Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Sometimes it seemed childish, often it was; somewhere, the reluctance to grow up, more unfortunately pettiness and the amour propre -the ‘I’ out shadowing the ‘Us’.

“You know, it seems true it seldom can be fifty-fifty in a marriage”. She said.                                   “It can only be disproportionate, how so ever passionate and liberal one may be. That counts for both man and woman. It could only be sixty-forty or thirty seventy”. She paused, her eyes were brimful with tears but she would never shed, she held them back with amazing grace and painfully. I felt uncomfortable looking into her eyes, miserable that I could not offer much for comfort, except an occasional mutter, “It will be alright soon”.                                                                                        She  said, “Infatuation cannot afflict adults. Can it? But then in one’s teen how adult could one be?  It was falling in love; someone has to first, right? I don’t know if we fell in it the same instant or was I awed by his youthful charm, his enamouring self, candour and spirit that were lively?”
I told her I knew bits and pieces of their romance, the long courtship and then the fairy tale wedding itself. She cast way a promising career for a life with him. She put him on a pedestal. She ignored oblique misgivings passed about him while they were courting.  She decided that she would work very, very hard to keep things aloft if unpleasantness came about in their lives and she did. But she did that through silence. Ignoring and acquiescing often his infractions, his levity and his irresponsibleness, his waywardness and most of all his lack of openness that was always so in matters that concerned her, them and their children. That was very unlike him while they were courting. That was the mistake she did – the silence and wishing away and that has now come to torment her. He sailed along with not much understanding for her and her feelings. He was too preoccupied with his wide circle of friends, his increasing public importance as a young celebrity. To him she and her devotion to him was a fait accompli. It was a fairy tale beginning that did not quite tread the fairytale path as it moved forward in life. But he did not notice and she hoped it will reverse back on fairytale course.

It is hard to be torn between them two, for he is a  good friend and she attracts the respect that a dignified lady would. “Why don’t you talk to him? Make him sit here on the sofa, or at the dining table, have food together, talk over the difficulties, your feelings, apprehensions and loneliness. Make him understand what you folks are missing and there is more to life and family than a bunch of friends and acquaintances?”

“Hmm I have tried that in vain. But when do I get to see him. Off he goes at 9 and might or might not hop in for lunch, if he does he takes a nap and he is gone coming back after his usual revelry with friends at the club. It will be past midnight and I will have slept after staying awake as long as I could with dinner for the two of us on the table. He must think that his wife is at home. When children were growing up, I had enough to bother about and his absence or indifference did not matter much. My hands were full. Now they are gone and I’m left to sit and stare at the empty wall in front.” She said while she deftly touched the corner of her eye and with the tip of her little finger gently wiped the tear that would have dropped down her cheek. The élan and deftness of a danseuse was evident in her eyes and even in her fingers while she did that and when she gestured while speaking. “You would not do what he does. Would you?” She asked softly and enquiringly, she knew the answer.”You will not. Anyone who loves his family, hold it dear will not. I do not matter a wee bit in his scheme of things. I’m just a marionette, dancing , walking, running, sitting and going wherever he wants me to accompany.”

It is difficult to take sides here, though one may. The difficulty is his resentment sound so true while he confesses his mind and at the same time one feels that she is justified while listening to her. He blames it on her for being lazy and disinterested in activities.”Why could not she promote a school for dance?  Her reputation on its own will ensure a decent attendance?”                                         “Yes, precisely the question I asked her.” I said.                                                                             “And what did she say?”                                                                                                           “Nothing. Silence!” I said.                                                                                                                        “Exactly, what I want to tell you. She knows nothing. She just will not heed, listen.” He said.                                                                                                                                                     "But why don’t you discuss matters with her, your finance, your business? You see sharing your burden, your stress and strain of life with your partner makes a lot of difference. It enlivens the bond, the closeness. Man, you look half more than your age."                                                                          “Closeness, my foot, she will not understand all that. I see, you seem to have been carried away by her tale.” He sort of accused me.                                                                                                                “Look man as far as I can see, I do not feel happy about this discord in your midst. The quality time you spend with her is little. I’m certain you do not eat together. It is pretty true that a family that dines together stays together.” These are not little children to be told all this. Grown up folks!

 I tried to make her understand the professional talent that she was wasting. She need not have to sit back and rue what he does and what he does not do, curse her loneliness and the idiosyncrasies he has, (to put it politely). Yes it is true that he cannot draw the line between their lives and what that he is intoxicated about – his friends. To him acquaintances are friends. That sounds dismaying and discomforting. When she narrated about how some idiots, his friends move about with scant regard to her privacy and the privacy of her home, I could only wonder why such an intelligent respected fellow as her husband could be so thoughtless. It was gauche and intrusive of those fellows to be so impertinent, but then why invite people lacking social polish and etiquette to your privacy?             "I do not blame them. I blame my spouse. He ought not to have let them cross the living room. No woman other than I would swallow such graceless, cheeky behaviour even if the person is his bosom friend as he claims. I have been seeing this and bearing this excessive indulgence from the day I stepped into his life as his wife. His spread -out arms to every urchin- friends as he calls them embolden some that they show annoying impudence.”                                                                        “A friend would not be so cheeky.” I said.                                                                                                “Tell me what I should do when he is so indifferent and naïve? Oh it cannot be naiveté, a man of his age? Come-on people grow up. Wouldn’t they?” She was, I noticed quite indignant. Her eyes betrayed streak of disgust, like that swift display of intense emotion in the eyes of a bhrathanatyam danseuse enacting a moment of disgust and distaste.                                                   “It is plain and simple disregard, for his wife. It is as if I do not matter to him. I’m just a piece to showcase and I have been aware and have been so all these years. It is out of my volition because there is nothing I can do.”

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Badi dur se aaye hai pyaar ka.......

Some time ago a bloke observed that my blogs and the words I often use are so strong that they reek with venom. He suggested that by touching on such topics as I do and venting my feelings in the way I do, will corrode my mind. I agree partly. The topics I have blogged have been sometimes negative because they were part of life’s experience and that was also because one cannot be chasing butterflies all the while. That will be negation of a kind. I blog what I muse, what I experience. If expressing strongly on a subject is afflictive, corrosive and retrogressive, well what then is there to individual freedom to be expressive in the first place? There is satisfaction in being candid how so ever intense the unpleasantness that may evoke.

I was thinking in these lines and even the previous post I have on this Blog is the product of anguish resulting in face impudence.  It was then that I was invited to a birthday party and a musical night yesterday. I have been to that musical event (which is a monthly affair) a few times before as invitee. This time around it was at the invitation of a gentleman with whom I chanced to have some time at the club the past week. Though we have met often, nothing beyond a nod of acknowledgement had transpired between us. In course of this chat which was for more than an hour we spoke about few things. We spoke about his deceased brother who was incidentally known to me. The agony he and his mother went through, the marriage (providentially) of the girl who was betrothed to his brother, so on and about life. He has enough wealth to not bother about earning a living and he turned sixty that day.  While we were chatting his wife called him on the mobile and enquired if he would be in time for dinner. He told her to go ahead with her food and that he was with someone who knew his brother. His only child a girl was married and settled elsewhere. He however expressed that he often feels that there is something he his missing. I suggested he travel a bit, even if it is alone.  “Solitude that you get in travel cannot be matched”. I told what I have heard and read travelers say. He was not sure what he might be missing. But he said something is half full.

Before we parted for the night he invited me to the musical event on Saturday and that would also be the occasion for his birthday party. That was how, I went there yesterday as guest. As I mentioned I was at the event a few occasions before as guest of another friend and class mate who is also one of the organisers. The group is called “Reminiscence”. A sizable group of music lovers who are in their mid-thirties and all the way up to people who are retired and septuagenarians too! They get together along with spouses at a local hotel every last weekend Saturday. The three hour programme of songs with live orchestra ends with a decent buffet dinner. Spirit is served along. The songs can be from any Indian language and mostly film songs. Since the members themselves are singers the amateur talent middle aged and old are conspicuous by their presence. So are the golden numbers from as early as of the 1940’s and 1950’s from Hindi, Tamil & Malayalam.

It was heartening to see people in their sixties trod up and sing melodious numbers of Mukesh, Mannadey or T.M Soundarajan and P.Susheela. I was wondering the power music has to bring together people. Nobody seemed to be talking about age or feeling old. The positive air was vivid and everyone seemed to be standing on a plank of avidity. There is a retired pediatrician, septuagenarian who had looked after both my son and daughter. I told him that. He played admirably some old Hindi numbers on his mouth organ, besides a Mannadey number- a duet with an elegant and pretty lady. He was a living proof that all doctors are not boring, dreary dull headed, hot headed folks. Besides, the banter and jokes that were passed along was I felt taking repose.

The eldest in the group was a gentleman in his early eighties. He was attending the session after a couple of months of illness. He said that the first act of his when his doctor approved of him to leave home was to jump into the car and attend the evening’s programme. He sang a few lines in admirably intense and aged voice. "Badi dur se aaye hai pyaar ka tofa laaye hain
 Apana lo ya thukara do, pyaar ka tofa laaye hain
 Badi dur se aaye hai, pyaar ka tofa laaye hain”.

He reminisced about his attending a concert of Muhammed Raffi way back in the seventies in Chicago. When Raffi began the concert with this wonderful ode of love, the audience irrespective of race and that included many Pakistanis too, erupted swaying deliriously in ubiquitous joy. It was rupture he said like a mammoth dam breaking open.  In passing he lamented, “Alas, look how now music is being comparatmentalised and singers banned from singing”.

The power of music is transcendental; it has healing and soothing powers that no parochial ideology can resist. I came back as during the previous times without my noticing a sprint in my step. There are always brighter ways to deal with life in midstream or when you are bowing down into the horizon. That is certain.