The Difficulty Of Being Ker-Ber Lovers
The Difficulty Of Being Ker-Ber Lovers8 mins 324 8 mins 324
a QUOTE from "Dohe by Rahim"
कहु रहीम कैसे निभै, बेर केर को संग। वे डोलत रस आपने, उनके फाटत अंग।।
"Kahu rahim kaise nibhai, ber ker ko sang; Ve dolat ras aapne, unke faatat ang"
(how can the trees of a Ber and a Banana coexist in a harmonious company?; as soon as the Banana swings to enjoy breeze,it will be torn by the thorns of Ber)
Not at first sight
Cupid arrow did strike
When fate brought her to me
Destined thus got married we
But frequent hurting wrangles
Escalating at times to saber-rattles
But the desire sweet love we had so
Kept the fire burning deep in the tow
However a day so unfortunate
The skirmish caused so much a pain
Saw us seek a separation
Just the solution though inane
The beauty in youth I used to adore
Dearest still so in my heart's core
Parted to live with a handsome
None but to her the pet son
To me too a proud father's one
The refuge now she has is
My adjoining neighborhood
Meant to tease my manhood
But the initial shock now over
The positive me has taken over
For I reckon it a chance now
Missed when it was my youth
The naughty me now will have an affair
With this my new lady neighbor
As they say...
..... Better late than never
"When are you going to get rid of this shabby beard of yours?" came the oft-repeated taunt from the charming, active old her as I presented myself at the main door putting on my shoes; duly ready to leave for the weekly chore of buying vegetables from the Wednesday sale at the nearest store.
"How many times will it be enough to tell you that one of the much-awaited cheers in my retired life was not having to shave each morning"pat came my retort. "And let me add here that not everyone finds it shabby" my tone took to chiding in the garb of putting up a defense.
"And .." I continued hoping the last utterance would be an effective punch to silence her "..above all, as for myself, I find my face quite adorable supporting it".
Silenced, she was but not at all affected or given up in face of the salvos I had launched.
Such skirmishes have been a routine among us, and there since within a few months after she came to my life as a wife.
Each knowing in heart of the heart that we each one could not have asked for more a suitable partner, being complementary to each other.
Still, the married life journey being not so smooth, both we had felt the need to do something, so as to somehow eradicate the abrasions, a hurdle to us functioning as the good couple we deserved to be.
As for myself an idealistic, passionate, well-read, been elite intellectual now developing my cherished tasteful cultural interests of a widely varied nature, had a penchant for perfection to the extent of vice. The vice as it was so much so that she used to find my insistence in matters factually, and justifiably so in my own view, counterproductive to hers, nay ours, day to day domestic productivity.
She a simple heart, extremely sincere towards her family and social responsibilities, had been a pragmatic, managing, skillful though not accomplished homemaker. At the same time being a fun-loving person she tended to be carefree which at times bordered on carelessness.
And there lay the one root cause of the conflicts among us.
Our goals have been fairly coherent and quite in sync, all our responsibilities as a couple with two qualified professionals, financially independent, and loving sons have been gracefully fulfilled. And we now are at a stage, one should have no reason but to feel settled as a happily retired life couple.
Being quite emotionally strong, she has all the qualities of an above-average inter personnel skillful person. While, emotionally fragile as I am, I had developed into being one who manages by temper rather than patience and tenacity. Howsoever, I try to be promising, I can hardly ever claim to have gotten rid of my this perpetual losing temper habit, on matters small or big.
But in the role of a wife these skills naturally were not coming into play in her interactions with me.
There was a reprieve though. My tempers often lost...the moment I stepped out in a frenzy, enigmatic & astonishing as it was the anger will evaporate and only the feeling of guilt remained till the time the normal dialogue among them dissolving the tense silence was not restored. And so I will apologize sincerely raising her hopes that she will not have the brunt inflicted by the pangs of my tempers anymore.
In my opinion, I did all I could to learn and implement to mollify my tempers. And with time she had lost hope of ever having a cool husband. To make it worse, driven to desperation, she had also taken to retaliating showing tempers when outbursts came from me.
And one day...
I had hardly slept because of an upset stomach. My digestion has been a nuisance ever since my teens because of serious typhoid relapsed thrice.
I had very much mentioned it to her. But by evening she had forgotten all about the needed cautions in all. I had been out the whole day to my ex_office and got unpredictably delayed in coming back. Averse to eat anything available outside, I had starved the whole day but for the green coconut drink twice.
I was tired, exhausted, and hungry enough. It was almost dinner time already.
"Well! I will freshen up and have dinner soon and call it a day"
She immediately got up and started towards the kitchen saying:
"The food is ready. Come back from the wash. I am laying it out on the dining table after getting it warmed up"
I found her waiting for me on the table by the time I came out of the washroom.
To my horror, I noticed, it was a Rajma-Chawal treat served out to me at 7 PM at night. instantaneously I lost my cool.
"What! Don't you know even while normal, I avoid Rajma-Chawal? And here on a day, I had so many reasons to avoid such.., how the hell don't you ever apply your mind, forgetting even the most basic facts about my problems"
I continued with my lashing tongue oozing out the venom generated out from the wounded heart and the brain-burning with rage already
"And how many times, I shall tell you that I never take rice for dinner; almost a poison to me"
She anguished but all the same invisible to me could only mutter out " It so happened that Arun came to me and expressed 'Mom! it has been days since I had your prepared Rajma-Chawal'. I thought you won't mind having the same yourself. You only insist that all should have the same dish in the family"
The reply to me was perceived as one coming from a moron.
"Even if it killed me," I said exasperated and lost, my "Vivek" vanished in extreme rage.
"Even the most basic thing about me you don't care" I was beyond reasoning now.
And now it was her turn to blow out
"Here! Here! Yes, let me hear it all that I care for all except you!"
"Yes Exactly! well that is how it Is"
"You really mean, I never give you whatever suits you"
"Will you ever learn to admit truthfully your mistake"
Now each one spoke without an ear to the other
She held on to her guns" Well I do if I commit any"
"Then what is it today? "I demanded, my voice needed no gadget to make it audible to the whole locality.
"Will you lower that shouting blare of yours. Is it necessary for the whole mohalla to come to know whatever is happening here between us?"
"To hell with you and your reputation"; No stopping me here now.
"Well I do care even if you don't. And take it from me, I am no longer ready to share this roof with you henceforth, leaving this very moment".
" Who stops you? Go ahead and to hell with you"
As she walked out, I never realized that this time, unlike ever earlier, she was walking out of our house into the night.
I hardly bothered, well into my own chagrin, seething with pain deep inside as I was, had lost all sense of right or wrong.
Our son, Arun, residing in our vicinity was the destination she went to.
Once me out of her sight, restraining herself as always had been her forte, she never let herself reveal anything to him. It was another matter that he could already guess it all precisely enough.
Few days went by without any patch up, unlike times earlier. We always had made it and had always availed the slightest pretext to patch up, setting aside the wounds afflicted to each other. And that too with mutually shared eagerness to continue as if nothing had ever happened.
But this time, it was different. One week gave in to another when she decided to seek separation. Made up her mind to arrange for herself another abode out of Mumbai to cut herself off the physical proximity of hers away from me.
She spoke to our younger son, still a bachelor, in Delhi and expressed to him that she desired a visit to him. To him, it was as if in routine, a mother would visit a distant son periodically after a usual gap.
Arun also took it a change of town that will do good to mom and so booked her onto the next earliest flight available.
It was in autumn. The Hindu festive season this October was hardly providing her the pleasures, she hitherto been used to all these years, vivacious as she was in spite of her 68 years.
The dark gloomy harsh winters of December descended.
The day one before Christmas needed no mention of its significance. This day she had never missed or forgotten, even if I myself had so many times.
The SMS at 4 AM on my phone for the Birthday Wish from her was the gift I would always remember as never ever having had a better one.
And also more than enough and it was, to have it all washed down the drain.
The flight back home was that very evening.
Till the taxi from the airport had us sitting in a pleasant silence that perpetuated since we saw each other, the eyes said it all. It was hardly believable that the nightmare, real it might have been, had but ended.