“Don’t take that carrot, I just said they are looking fresh, we had carrots yesterday” words spoken in a strict tone made me look up to find out the speaker and the spoken to. But pressed for time to rush home and begin the routine, I just focussed on the vegetables at hand.
“Look at these mangoes, they have ripen perfectly without any blemish” Words and the female voice drew my attention again and this time I couldn’t avoid looking. The man started to pick mangoes and the harsh voice admonished him, “I just said they are better than what we bought , didn’t tell you to take them. We need only potatoes, onions and tomatoes. Choose the onions which are smaller in size, they are the best and half a kilo tomatoes are enough. And put all of them in one basket, don’t go and search for another basket” Words fell out of her mouth in succession without care and in the severe order.
Being left to do my shopping on my own from the first year of marriage, I always looked longingly at the couples doing shopping together. Here the elderly couple with the reversal role of husband selecting the vegetables with wife just giving the advice was new and amusing to me. After a few seconds looking for a retaliation from the man and not seeing even a flutter of eyelids, I cursed my manners and averted the gaze. Quickly buying the vegetables I left from there.
Two days later, I was in our neighbourhood medical shop to buy a ear drop. Hearing the same voice giving instructions, noticed the couple again.”Just get the tablets for three days, don’t buy whatever is written by doctor. How many times I have to tell you this? Nothing will happen if one time you don’t take them”, intoned the voice.
As if it is a regular occurrence, the medical shop personnel just concentrated on their work and I was the only other customer. Once again I searched the man’s face for an angry response which is what I would have got if I have behaved liked that old lady., but in vain. No change in the expression and he just paid for the medicines as told by the shop guy and left with his wife.
Both their faces with the opposite expressions keep coming to my mind although I haven’t seen them after that incident in the pharmacy. A week later, on a Sunday after my walk I went to my usual place in the garden and found the uncle sitting alone in the adjacent bench. As my regular routine I started doing the stretches while being aware of his presence nearby and once finished sat to do Pranayama.
“Hi”, heard the voice before I closed my eyes and turned to look at him who was giving me the best smile he can conjure. The overt personality of mine took over and with full warmth I paid attention which always relaxed the other person and helped them to open up to me. The following conversation ensued between us.
He understood that I was curious to know about them and how unorthodox it looks the way his wife speaks to him in public. I apologised for showing my emotions so plainly and how it is not just inquisitiveness that wanted me to know about them but also to help in anyway possible. He accepted my views with the understanding that will come only with the experience how to separate the chaff from the grains over the years.
“She was not like this, he began, “she used to be the most calm and cool headed against my tensed nature, in the years after our marriage. I will just earn the money and leave everything to her as I have understood the ability of her in managing things with a more organised and unflustered way. ” As he spoke, he went into a trance reliving the moments of the past.
” We had the perfect life as life can be with each one understanding our specific roles and not trying to step into others shoes unnecessarily. We have two children, a boy and a girl, which added to the perfection and carried the sail smoothly till my retirement”.
He shook his head as he returned from his reverie forcefully as if the picture he was seeing started shaking and wanting it to clear. The expressionless face returned with it set features and he looked at me in the eyes and said matter of factly ” A week after my retirement two years back, I had been diagnosed with a hole in the heart and some genetic conditions which doesn’t allow for any surgery. I can carry on as long as the medicines can help and ” he showed his hands towards the sky ” the boss decides”
I felt so sad with the affection I had developed for him in the few moments of meeting him. In my mind i was trying so many things to say about the advancement in medical world and how he can cure anything, etc but the words were blocked by my brain which knows very well that all these are empty words and will only be uttered for the sake of consoling.
So I just looked at him blankly but as if he got wind of my underlying confusion trying to link his ill health with the bitter behaviour of his wife, he spoke out “She couldn’t accept my health situation since she always had control of our lives and in her inner mind blames me for bringing this on our lives. Along with her love for me and this mental block to accept the helplessness, she started to over control tiny details and want to feel secured. So we go through these motions of our daily lives with she having the charge and I follow her orders. This is a way of showing her rebellion against my health condition and as I can sense her love behind this bitterness, I simply go along”
He tried to smile and suddenly getting a spark, he looked at me and said, it is like the new lovers who don’t care who is around when they are madly in love, we also don’t worry who watches us as we too are madly in love with each other!”
He was so happy with the newfound way of looking at their life, he started towards his home energetically to share it with his love of life.
I sat there for quite a long time thinking about the different dimensions of love!
Wear the love goggles to see the world differently! Not all love look the same!
Love!!!!! Live!!! Laugh!!!!