Very often, and especially of late, I find one particular question thrown at me. The people who throw the question are mostly friends, well-meaning ones at that. And the question is: "Does your wife read your blog?"
The answer is yes.
By the time I finish writing a post, it is usually three or four in the morning, and when I wake up, wife would be already at work. I call her up the first thing and even before she can make the routine queries ("Did you have the tea?" or "Did the maids show up?"), I beg her to read the post I'd written the night before and give me feedback. Really, when it comes to family and friends, you have to beg to be read. As the day progresses, my wife finds time to read my posts, and the verdict, invariably, is: "Bhaloi hoyechhe, bor (It reads well, dear husband)."
When I tell those well-meaning friends that my wife does read my blog, their next question is, "And she does not say anything?" Perhaps they expect that each time I write a post, I am actually tied to the bed post the morning after and spanked brutally.
Quite a few of them admire me for showing the courage to write what I write. Once, in the presence of my wife, a fellow blogger-cum-friend commented: "I must say that you are really courageous." To which my wife said, "It has nothing to do with his courage, it's just that I am cool." Touch wood. I know women who -- had they been my wife -- would have smashed the laptop and the modem so that I could never blog again.
But my wife, instead of being an impediment to my blogging, discovered the power of blogging herself. Today, she has a pretty impressive blog and a dedicated fan-following. Our styles might not match, but we both work hard when it comes to writing a post. The only difference is that while she writes during the day, I write only at nights. And while she tells stories, I sell thoughts. To each his own.
In any case, I am what I am. The train called Ganga Mail began its journey long before I got married, and there is no reason why the train (of thoughts) should change its course just because I am married now. Beliefs are beliefs: you stand by them, irrespective of your location or gender or marital status.
But at the same time, just because you believe in something does not mean you are obliged to follow it in real life. For example, I believe smoking is bad for health, yet in real life, I end up smoking two dozen cigarettes a day. So there doesn't have to be a connection between me, the blogger, and me, the person. As a blogger, I am like the neighbourhood chaatwallah, who sells paani puris to spice up other people's evenings but is himself never seen partaking of any of his own paani puris. But does that mean a chaatwallah never craves to have paani-puri at all? And if yes, what does he do? Does he eat his own stuff on the sly, or does he walk over to a fellow chaatwallah to satiate himself?
No easy answers to that. But then, whoever said finding answers is easy? This blog has been searching for them for long, but in vain. In a world full of hypocrites, answers are bound to be elusive; and as long as they are elusive, this blog is going to thrive.