Small Talk: Marriage


Jul 21, 2019


Illustration by Shreyaa Krritika Das

Me – Don’t ask.

Niece – Why?

Me – Because I don’t want to talk about my day. My day was the worst.

Niece – It was a poo day.

Me – That’s exactly what it was.

Niece – Now ask me.

Me – Ask you what?

Niece – About my day.

Me – I don’t want to know about your day.

Niece – Ask.

Me – I have absolutely no interest in your day, little dude.

Niece – Ask, ask.

Me – No. 

Niece – I got married.

Me – Oh my god.

Niece – See? I told you, ask!

Me – Wow. Who did you marry?

Niece – Ezhilarasu.

Me – Okay. Well, at least he has a nice name.

Niece – Ya.

Me – Do I know this Ezhilarasu?

Niece – He came for my birthday party. 

Me – Was he the one who kept biting the sofa?

Niece – No, he was wearing my princess wings.

Me – Oh him! Well, I’m glad you found a dude who is not afraid to wear princess wings. Does your mom know you’re married?

Niece – No.

Me – Aw, you told me first.

Niece – Ya because you were sitting here.

Me – Right. So, what’s it like being married?

Niece – It’s fine. How come you’re not married?

Me – Because.

Niece – Because why. 

Me – I don’t know. I don’t feel like it.

Niece – I don’t feel like eating murungaka sambar, but Amma says I have to.

Me – Ya, it’s kind of like that, except I don’t have to listen to your Amma.

Niece – My friend Jiah isn’t married also.

Me – Some people aren’t, it’s fine. And your friend Jiah is your age so there’s that.

Niece – I’m married but.

Me – So you are. Do we get to meet him sometime?

Niece – Why?

Me – I don’t know, seemed like the polite thing to say. How come you didn’t invite me for the wedding?

Niece – You were on the phone.

Me – So now what are you going to do?

Niece – I’m going to do drawing.

Me – What about your husband?

Niece – Hm?

Me – You don’t know where your husband is?

Niece – No.

Me – And this doesn’t seem odd to you?

Niece – Maybe he went home for lunch.

Me – Well, I wish you both happy married life. Here.

Niece – What it is.

Me – A paper clip.

Niece – I like Dairy Milk.

Me – Well, this paper clip is your wedding present. May it bring you much joy and inner peace.

Niece – Okay. You want to give me Dairy Milk?

Me – No.


Niece – I tell you something.

Me – Dude, no.

Niece – Why?

Me – Because you’ll say something weird and too many weird things have happened to me already.

Niece – But I tell you something.

Me – No, don’t tell me anything, I don’t want to know.

Niece – I got married.

Me – You already told me this, and it was bad enough the first time.

Niece – No, again I got married.

Me – Isn’t that illegal?

Niece – I married Jiah.

Me – Wow, what happened to Ezhilarasu?

Niece – Nothing.

Me – You guys were like, “Meh, this is boring now.”

Niece – Ya.

Me – Why didn’t you go for marriage counseling?

Niece – Actually, I forgot.

Me – You forgot you were married to Ezhilarasu?

Niece – Ya, but it’s fine I think so. Also I lost the paper clip.

Me – That’s too bad.

Niece – Anyway it’s not a good gift. I like Dairy Milk.

Me – So it’s you and Jiah now, is it?

Niece – Ya. She has remote control helicopter.

Me – Well, that’s a good reason to marry someone, I guess. What about her personality?

Niece – Once she sneezed and all this stuff came out of her nose and I saw.

Me – Classy.

Niece – Can I have a Dairy Milk?

Me – Why?

Niece – Because I got married.

Me – You do not get a Dairy Milk for getting married.

Niece – On TV they give.

Me – This is not TV land. We’ve talked about this.

Niece – But you gave me a paper clip and I didn’t like it.

Me – Yeah, well, life’s tough sometimes. Always remember that. 

Niece – Chupa Chups?

Me – I have no idea what you said just now.

Niece – Chupa Chups.

Me – What does that mean?

Niece – Can I have a Chupa Chups?

Me – No, it sounds problematic.

Niece – Gems?

Me – No.

Niece – Tic Tac?

Me – No.

Niece – You have to give me something.

Me – Go bring Jiah, I’ll give you both something.

Niece – What?

Me – It’s a surprise.

Niece – You can’t give me paper clip again.

Me – Oh. Okay, would you like a potato?

Niece – Can I have a tomato?

Me – A tomato? Really?

Niece – Ya. I like tomatoes. And I like Dairy Milk.

Me – Okay, then let the tomato be your wedding gift. Wish you happy married life, dear. 

Niece – Okay, but I like Dairy-.

Me – You’re not getting a Dairy Milk, dude. 

Niece – I know why. Because life is tough sometimes.

Me – That is exactly right.


Written By Kuzhali Manickavel

Kuzhali Manickavel’s collections “Things We Found During the Autopsy,” “Insects Are Just like You and Me except Some of Them Have Wings,” and chapbooks “The Lucy Temerlin Institute for Broken Shapeshifters Guide to Starving Boys” and “Eating Sugar, Telling Lies” are available from Blaft Publications, Chennai. Her work has also appeared in Granta, Strange Horizons, Agni, Subtropics, Michigan Quarterly Review and DIAGRAM. She used to blog at http://thirdworldghettovampire.blogspot.com/.


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