Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Writing about Meera's film I recall an unforgettable incident

In my earlier post when I wrote about Meera's movie and marital rape I was reminded of an incident that I would like to share with you.

It was the year 1991. I was working for a company in Peters Road, Royapettah, here in Chennai and it was my first job. There was a senior citizen in the company who could blow away anyone with a first impression. Always sharply dressed, polite and courteous he spoke very little and always kept to himself. He must have been well over 60 and seemed in perfect health. He was in charge of public relations and a job that befitted his personality so well.

One day during a lighter moment in the company he called me aside and asked me for my age. When I told him (me, in my early to mid 20's then) I was surprised to hear him say, "You should have been married by now or must be married in the next year or so." To which I responded, "But in our community boys normally get married around 27 or 28." When I asked him why he had said so, he replied, "24 or 25 is the best age for a boy because the real joy of marriage lies only in these years. By the time you reach 27 or 28 you have actually missed out a lot."

I then asked him about his marriage and I was totally unprepared to hear what he had to say. Here is his story in his own words. "I got married in the 1940's. I was in my early 20's then. The marriage was an arranged one based on the horoscope. When my parents decided it was time for me to get married they went to their village and picked a girl. The girl was just barely out of her teens. I saw her for the first time on the day of the wedding only. She too was seeing me for the first time only then. Unfortunately in those days life in the village was very backward and rural. My wife had never seen a movie. There were no cinemas either. Reading novels was forbidden too."

He paused for a while and continued, "Consequently my wife had very little knowledge about men and relationships and I had to wait for almost two years to consummate my marriage."

He paused again as though he expected me to ask him something. In my disbelief I just couldn't say a word. He resumed, "We later had four children and have never had to use any of the contraceptive methods in all our married life."

I was taken aback so much at his openness and frankness that I was hesitant to ask him for details although I am sure he would have enlightened me appropriately if I had done so. "What a beautiful love story", I thought to myself then. Wasn't there beauty in his waiting and giving his wife time to get to know things. I can imagine the love and respect he would have elicited from her.

Our older generation, unbeatable, even in love.

No comments: