room with a sick child and reeking with puke – I did.

I don’t think it was February 14.

For all those who go overboard about ‘Days’ dedicated to love I would like to say that romance is not in candle-lit dinners, chocolates and roses. It is sometimes found in a warm bhutta and caring for a sick child.


This guest post is by Zephyr, who blogs at The Cyber Nag, where she talks about social issues, families and kids. In her own words, “On my blog, I nag about things that affect me in some way and consequently I  make others react with a post on it.  Sometimes the Cyber Nag will take you back in time; at others you might just be living through the event; you will think, cry and you will laugh with me too.” Head over to the blog to read more of her wonderful writing. 

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  1. Frankly one doesn’t need to send a Valentine to wife if one loves her genuinely and demonstrates that love all through life by random acts of kindness especially when least expected,shows a real concern for her wellbeing, being present by her side when she needs and taking her load off when she is indisposed or bored with daily chores.These add value to relationship,strengthens the bond and make life very enjoyable than the ritual of formal celebrations
    A brilliant post by you as usual.

    1. How true. Life partners are supposed to be there for each other no matter what, and these simple gestures of love and caring only make the relation stronger. We all need a little bit of the warmth of a bhutta now and then…:)

  2. Aw I absolutely loved this post. While I believe we should celebrate every occasion that we get, I also believe that love cannot be restricted to a single day. However spontaneity wins over planned celebration any day.

    1. Spontaneity and the mind’s eye to see a moment of love and romance to preserve it for eternity, like these incidents. Would you believe that they are nearly four decades old, so fresh they are in my heart.

  3. This was so beautiful and so you and uncle. You know among all your posts, the relationship ones are my most favourite. My mouth started watering when I read about the bhutta. Oh how I love the ‘Indian’ bhutta so much so that even today G if he spots a cart would try to buy out as many as he can. I know exactly what you mean when you say that real love is in these gestures that makes the other person just right for you. Loved the post!

    1. Sorry dear. I didn’t check for new comments in a while here. Such incidents are what make marriage worthwhile. We need to file them away for posterity, Wait, we don’t actually need to do anything – they automatically get stored in our memories for all time. Thank you for your warm words of appreciation 🙂

  4. Beautiful post, Zephyr! These two incidents which happened so long ago, still remain in your mind, which a flower or sweet wouldn’t have made it! You both really love each other…in today’s words:)

    Nice to know you, Daakiya!

    1. Thank you Sandhya! I remember reading some of your posts written in this vein too 🙂 We settle into a comfortable groove as we age and the affection and accommodation come automatically. But the foundation is laid in the early years. It is important to see the small gestures for what they are, else it is tu-tu, mai-mai all the time 😀

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