Enigma of Attraction

Continued from “Sentiment of Ruin”

“The beginning of my end was when Anand parted ways with me,” he said resuming his remarkable tale. “But much before that, his destiny brought Anitha, a peach of a woman into his life. When he wanted to marry her, he made me privy to her poignant past that she had revealed to him, that is to let him decide whether it mattered to him; here’s her tale of betrayal and retrieval.”

He paused for a while as if he needed time to retrieve himself from the sense of her betrayal.

“As is the case with all love, the source of hers too was physical attraction,” he said on resumption. “After her graduation, she dated with a man, who pressed her for sex that she had reserved for her nuptial bed; betraying her trust, as he tried to molest her, she broke with him, and treating it as a bad dream, she had opted for an arranged match. But when the just-weds returned home from their honeymoon, the lost suitor chose to prejudice her man’s mind through an anonymous letter. The rouge wrote that she wants a lover to satiate her lust, the wherewithal of whom she had ditched could be heard from the horse’s mouth, besides a husband to cater to her monetary greed. As her man was distraught at the development, she tried to assure him about her innocence, but sadly, he couldn’t digest the fact that if not by body, at least in her mind, she was one with another man before him. So, even as his heart responded to her love, as his mind remained cold to her ardency, he failed to warm up to her; how the inhibitions of cultures come to influence our lives, and what a double jeopardy it was for her as she had to contend with her wretched fate as well as her man’s predicament for which she was the unwitting cause. Seeing the futility of their purposeless cohabitation, she had set him free through divorce, and maybe to atone for its mistake, her fate led her to Anand, the man made for her.”

“What villainy it was!”

“Villainy of a spoiler,” he said. “Anand dismissed her past with the sympathy it evoked and vowed to give her due as his better half; and to seek her hand in marriage, he took me along to her parents. And lo, who was her mother? I told about the woman who once prostituted herself for her children’s betterment; what a piquant situation it was for both of us as we recognized each other, maybe owing to her conviction of her compulsion, she didn’t lose her poise, and my appreciation of her character enabled me to retain my composure. When I instinctively turned my attention on her man, I could discern in his demeanor, the anxiety of parental love and the strength born out of a sense of purpose. What was more, in his interaction with his wife, I could see his adoration for her, though my presence seemingly stifled her effusiveness; but as my own behavior towards her didn’t show any hangovers of our past encounter, soon she had shed her inhibitions and turned lively towards the end. Later, when Anand told me that her son married a girl from an orphanage, it was clear to me that the ethos of the couple could have shaped the spirit of their children.”

“Maybe it is such who mitigate some of the vileness of the world.”

“But we need battalions of them,” he continued, “As proclaimed in the banner at the function hall, Anitha wed Anand; it was a simple ceremony though I wished it were a grand show. While I was impressed with her sensibility, Ruma was wary about her simplicity; by then, busy with a doting circle of lazy women, she started living in a make-believe world. It didn’t take long for Anitha to realize that Ruma only condescended to descend to her, and so she chose to keep her dignity from a healthy distance. That puzzled my queen who deemed it was her royal right to be courted by her; how delusions of grandeur makes one weary at the thought of being ignored by others. So, Ruma set out to snare the prey into her web of adoration but to no avail, and slighted, she began to pass snide remarks about her to Anand. Maybe, I too had taken Anand for granted as I didn’t think overmuch about an equitable raise for his value addition to my ever expanding business; but it was Anitha’s equanimity in dealing with Ruma that showed me the reality of life; it’s one that lowers oneself but not others.”

“When Anand wanted to quit,” he continued, having seemingly reflected over his averment, “I apologized on Ruma’s behalf and offered to give him his due, but he would have none of it; however, as Anitha impressed upon him not to mix up the professional with the personal, he came to stay. Soon there was an income tax raid tumbling the skeletons from our cupboards, and it was more than Anand could bear; so he called it quits and moved out of town. I didn’t miss him for long as I could hire someone no less talented but with fewer business scruples and he too set up a small-scale industry as if to show me that business can be clean as well. I didn’t know how he fared as we lost touch that was till he came along with his wife and children to condole with me for the loss of my family. While their weeklong stay brought to the fore the memories of my life and times with Rathi, I realized that the equilibrium of life hinges upon the spouse’s sensibility.”

“No less on sensitivity.”

“That makes me recall this embarrassing episode,” he resumed after a pause. “As I touched sixty, I happened to meet a childhood mate and his attractive second wife, who was on the wrong side of forties; when she turned flirtatious to my excitement, to her delight, I made a few passes at her, but when I became a little forthright, she turned cranky and showed me in poor light to my friend, and that was that. Leave aside my loss of face, what about the hurt she would’ve caused to her husband when a ‘shut up’ or ‘no thanks’ would’ve kept things clean for the three of us. Well, I’ve no clue why she tripped on the line of sensitivity!”

“Maybe, we have it in Benign Flame,” I said, and quoted from it. “It’s the character of man woman chemistry in that feminine tendencies catalyze male proclivities. Carried away by the euphoria of her coquetry, man begins to woo woman with hope. With her vanity thus addressed by his advances, she turns flirtatious, furthering his passion for her possession. In the excitement of the moment, should he transgress the threshold of her sensitivity, fearing she had compromised her honor, she sinks in shame. Thereafter, she withdraws from him to brood over her infirmity, and in the end, as though to atone for her moment of weakness, she cold-shoulders him altogether, making him wonder what went wrong in the midst of his conquest.”

“If only I had heard about it,” he said seemingly convinced, “maybe I would have handled our mutual attraction more languidly saving my friend from such a predicament. But all said and done, his hurt owed to his wife’s lack of sensibility; maybe it’s the maturity of a spouse that shapes the course of the other’s life where it really matters.”

To be Continued


More by :  BS Murthy

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