An acquaintance of Sheru’s is very sad these days. It is the second anniversary of the passing away of his wife.
Expressing sympathy the other day, a journalist urged him to go for a second marriage.
“You need someone to offer you a cup of tea when you return home in the evenings,” he said.
Sheru burst into laughter, despite the solemn occasion.
What an idea. To marry a second time for a cup of tea!
Why not hire domestic help instead.
Would that not be better than having difficulty attend on you 24X7?
No, Sheru does not intend to malign marriage, nor allow anyone else to do so. Sheru has full faith in the institution.
But in reality, living together as husband and wife is not easy, particularly when the hubby has a mother and a couple of sisters in the same house.
The poor man has to walk the tightrope all the time, and in the act of striking a balance between the two sides, loose balance himself.
Often, he ends up tearing his clothes and beating his chest.
The wife also suffers.
Her husband’s sisters (zaams) interfere unnecessarily, and the mother can’t stop finding fault.
She tries to find comfort in shedding tears, but hears whispers about crocodiles…
The husband, on the other hand, has to battle many sides. First, it is his mother, who never sees (or rather does not want to see) any faults in her badtameez daughters, but makes a scene every time the wife goes wrong. First he has to pacify his mother, and then cajole his wife, for a short-lived truce.
An exercise to exhaust the most seasoned diplomat.
The journalist ought to have known, with all that news of talks and negotiations breaking down time and again.
But he was not to be blamed, really.
He was still unmarried, Sheru soon learnt, and did not know what it meant to drown in aag ka darya.
Besides, try and imagine a modern buchi or aunty consenting to play waiter for the rest of her life.
Not their cup of tea.