Rumination amidst solitude

Rusty Irony

Published by purplepinkbliss under on 11:42 AM
Wallowing in self pity is the last thing I should be doing now. I see you, my husband at the dining table with your mother discussing some work related legal issue. This is the fourth morning that you are both at the table to discuss lawsuits and judgments that she may have to deal with for the day. Your approval or opinion hardly matters to her as it is starkly evident that she is not listening with remote interest and she seldom lets you complete even if you are replying to her sentences ending in a question like falling rising tone.
It would make me happy to see you work alongside a district judge of such repute and experience like mummy. The overtures of law you could gain knowledge of from someone like her is a fine thing.
It all began with a face of scorn when you and I were together few Sundays ago when I was making tea and you were leaning against the cabinet talking of your hostel days and the hilarious incidents you were part of, I was encompassed in our subtle happiness when I saw the conical half sleeve of mummy’s night gown which she wears inside the house all day darting out to show itself at the door as she stood leaning against the outer kitchen wall listening to us. After that I pretended to listen to you as I could also see the reflection of mummy’s face in the glass door of that ghastly black showcase placed in hall adjacent to the kitchen door. I wished she would join us and perhaps even narrate a few incidents from her heydays. I almost asked her if she wanted tea but hesitated as I saw her face twisted with repulsion. As you spoke I checked to see if we were speaking of something we were not supposed to ensure myself that it didn’t have any content that could repel an eavesdropper. I wanted to show you her reflection but refrained from doing so.

But now I doubt if it would have made any difference even if you saw her there. Before I got dressed for Mitra’s wedding, I asked her for my pearl and ruby necklace and she briskly brushed it off saying “Oh those! I have set them aside for Keerthi to wear on her wedding day.”
I said, “Mummy, I need to wear some ornaments to the wedding I am going to in a few hours. My ruby and pearl necklace is something I happen to need”
She walked towards me with all her force and said, “Didn’t you hear me? They are meant for Keerthi.”
“They are mine, Mummy.”
“But now they are Keerthi’s. People keep count of these things. On her wedding day they’ll whisper that these are the same few necklaces her brother’s wife kept wearing. So let others not see those.”
When she said this I looked at you but you were immersed in the newspaper. I stood there waiting for you to say something. But mummy went upstairs and that was when you put the paper down and walked towards me and said, “We are behind schedule. We should hurry if you want to go,” as if life was perfect without a care in the world. I went to the wedding wearing Keerthi’s fake necklace. It bothered me.
I could not afford to buy new jewelry and neither can you afford to buy some for me.
It was unfair of the both of you. I let it pass.
Immediately after our wedding as we left the mandap to come here to you house in Kottayam, we were seated in the backseat with your mother on my left and you on my right. I was rather taken aback as your mother who has proven herself in life could display such mammoth lack of emotional intelligence as she greedily ran her fingers through my five necklaces and kept repeating again and again that these are for Keerthi.
You didn’t react then and I assumed that you will put the matter to rest if she mentioned it again.
But what is this about my dark complexion? She keeps telling me very much in your presence that she wanted a fair daughter in law. I know for now that she isn’t the forgetful kind and I remember how she praised my looks and favored me for being an intern at the State Ayurvedic Center. Now that it is clear that you don’t think for yourself, I know that she chose me. If she is disgusted at my dark complexion it shows how much she must abhor her own complexion and that of her late husband and children as well.
“I want to take her home right away.” That was what she said the day she laid her reins on my life when she came to see me and in due course fastened our lives together.
How strange humans can be. How can one be so intolerant and pitiless when another’s limitation is the same as one’s own! Why is duskiness a limitation?

What Mitra mentioned when I last met her was true to every word. If a misreading exists between a woman and her in-laws it’s the husband’s lack of transparency that is liable. Two weeks ago when we got back from dinner at Diana’s Feast, mummy was furious. She loves eating out and every other day her lunch is the courtesy of one reputed hotel or restaurant after the other. She was irately waiting in the living room pretending to read a paper holding it upside down and she unleashed her astringent umbrage by barking at us as she asked, “Where were you?”
You started to go upstairs but I held your arm and made you stand there by my side and you looked at me impatiently as if I were the sole raison d'être for the sour rest of the evening. But I was determined to stand my ground as there was no reason to play the errant borders busted by a warden and I was in a mood for confrontation.
Mummy looked feverish with fury. Her voice cracked and she asked, “We have a cook who makes food for all of us why did the two of you eat out?”
I didn’t have the courage to ask her if it was a crime to go out with ones spouse and a recently married one at that. Was the food just a pretext or is it her apprehension of having to share the love of her vacillating son? I clenched as I wanted to ask her if the real issue was her feeling threatened by not having a say in her son’s parallel life under the same roof!
“We thought of eating out mummy,” you said finally.
“As long as you live in this house my rules prevail. If you choose to have your own around here my son you may leave right away with everything that is legally registered in your name.”
“But…”
Before you opened your mouth she slammed your sentence with a razor-sharp tone offended that you tried to justify yourself instead of conforming meekly as you always do. That was the moment she officially regarded me the threat as you tried to defend us.
I didn’t hear what she said but I followed you upstairs to our room with her shrill voice still lingering in my ear.

“We did not do anything wrong. But I wonder why she hates me so. She thinks I am doing something off beam with you spending time with me. Why didn’t you stand your ground and tell her that it was your idea and that it isn’t a misdeed to eat out? Why do you fear her so?”
You answered me with a callous look and said “Because all I have are a few clothes that are not legally registered!”
Hurt, I persisted saying, “You are highly qualified. You could find yourself the post as legal advisor elsewhere. We could make our own living…”
Then you pulled me towards you with brute force and said, “Never come between me and my mother.”
Utterly confused, I dragged myself to the balcony. I thought to myself with unreserved skepticism that the car my husband Pradip recently purchased post our wedding was registered in her name. The bank account he deposited money into every month bore the name of Sourya Poduval and to draw his own money he needed to go through her pedantic scrutiny. Had the arrangement been out of affection and concern for a son nothing would please me more and how I wish somebody looked out for us that way! But this here was more of a gory trap that wretched soul of my mother in law sought to secure your need for her.

After that she was candid of her dislikes. She even went to the point of mentioning how much more dowry she had expected for her only son. How appalling and dishonorable it is to be coming from someone who was the District Judge! She who is meant to safeguard law was the one committing the vicious and heinous of offences. Here she was verbally abusing and humiliating me as the three lakhs and two hundred sovereigns of gold in jewelry my mother offered as part of my dowry was only a fraction of her expectation of ten lakhs and three hundred sovereigns with a car thrown in.
She is aware that an Ayurvedic physician would earn well and before I die I would add to the family fortune tenfold but perhaps she finds joy in degrading herself and me with such dim-wit.

In due course of time my silence encouraged her and soon her demanding for a higher amount as dowry ceased to be suggestions and turned out to be a habit and it didn’t matter if the maid and cook were her eager audience who listened and watched the hullabaloo savoring them like those sadistic serials on TV. And YOU! It never mattered if you were present.
Then I asked you, “Doesn’t it bother you that she says these things to me?”
You gave me a look of helplessness and soon changed you expression into a spiky one when you saw her enter the room and you said, “I value her more than anything and I will obey whatever she says.”
I cannot help wondering, are all men hypocrites? Do they all go mum in the face of reason and let judgment sink to make way for practicality? It takes an utterly smart chap of a man to handle his mother and wife put together. Otherwise they lie or lie by omission and give out the most erroneous impression of the matter at hand. Honest men are brave and a rarity.
It’s been four months since we got married and if you don’t stand up for yourself, for us, for me now, I doubt if you will ever find some spine of your own. You are henpecked alright!
Such an irony you are.
Now she throws her work at you and keeps and us apart. I cannot comprehend that despite one’s academic accolades and high standing in society one can be so appalling on the personal level. Maybe hardships turn all that is rich and soft into pitiable and sour. You told me she was widowed in her late twenties and since then clutched onto her qualification to feed, cloth and shelter her children. But the irony is that no amount of qualification and experience can bring one class. It’s like living in a mansion that is picturesque from the outside with some plastic chairs for furniture on the inside. It’s like having an expensive bed matched with an expensive yet awful cupboard and a tasteless dressing table, all essentials to a bedroom put together in an anxious attempt yet not exuding that brilliance of class. That is what it is like to have everything but not know how to conduct oneself, for if she were aware of such subtle yet profound underlying principles she would never astound the life of a 23 year old young wife very much a part of her the way she is busy engrossed in ruining now.
The media today is the worst of hounds. Imagine the public outrage and vehemence at the judge of your mother and the baggy advocate in you will have to face if a loose tongue got a whiff of such demeanor!

Since candor is something least present in this house, accidently I happened to overhear the plans.
I will be sent to my mother’s house under the pretext of my internship and the close proximity of my home from the medical center and the rest will be dealt with as and when the time comes.
How simple!

I squirm in agony at the thought of my short marriage and I still hope that you will miraculously develop some spine. To think that all those beautiful moments in these few months mean less compared to the material things you do not have at hand is tragic to me. You are letting me go?

Maybe we need to stay away from each other in a while to untangle these issues. I am going to fasten my life to academics and throw myself into work.
But you!
"Sumita!" I hear your mother call me again. I guess this is it. This is when I'm asked to go...

To Lord Balram

Published by purplepinkbliss under on 3:24 AM
How divinely profound you must be!
What it was like, I think in wonder
With a sibling like Lord Krishna
As He always had the better claim
To adulation, to strength, to valor,
And did it not bother you, not once?
That your mother cast Him her first glance
That her extended arms welcomed Him first
Before it did you? Did it ever pierce you
That His name was praised before yours?
Were you ever taciturn for a weak moment?
As he took lead…

Womanish Childish Me

Published by purplepinkbliss under on 4:01 AM
Did a teardrop your cheek burnish
Or with your fingertips did you banish
Every tear and emotion alike
Before sorrow’s root thrived in the first light?
Oh one doesn’t become any less a man
If the world beheld a tear instead of your élan
Or is it too womanish of me
To render another as unhappy as me
To not lend a shoulder but seek glee
In your pain and agony?