Veneer of the Vile

Continued from “Enigma of Attraction”

“Don’t we find women carrying their paternal baggage into their married life!” he continued. “By and large, they tend to stick to their parental roots than sowing fresh family seeds in their matrimonial soil; it could be the natural weakness for one’s kith and kin or it may be individual inhibitions for integration; whether or not the environment at the in-laws’ place is conducive for camaraderie. Ruma opened her heart and home to her people who had shunned her when she needed them the most and as they wormed their way into her affections, she lost her sense of proportion; given her snobbishness as my people paid no more than courtesy calls, I too developed a distorted vision of relationships in the ingratiating company of her relatives. So, as her flock became hangers on, my folks ceased visiting us altogether; why should they for we seldom reciprocated their visits, and even when we went to them on occasion, we never gave them the feeling of our being at home in their homes. What with a false sense of being apart from them, we came to live in our ivory tower, flocked by those who came to grind their axes.”

“How did all that affect your son?”

“As I see it in hindsight, Satish was born to a right couple gripped by a wrong psyche,” he said with apparent sadness. “Having survived that road accident, Ruma and I live in guilt, I for the death of her daughter in Rathi’s lap, and she for the demise of her friend with my child in her womb. So, we began pampering Satish as if the atonement of our sin lay in catering to his every whim and fulfilling his every fancy; even when our purse was lean and our mind subdued, we spent a fortune on his birthday bash; how silly that we come to celebrate our kids’ birthdays as if they have become national heroes. If not for 02 October being the national holiday, would any notice Gandhi’s birthday coming and going; I bet none remembers in which year he was born, save those readying themselves for the quiz competitions; yet, we come to lay store on our children’s birthdays when they wouldn’t be knowing what was going on around them.”

“Showiness has become the malady of our times; haven’t wedding cards come to resemble wall posters. None seems to mind that the card and the copy don’t jell at all; maybe, it’s all prognostic, who knows?”

“If one has money to spare, maybe it’s an excuse to spend,” he continued. “But thanks to the peer pressure, even with a shoestring budget, it has become the in thing for all. Maybe, one cannot expect forbearance from our people in the face of the newfound prosperity that too as our nation remained poor for centuries on. But still, how the poor were to tackle this financial burden imposed upon them by the profligacy of the rich is anybody’s guess; perhaps the ever growing size of the bribable provides the clue. Why blame the lesser mortals for their corrupt ways; if they were to remain upright and teach philosophy at home, won’t the children of the nouveau-riche teach their kids some lesson in inferiority complex; so the rich man’s vulgarity has become the poor man’s alibi to be corrupt. Some how, we have contrived to pervert our thought process even; take the case of the school curriculum; the grind is the same regardless of the mind involved. What the sluggard could do than to mug-up, ending up as an also ran. Why not make the courses for the horses instead of flogging the lagging but to no avail; it’s only in the sports that the differing capabilities are appreciated to devise means for all to have their place under the sun; won’t the bantam and heavy weight classification in boxing, wrestling and weightlifting suggest that; the perils of pitting a lightweight champion even against a heavyweight trainee are not beyond anybody’s imagination.”

“The dilemma is real and when synthesized, maybe your saga could help.”

“So I take it that you’re inclined to pen it,” he said in excitement. “Spoiled though my son was in every way, yet he was no snob. But the aberration in his character was his inability to take ‘no’ for an answer, and that was bad enough; so to say, it became a case of, ‘as is father so is son’, but with a difference. Like me, he too managed a scrape-through degree, but unlike me, the girl he loved was all eager to become his better half. When he introduced Uma to us as his future wife, Ruma and I were dumbfounded; I couldn’t figure out my son’s poor taste to fall for a plain girl and Ruma felt her upbringing of him had no meaning if he were to choose someone so plebeian for a wife. When we tried to make him understand about her unsuitability, he said we wouldn’t be saying so if only we could’ve divined her inner beauty; as we gave in, despite our better judgment, he led his first love to the altar of marriage amidst great fanfare.”

“It was as well; otherwise it would’ve been a shame to have induced him to desert her.”

“Oh, won’t that prove there’s always a need to look at things from the others’ perspective as well,” he continued. “But as it happened, she turned out to be a gold-digger; what was worse, she was immoral to the core of her heart; as she gave him hell from the day one, he realized what a third-rate bitch his wife was. Maybe man can understand another man if he were to be his boss and a woman when he takes her as his wife. With the imagined inner beauty becoming the mirage of his married life, as Satish became an emotional wreck, I felt guilty for not having taught him the virtue of judging people for their small gestures; if only I had parented him properly, maybe he wouldn’t have had to undergo that trauma. Oh, what it had taken us to rescue the poor fellow from her clutches only we knew; ultimately it was my threat to get her killed by hired hands, even at the risk of myself ending up on the gallows that made her agree to divorce him for a royal sum.”

“Don’t I see your son has complexity for heredity?”

“Not only that,” he continued, “as if history repeats itself, it was a whore who played a part in his second marriage, that I came to know that from the man who had lost his wife to him.”

“Strange it is!”

“Better save your double exclamation mark to do justice to that mother of all tales, a verbatim account of the whore who had played a part in it.”

Continued to “Swap for Nope”


More by :  BS Murthy

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