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.”
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.
Image via Pixabay
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This strange love story reminds me of Princess Diana when she gave an interview about Prince Charles - "There were three of us in this marriage!”
This love was flawed and broken the way only we humans know how to break things with our ego, pride, insecurity and complexities!
Where do I even begin to tell the story of how deep a love can be, how it transcends time, place and people. Perhaps this is a story about how women are their own worst enemies. Either way it is a story that tells us how frail, fragile and fraught we are as humans and how much we hurt each other.
This love story began when I was two years old. Growing up in India in a culture that wove love stories like Laila Majnu, Heer Ranjha and the epic symbol of love, the Taj Mahal, into the very fabric of our existence, love was always an integral part of our lives.
One such love story was of a boy and a girl who were neighbours. The boy, an athlete, artist and a poet, found his muse in this shy, thoughtful and in her own way poetic girl, who seemed to worship the very ground he walked on. Her face could be found in all the paintings he created, and her name in every poem he wrote. The girl called him Sagar, which means ocean, symbolizing his all-encompassing love for her.
Everything thing was going well; their wedding date was being finalized, till the boy’s older brother who was a doctor in the same little town, got accepted into Stanford Medical School to do his MS.
Earlier my husband would say, 'Arey! What is there in making dal-roti? It's so simple.' After he had to cook everyday when I was ill, he has stopped saying that to me!
“Arey! What is there to do in making dal roti? Put a handful of lentils in the cooker and let it whistle and make two rotis. After all, how long will it take?” A handful of dal (lentils) and two rotis! This is the story of every woman and no one seems to understand.
Some time ago, after a shopping spree, my husband and I entered the house, exhausted. I had just about kept all the bags aside, when my husband said, “I am very hungry, can you make something.”
I looked at my husband in amazement and thought, ‘He had just had food, how did he get hungry again so soon?’
My husband, as if he had read my face, said, “Arey! You know that my stomach is not filled with outside food. Just make dal roti. What is there to do in making dal roti? Put a handful of lentils in the cooker and let it whistle and make two rotis. After all, how long will it take?”
‘Is this the way dal (lentils) and roti are made?’ The thought came to my mind. ‘After all, I also went along and now I am tired too.’ I was also getting angry at myself that after all, I had spoiled the habit of everyone in the house.
“She wanted to work, beyond these four walls where no one would sneer at her and where each and every task she did was not something which she was ‘supposed to do’.”
“She suddenly wanted to work, beyond these four walls where no one would sneer at her and where each and every task she did was not something which she was ‘supposed to do’.”
Here is the third winner of our March 2017 Muse of the Month contest, Meha Sharma.
The cue for this month was from the movie English Vinglish, in which Sridevi has decided to give up on learning English after her husband speaks harshly to her. Her niece tells her then, that she cannot give up, and must go on!
It was a quiet sunny afternoon, the wind ruffled her hair and her sari fluttered as if in a hurry to break free and fly unabated far away towards the unseen horizon. Seema quickly reined in her sari pallu and pulled back her tresses. As she sat in the auto rickshaw, her mind was awry with thoughts that seemed to be playing a game of tug of war. She did not know who should be triumphant in the game that her thoughts seemed to be playing. She seriously did not have an answer to this predicament life had put her in.
60 years ago, an Indian husband who displayed absolute faith in his wife
In these days of couples threatening to divorce for the flimsiest reason let me give an example of a mature and understanding person. He was 26 when he married a girl half his age. 60 years ago this was quite common.
When a woman marries a man much older than her, he is more like a guardian than a companion. The woman in my post whom I shall call Rajani was in awe of her serious minded husband and treated him with deference rather than affection. She was just thirteen and it was suffocating to play the dutiful wife and daughter-in-law all the time. And then her younger sister Prema got married 5 years after she had married and she had gone to attend it.
Her brother-in-law and his family seemed so different to her own. With them around it was always fun. Her brother-in-law and his younger brother sang very well and would treat them to vocal music each evening when they visited them. Her brother-in-law would crack jokes and pose riddles and she would try to solve them. In short, she had enjoyed herself at her sister’s wedding and the week that followed. Those days weddings were a five day affair and the boy and his family stayed on for 3 more days since an auspicious day for their departure was not immediately available. Rajani had grown particularly fond of the groom’s younger brother Sundar and the two promised to remain in touch. Her own husband Rajan had returned to Bangalore soon after the wedding and had asked that his wife be sent back with an escort. It so happened that Sundar was to return to work via Bangalore and he offered to escort her. It seemed a suitable arrangement to all concerned. He dropped her off and left.
The memories of the good times spent at her sister’s wedding kept returning and she quickly wrote a letter to Sundar recounting the enjoyable evenings at the wedding. He reciprocated with an equally warm and affectionate letter and the communication continued for the next three years. Her own husband did not think much of the letters she asked him to post. He did not bother to check the address assuming that it was addressed to her parents or one of her sisters.To her, Sundar was a good friend – someone closer to her in age. She was just 18 years old and it was not unnatural for her to enjoy communicating with a person who had a friendly temperament. She truly saw nothing wrong in that. But Sundar thought otherwise. He was enjoying the attention being given to him and assumed that she had fallen for his good looks and golden voice. He was about to be engaged to the daughter of an advocate in Chennai and his family had gathered for the function. It was then that he sought to have fun at Rajani’s expense.