Bold Confrontation

If you and your ‘husband’ want to go, you may go but remember I am totally against this and you need not step into this house again

“Seema, shall we go for a movie tonight?’ called out Sundar from downstairs. “ Not today, I wish to attend the birthday function of my college friend. Have you forgotten about it Sundar? She sent us an e-vite last week. I will come home by 4 from my office today and you also make it fast. We have to be there by 7 in the evening,” replied his wife of six months.

“Ya, it just slipped my mind. I have some report to complete today. I shall leave home early today morning. It is just 6.30 right now. I will catch up with my paper reading and exercise in the office if I find the time. Will leave in another 45 minutes to wrap up the report and return home by around 4.30 pm. I know how much socializing means to you my dear, “replied Sundar. Seema, by nature, is a people-person and brushes aside the negative side of people easily unless it is a serious issue and loves partying and attending functions.

It is now 5 in the evening and Seema, dressed up in one of her best salwar kameez is all decked up to leave for the party. Soon, Sundar arrives and the lovely couple leave for the social gathering. It is one of fun, leg-pulling and enjoyment. Sundar joins his friends and Seema hers and their chit-chat revolves around various topics. They are the centre of attention there.

Rishika, a distant relative of the Sundars, “Hey Seema, hope to see you next week at Sundar’s cousin’s wedding. “ Seema is momentarily confused, “Whose wedding?” Rishika continues, “Sundar’s second Chacha, Shankar’s son is getting married next week. Did you not get the invite’” asked Rishika in a sarcastic tone, knowing well about Sundar’s family.

Not wanting to let down her in-laws, “Ya they were talking something about it. I probably missed seeing the invite. Will find out on our return home.” “Go ahead and find out. I did not even see you at Sundar’s aunt sixtieth birthday celebration, if I am correct it is Mala aunty, the last sister of your father-in-law. What’s happening Seema? You are such a social person. I feel sad for you for having gone into that family. No offence meant to anyone,’ so saying Rishika moved along.

Soon Seema and Sundar were on their way home. “Why this silence Seema? Usually, you talk non-stop after a party. What’s up my dear? Did anyone pass any unpleasant remark or is it some disturbing news that you heard at the party? Open up and tell me.” On hearing this Seema, who was silent so long, burst out, “Sundar, I hear that your cousin is getting married next week and I am kept in dark about this. Why is it that you or your parents did not tell me? Do you not know about this?” “Yes, Seema, I do know about this but how can we go uninvited for the wedding? We have not received any invitation.”, said Sundar.

“I felt bad when I heard Rishika telling me about my own family wedding. Also, when people talk of the fun they have during functions it hurts me a lot. Today several of our friends were discussing their travel to various places to attend weddings as it is wedding season now. Why is this that we do not get invited for any of your family functions? Tell me Sundar, be frank,” said Seema in a tone mixed with irritation and sadness. Even though Sundar had been maintaining silence on this issue for some time, he now thought that there is no point in keeping his spouse in the dark on family matters.

“Seema darling, my dad has accumulated a lot of wealth at the cost of his relationship with his siblings, relatives and friends. I have seen my aunts and uncles coming to this house during my childhood days. It so happened that my Shanker chacha once asked my dad for some monetary help to pay for his son’s school capitation fee, promising to return the same in six month’s time but could not keep up his word and the repayment was made only after a year, that too without the interest amount which my dad wanted . My dad was terribly upset over this matter and even though my mom suggested he waive off the interest as my uncle is not very well off, he insisted on collecting the interest. Harsh words were exchanged and from that day, my chacha reduced the frequency of his visits to our house. Even when he tried to patch up the relationship, my father maintained stony silence, for the fear that he would once again ask for some loan. My mom always tried to make my father see some reason in his arguments but never once did he pay any heed to her explanations. When my chacha noticed that he was not receiving a warm welcome in our house, he stopped coming. How can you expect him to invite us? Likewise, my only Bua Mala was also not treated well by my father. He always felt that she was poking her nose in our family affairs and so kept her at a distance. All said and done, my father shuns people as he is always under the impression that people will want money from him as he is slightly well off in our entire family. But the fact remains that all our family members are well off today and what they need is a healthy relationship amongst the members, which my dad fails to understand.” Heaving a huge sigh, Sundar continued, “Go and ask your father-in-law whatever you want. Let’s see what answer he gives.”

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Sundar’s father Rana sat relaxing after dinner in front of the TV. “Papa, I need to talk to you,” said Seema. “Yes, Beta go ahead.” Seema directly hit the nail. “Learnt from Rishika, our distant relative that there are some functions held in our family for which, the invitations are not extended to us.” “Come to the point,” said an irritated Rana. “Well Papa, Shanker chacha’s son is getting married next week and you are the eldest in our family. Why are we are not invited? We did not attend Mala aunty’s sixtieth birthday party as well. Forgive me for telling you, but I feel that old issues are to be forgotten and we should move on in life. I don’t think that anybody will disrespect you if you go to their houses as everyone wants to lead a harmonious life. Papa, they will surely receive you warmly. This is my thinking. I always enjoy social gatherings and the feeling of happiness and contentment it gives me is immense and cannot be described in words.”

“No more of this Seema. If you and your ‘husband’ want to go, you may go but remember I am totally against this and you need not step into this house again.”

“Yes Papa,” replied Seema calmly. “We do not require any money from you, but want to lead a satisfying and happy life. We are going for the function and if you do not want us to live with you, we are prepared to live separately but will keep visiting you and Ma often. Papa, please understand that we can earn any amount of money but that money cannot buy happiness which comes out of harmonious living amongst family members. We need people Papa and money cannot take precedence over people. Well, I have said what I wanted to say. You are not prepared to listen to your son, so I have no hopes that you will consider my views and listen to me either.”

Sundar’s mom, Roopa was stunned when she heard this. “Well done, my Bahu. I am also coming with you to the wedding. After all, I am their Babhi, who is always ready to forgive and forget.”
“Yes Ma, we all will go for the wedding. They will be definitely happy on seeing us,’ said a smiling Sundar. On seeing his wife taking sides with his daughter-in-law and son, a flabbergasted Rana stood speechless. He left for his room in a huff! Sleep evaded him in the night and he tossed and turned in his bed and it was 3 am. The scene of the previous night played and replayed in his mind. ‘Who is at fault’, thought he. ‘Is it me or others?’ Having come to some conclusion, he dozed off to sleep and woke up in the morning with a clear mind.

Rana called his family and announced, “Bahu, the whole of last night your words were ringing in my ears and I finally understood that the people for whom I have accumulated wealth care for it in the least. What is the use of that wealth without you all? You are much younger to me but have shown me the correct way. Come let us all go for the wedding.” Everyone’s face radiated with happiness on seeing the change of heart in Papa Rana. “Certain situations can be corrected only with the certain amount of confrontation and arguments, which my better half did!” commented a proud Sundar.


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