An excerpt from my book ‘The Broken Home and Other Stories’ (Published by Authorspress, 2017).
“When her letter came, I could not resist showing it to three bosom friends of mine. Astonished at her Bengali writing skills, they had remarked: “You are indeed very fortunate to have her as your wife.” In other words, she deserved a better husband than me.”
In fact, even before receiving her reply, I had written a few letters to her, replete with spontaneous, abundant emotions, but flawed, with errors in spelling. While writing them, I did not feel the necessity to be cautious about their perfection. If I had been cautious, the spelling errors could have been minimized, but at the same time the emotions would also have to be buried.
Under such circumstances, it became easier for me to profess my love for her directly, rather than through the device of letters. So, while my father would leave for office, I would elope from my college to meet her. If those meetings harmed both of our studies, we made that up with the fervour of our sweet nothings. This made us realize the valuable lesson that nothing was a waste in our world; rather that which was considered a loss in a way was a gain in another way. This was a popular theory in science, and I experimented with it in the laboratory of our love and was confident about its validity.
Meanwhile, there was a wedding in my wife’s family, that of one of her cousin sister’s. On our part, we gave her the last treat of her life as a spinster, which was a family ritual. On that day, my wife had crafted an emotional, affectionate poem for the occasion in red ink on red paper and was restless to send the poem to her sister. As luck would have it, the poem accidentally reached my father’s hands, and he was mesmerized to see the incredible literary, poetic and artistic skills of his daughter-in-law. He exhibited it to his friends, and the old men praised her writing profusely while consuming tobacco. Very soon, everybody around became aware of the creative writing skills of the new bride. As for my wife, her cheeks and ears were reddened in shame as her name and fame spread around. But she got used to the recognition gradually. As I had said before, nothing is lost permanently. Perhaps the tinge of shame which was there in her cheeks for some time had found shelter in a hidden nook of my own heart.
However, when it came to fulfilling a husband’s duty, I was neither miserly nor lazy to criticize and rectify the errors of her writing. On one hand, my father had indiscriminately fueled her creativity. On the other hand, I had been extra cautious to pinpoint her errors and keep her grounded. I went out of my way to show her the writings of the great craftsmen in English literature and to overwhelm her with their literary finesse. Once, she had composed a piece on a cuckoo. I read out Shelly’s ‘Ode to a Skylark’ and Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ to her and silenced her. It was as if in my erudition and intelligence, I seemed to share these great poets’ glory. After this, whenever my wife would insist me to translate the gems of English literature for her in order to explain to her their greatness, I complied with her request with a sense of pride. Did I not try to suppress her own talents by highlighting to her the grandeur of English literature the way I did then? But I did that because I believed that women were in great need of a shaded canopy like the one I had provided. I do not think my father or my friends realized that, so I had to assume this hard responsibility myself. If the beautiful moon, at full bloom during the night ever tries to become the afternoon sun, one may praise it effusively for a few moments, but would try to think of ways to cover it immediately. This was how my wife had become to me and I was looking for ways to usurp her light.”
Do visit the Amazon pages of the book to know more about it, and to read it. Your readership and reviews are highly sought.
https://www.amazon.in/dp/B074FLYG3G/ (Amazon India link)
The launch of the book in Delhi Litexperia, August 2017:
Book reading from ‘The Broken Home and Other Stories’: