Desmond Morris kept an interesting outlook, as an anthropologist who studied animal behaviour, later to discover fascinating similarities in the species that consider it elite- Homo sapiens. But this short story nudged me to wonder if Desmond Morris found hideous and wicked amongst animals. The nearest, I understand from animal watchers is that some species of primates like Chimps and Orangutans carry nefarious traits common in man. No wonder they are our not too distant cousins!
And here is the narration that,when read made me wonder about beasts and ask myself can it be helped if one becomes a misanthropist.
“I was not comfortable with the estrangement that crept in amongst them. And felt that there was nothing wrong in engineering a rapprochement and it may be a good thing to happen. Turning around the sour relationship would make the air pleasant and well-off. To me it seemed a sensible thought and especially so when the subjects of the story were siblings. She being my spouse, I was privy to her untold emotions. But she was adept in keeping matters of disaffection away from visibility. And, at the same time I could also sense the choke point in her when disaffection from quarters she considered her own anguished her with such intensity previously unknown. I was dismayed and surprised at the pathetic behavior meted out to her. I felt perhaps it was deign to even consider a rapprochement or an offer of redress. It negates the very essence, the spirit of what is rapprochement. Rapprochement alleviates unpleasantness that visit because of matters that were committed but later repented. I wondered if insolence, disdain and haughtiness may be considered such, more when there seems to be no apparent keenness in shelving those traits.
But I felt, fleeting and fickle that life is, why harbour ill will and bear grudge. More so when it is amongst ones close and near, by blood and birth and even friends who bear a place in our bosom? So I decided to let the frost thaw when the woman phoned me to ask if she would go with us for the weekend. I saw an opportunity to bring back the old days, when it was bonhomie with lot of apparent affection thrown in their midst. It would help to assuage hurt feelings if she and the woman are traveling together in the car over the fair distance we planned that weekend. Unpleasantness and hurt emotions may make way when you are in physical proximity and in easy surrounds.
Later in the evening that weekend Friday, after we checked in at the resort, we met at the Club house of the Hotel, atop the hill overlooking the valley - the glinting town far below. It was a perfect retreat and entrapment with the starry sky above and glittering reflections of the town far below- lending a heavenly state of ambience. The haunting smoothness of the Hindustani on the stereo relaxed every sinew and nerves from head to toe. Looking around at the full house, I felt it was fortunate to have had the late realisation that afternoon and called the hotel to reserve seats at the club house. The atmosphere lend by the serenity besides the soothing effect lend by the visuals outside the glass paned windows and the euphony inside was only gently jostled by the intermittent clanking of the cutlery. Conversations were soft enough in hushed murmurs.
She and the woman were seated across me at the far side of the table. I did not interrupt and let them continue with their conversations and restrained banter. She was quite lively through the journey and seemed to have revived the lost times of old. She chose to sit in the rear passenger area of the car, as often the woman while she travelled with us complaints sickness if seated in the rear and would choose to seat in the passenger seat in front with me at the wheel. And, almost through the drive until she fell back in her seat asleep, she was leaning forward between me and the woman and indulging in animated chatter. Now, seated next to the woman, her visage was sprightly like old times. I felt that it will be appropriate to convey to the woman, the guarded thoughts and feelings that seethed in me. She must not take my spouse for a naiveté, a nitwit, one without emotions or feelings and must accept that she has a heart that can offer unrequited love and affection, but which throbs in deafening silence when trampled and shunned. I began by telling the woman that emotionally she has been alienated away from them. And these days were nothing but torment to her. It was often, that at night she rolled about in bed unable to sleep or walked about outside on the lawn quite disquiet. For she had much love for them, while their lack of concern and empathy coupled with their distancing from her was too disconcerting. And, also I told her that their attitude and conduct were to quote, “the unkindest cut of all” and which even brought her to bear the macabre idea of ending it all. However it was good that she could today get to efface her anguish. The woman listened to me with expression of much understanding and occasionally looked at her sister in askance and astonishment, conveying the message that it was all her silly mind and was much ado about nothing. She maintained a condescending tone and even rebukes.
While the desserts were being served, I excused and went to the lavatory and also to steal the comfort of a quick cigarette in the coolness of the mountain air outside.
We left the place on the evening of the second day and I was satisfied that the short but good time in the much pleasant climes of the hills was doing good to her after all those days of melancholia and anguish.
It was about a month after, when I was back from a tour that she mentioned it over breakfast. She asked me if I would recall the night at the resort when for a short few minutes I was away from her and the woman while the desserts were being served. I said I did. She then suggested that the woman, her sister, may have had different agenda. I looked up at her in askance. She told me that the woman chose the moment I was away to suggest to her that she be careful about my ways and that I may be having an amorous relationship with another woman. I agape, asked her why the woman had to concoct such a vicious story and how that mattered in the context we discussed. And it then dawned on us- the smiles, the hugs, the sweet nothings and even the occasional jerks of tear were all artful deceit of the woman. She would want to have strife amongst us and what else could achieve that better than a journey seeking reconciliation with us and then a malicious story with lecherous undertones subtly planted in our midst? A potent keg of gunpowder! ”