Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Perspectives: A Couple's Ordeal

The Sharp Wife

It was the straight third day through which we had not had a squabble and that was quite unusual. Till the previous day it had seemed to me as if even this kind of life-style was feasible for us though there was no doubt it was supposed to be that way with all the ordinary married couple. Ours was the extraordinary one, I need not be reminded of that. On that fateful day, I sensed increasing awkwardness between the two of us: something was now bound to happen.

Eventually I got furious that my beloved husband had once again come late from the office and his cell-phone was busy many times for no obvious explanation. I had reprimanded him many times in the past for such deeds and he had apologized whenever he could not explain those things properly. This time it was more than enough for me to tolerate. Was I not his faithful wife with whom he was bound to share all thoughts and experiences? Then why did he frequently hesitate describing me why the things were the way they were? I really hate the clumsiness with which this husband of mine explains the things for me.

That day, however, there was an obstacle for the event to proceed as usual. We had two guests in the home, an elderly relative of him from the village and his son. That could have formed the ground enough for me to avoid the squabble that day but I have no remorse that I began the event despite their presence. Predictably, he was far more restrained that day because of their presence though I was the only person able to compare his enthusiasm in the event in the past and on that particular day. "You the clumsy impotent" I shouted, "you still seek other girls to bluff when the child has begun to go school". "Just wait for one more day, then tell me anything you like" he said in firm but calculated voice so that the guests on the other room would not hear. His hypocrisy was more than bearable for me and I was incensed further: "Why didn't you wait for one more day to call those prostitutes, you lecher?” I gave this fitting reply when I had nearly screamed in my attempt to let the guests in the other room hear.

I could now spot the tiny beads of sweat in his forehead. I had given him no tea and snacks, so he must have been thoroughly exhausted, hungry and demoralized. He sat on the floor, stooped forward and just stopped speaking anything. Then he unfolded his legs and reclined with his head on the Sofa avoiding my gaze as if after witnessing a terrible disaster. I was still agitated but felt it prudent to close the event for the day with some meaningful closing remarks: "I was the burden to my parents, so I was sent away by getting married with the scum like you who can understand everything but the feelings of his wife. I have always remained the burden to you and you will never feel happy so long as I am alive." Then I left the room slamming the door shut.

The Intellectual Husband

Some days bring so much of trouble that it is difficult to forget those even after long. That day the fruits of my hard work of a whole year were stolen by one of my colleagues. His research proposal that was prepared in haste within weeks with little authenticity was awarded with the grant that was supposed to be given to a researcher who developed an entirely new approach in research studies. The new boss had been just transferred in our office and I was not aware of the unscrupulous activities he was involved in. The old boss of our office had appreciated my work and assured that I would be rewarded properly for my marathon effort with which I had conducted the research. Mr. Jagat, my colleague had begun his project after the rumor about the imminent transfer of the bosses had spread and presented an ambitious but barely practicable proposal. Many insiders doubted his research would ever complete but receiving the grant was another thing. His growing proximity with the new boss was, many said, bound to yield 'certain' outcomes.

That day only I knew the meaning of that 'certain outcome'. Probably that was the first time I had been so much upset in the office. I then called the old boss and talked for a long time in an unsuccessful attempt to bring peace to my mind. My exhaustion had crossed all the thresholds and I was feeling as if I were going to fall ill immediately. Then came the outburst of my beloved wife as soon as I entered the home. My mind was in no position to register every absurd word that she uttered but that had been part of my daily life and I was used to hearing anything from her. To add insult to injury, my uncle and one cousin brother were staying in our home for a few days then. I feared my legacy of a bright and successful man in my village would be smeared if they listened the verbal assault of my wife. So I requested her to postpone the duel for few days but that only provoked her to throw more verbal poison towards me even as the guests listened from the other room.

That day I felt myself the most unlucky husband in the world. Thanks god, I did not collapse given the weight of the insults I sustained that day. I now wonder how resilient I was to tolerate all that while steadily pursuing my different goal. May be all those events that seemed terrible helped me to make myself who I am. May be not, who knows?

The Knowledgeable Guest

Ever since my childhood, I have cursed my poor education for every suffering that the life has propelled towards me. I value educating my children very highly. Though they say now that what kind of subject in what kind of institution you study matters now more than anything. And a huge proportion of the educated now fares even worse than the uneducated lot of our time with so many perversions among the urban youth. Still in my five-decade long life, I had never imagined to witness a scene so bizarre and disgusting in which I saw the meaninglessness of educating the children.

I have always been against irrational empowerment of the women and education has got this loathsome adverse outcome. There are few things in this regard that I cannot really digest. One day I was there in the city and stayed for few days at the home of my neighbor's son. We saw the real face of what goes on indiscriminately in the name of empowering the feminine there. The woman was reasonably cordial in her dealings with us and I would never complain about her hospitality. But her behavior towards her over-burdened husband was cruel at best. May be she had brought a lot of dowry, may be the wife earned more than the husband, I have no idea about that. I also never know if she had grown up in absence of her parents or with equally badly cultured parents.

What I know is that the husband was tolerating the intolerable. It seemed he was unable to even postpone a petty quarrel for a few days and his efforts to keep the ugly interaction between the spouses a secret from us failed miserably. All I heard were the irritating words of that egregious woman in a shrill yet masculine tone. Apparently she could reach any point scolding her husband whose face was drained badly when he was there in our room to apologize for the inconvenience just after the episode.

"This is how the god punishes you non-believers" I said directly, "the norms were never made in a haste or without meaning. Your generation will keep suffering like this so long as you all keep ridiculing the millennia-old traditional norms including my naïve son." He did not attempt to argue with me, so smiled gently and left the room, may be he was preparing to face the other assault that was in store for him. May be he was thinking about reviewing his stereotyped concept about indiscriminate women empowerment; who knows?

The Feminist

If there is any example of intellectual dishonesty among the well-educated that I dislike the most, that is what I prefer to call 'missing jungle to trees'. Put it the other way, it is the generalization of a specific case so that skewed if not outright distorted picture of the reality is presented. In this particular case I discuss about the issue of gender-based discrimination as we see it in the practical life. We have got a male colleague in our office who is exceptionally dominated by his wife and is often unable to hide what he gets from his wife.

Most of my male colleagues present this issue as the product of 'mad rush' to empower the feminine not all of which is legitimately justified. But I view it the other way. To start with that poor woman has got nothing to gain by harassing her introvert husband. And that was never the product of empowering her. Instead she must have got some behavioral disorder or some problem in adjusting to the society she was thrust upon without learning how to deal with the people there. May be she lost her parents early and was never properly socialized. May be she was separated from her parents for long and was traumatized by the hostile 'teacher's who taught her everything except how to deal with the world in front of her.

It is too easy to draw some arbitrary conclusion in any issue. And many people cannot resist the temptation to make instant conclusions and they offer their comments before they look into the things properly. Many of them think that the opinions of the others in the issue are, for granted, inferior to their own and often unworthy of proper attention. That creates a scene that looks like a debate but which is, in reality, only a simultaneous outburst of the monologues of many people. And the most common issue to suffer from this fate is feminism.

Feminism has got nothing to do with the isolated cases of gender-based conflict in which the male is the sufferer. And in my opinion, such cases are negligible though definitely not nil. Most importantly, the feminists have nothing to gain from torturing few men. That contributes absolutely nothing in helping the other thousands of women who suffer at the hands of cruel men. That also leaves intact the giant socio-politico-economic machine that works uninterruptedly to maintain the status quo with dominance of the masculine.

All such isolated incidents/attitudes contribute is to provide the self-made debaters with a fascinating topic to indulge in. Going deeper than the 'Argue for Argument's Sake' needs only one and the most important thing: the events/attitudes have first to be placed on proper 'perspectives' before they are to be debated in order to draw some meaningful conclusion.

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