Saturday, October 07, 2006

Marry-go-round

Those who have bothered to wonder why I was not blogging for a while, the following piece -- my latest column for the paper -- should explain:

These days, very often, I feel like a two-year-old, letting off loud wails as I am pinned down by four people and a fifth trying to empty a bottle of bitter medicine down my throat. A two-year-old possibly can’t read the label on the bottle, but I can: “Happy Married Life”. I can hear the person holding the bottle telling me: “Don’t fuss. Once you gulp it down you will be fine. It is for your own good.”

They had said the same when they made me a sacrificial lamb, dressing me up like a groom, five months ago. And who are these people, anyway? They don’t have individual names but collectively, they are called “society”. They had said my life would become stable, but I can see myself heading towards mental instability.

After 35 years of living like a compulsive vagabond, whose social responsibilities were confined to the triangle of I, Me and Myself, it isn’t easy at all to find a fourth dimension added to life. There are times when I am sitting at home, trying hard to write, when I am gripped by a sudden irritation: “What’s she doing here?” Then, after gathering my thoughts, I answer myself: “Oh, she’s my wife. She is going to be staying here too.”

That is, when I get to write. For years I have been a nocturnal writer, whose brain cells came alive only five hours after sunset, when I would switch on my laptop, stare at the screen for a while and start typing. These days, when I switch on the computer, the wife asks: “Are you going to blog or write for the paper?” When I say blog, I am given a look which says: “When will you get a life?” When I say I am going to write for the paper, the look that is given to me says: “Couldn’t you have written that in the office?”

The point is she never translates those looks into words; instead, she silently waits for me, with dinner and all, till I finish. Which makes me even more irritated. But then, irritation is not the solution, adjustment is. So of late, to begin with, I have cut down on my blogging. Wonder what next. Anything is fine as long as I don’t reach the other extreme: becoming hen-pecked. But the symptoms, to tell you the truth, point towards that.

The other night, after work, I went for a drink with a colleague who has been married for quite some time now. I have gone drinking with him on countless evenings, and most evenings, he would want to get home after a point. “She has prepared the food, I have to eat at home,” he would plead.

I would brush aside pleas with liquor-inspired wisdom: “You are a writer, a poet. You are an individual, not someone’s husband. Doesn’t matter if you don’t eat at home one night.” We would finally part close to midnight.

But the other night, we were barely into the second drink when I began looking at the watch. Wife had already called twice, first to ask: “Cabbage or cauliflower?” And then: "Rice or roti?" I rushed him through the third drink and, as we were walking towards the parking, we noticed a Malayali restaurant, Tharavad. “Let’s eat something,” the colleague said. “Not today,” I pleaded and hopped into my car.

The next day the colleague forwarded me a joke: A lion had thrown a party exclusively for lions. They were drinking and dancing when they spotted a mouse dancing too. The host lion roared: “Only lions are invited. How did you dare to come?” The mouse replied: “Before I got married, I was a lion too.”

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

wait for the babies!! lol

annie said...

Imagine of women writers in thet case. Ithink this is the reason for the scarcity of the species(female writers). She has to write rocking the cradle. But its pleasing. Milk of love is milk of life also. Got the point na!

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Anon: No, thank you.

Annie: Get your point, of course. I would agree with it, but not entirely. One who has to write will write anyway.

Anonymous said...

you do have a whole new dimesion to write about now though!! so not exactly so confining! with Food and housekeeping thrown in!! :)

Bishu said...

Welcome to the other side of life. Hope Ms. Ghosh doesn't read your blogs.Fully agree with you "One who has to write will write anyway." I try normally around 3 am in morning ie. 1 hour after my daughter goes to sleep and one minute after my wife starts dreaming.I guess you will also find out the right time or else we'll be missing your posts.Best of luck.

ro said...

why not eat twice? at tharavad etc. and then at home.
(How come New IE publishes such personal rantings?)

annie said...

BG: Thank u very much. Ur comment inspires me.Actually it is the will power and aptitude. But idea comes while cutting vegetable or seasoning the curry. If not written immediately, gone. Once starts writing goes to another world and everything else is forgotten until finish scribling the entire thing comes to mind as a flow of ideas. I ve lost many chances as the idea comes at odd times or when time allows no ideas. Read ur articles in NIE today. Photograph of Bullock cart is fantastic.It remined RKN's 'Malgudi Days' which was telecast by Doordarshan some years back. Thank u for chosing such special and interesting subjects.

Padma said...

Dear Mr. Ghosh,

If you were so keen on being a vagabond all your life then why marry? I am surprised that a person like you couldn't stave off society from interfering in your life! And now that you are married why crib? that too in full public view like this?

You think wife demanding your time which is right (she didn't marry you to cook and clean am sure) is being henpecked then lord be with your wife.

I would really like to know how your wife feels about all this ranting.

Anonymous said...

Try being born in my country as first-gen urban, oldest girl-child in an endogamous community, moving on to buffer my first-gen migrant kids from newly urban dad...Why would I write when all that I write shatters the odd balance I maintain in the disparate parts of my life...Until I found Anon:-)

Anonymous said...

I am lill surpised at your thoughts on the married life.I guess yess.. indeed there is compromise but it is actually love that binds the marraige.As for you , being vagabond is not quite IN for your information and when you chose to marry you will have to understand the difference.Come out of your shoes and think , empathise with your wife and think , you would understand marraiges saved a lot of people from getting rot.

My husband had been of something like you , whiskeys , late hours and all (not so dreadful) nocturnal habits.Piece of suggechun for all you guys out there who thinks like you..Change !!

visithra said...

may u be blessed with lots of nappies to change ;p hehehe

Sharmishta said...

pretty much what my hubby says sometimes...all summed up in one nice post/column :)

i associate with what ur wife goes through...i compete for attention with a computer!!!

O said...

I've chuckled this way after a long time. Fun post though if I had a husband and he wrote this, God,I'd give him a real tough time! LOL!
Nice blog btw.

shail said...

I agree with Annie, 'Imagine women writers'. :) Of course I write anyway. But its tough.
But I do see where this comes from, oh boy, so clearly!

Anonymous said...

Dude, you are 35 years old and a mature adult.. make the mature choice and either leave this marriage, which doesn't look like it will succeed, or pull your socks up and try to make it work..

Your staying in this marriage is not just about your unhappiness but your wife's too..I don't think she signed up for an emotionally unavailable spouse, and it is mean to deny her happiness because you feel like you were forced into this..

Instead of crying out your troubles to the world, why not do something constructive about it?? If children are added to this marriage later on, what kind of depressed people will they grow up to be, knowing that their parents have little affection for each other? This is the root of all dysfunctional families.

Our actions affect people beyond what we may think. Make a mature choice and stick to it.

R said...

@anon
hehe,cut him some slack.he's newly married.miss/mr feminist,you missed the humour.

hahahahahah....

alpa christie said...

dear mr ganges mail! this is the title that i first read about your blog so that is my reference point.
i read about it in the newspaper, i enjoy reading your posts (have not read all though) and though senior in age to you, seem to agree a lot with your thinking. referring to 'marry-go-round' and 'durga puja'
wish you luck to continue writing

treatment for anxiety in children said...

Nice post. Keep it up.


Raquel

Anubhuti said...

Amazing how personal ppl can get while reading a blog. I love the honesty in this one. I guess a lot of us still do not see that a writer will write what he feels like and not what people want to read - or may be not ??

Anonymous said...

hiii SPARKLING MAN...

how about now... the magic of marriage must have played ... must be the secret of sparkles...

- sam