Contd from Part 1
“Alright, alright, ALRIGHT! I promise. You can preach and be pompous until my toes curl up and you won’t hear a whimper out of me, okay?”
“My word is Bond,” he declared grandiosely.
“Not your name, thank God!”
“Ah! Love!! Nah, it isn’t love. The male homo-sapiens inhabiting this blue planet of ours seem to find me a bit much to handle. Not that I blame them.”
“Well, not everyone has steel appendages like yours truly. If it isn’t love, what is it?”
“I don’t know really Anup. In a way, I think people like us are doomed to loneliness. There will always remain an underlying emptiness, no matter how busy and involved we get with life. Perhaps I don’t seem lonely to you now because I have made my peace with it. It is always going to be there and I know it. I have made a place for it. With time it will merge with the other misshapen walls and not stand out like it does now. Maybe one day I will even stop noticing it.”
“You were never the kind to give up. What’s happened now?”
“Where is the line between giving- up and acceptance Anup? Where is the wisdom to know the difference? What cannot be changed must be accepted.”
“This stinks of defeatism. You were never a defeatist.”
“And I am not one now. If my loneliness is to find succour, it will. It isn’t in my hands. Let God do his job without interruption from me and let me do my job.”
“What is your job?”
“My job is not to let this gnaw of emptiness skewer my worldview to such an extent that I forget to be grateful for what I have. There are people without vision or hearing; without one limb or any or other terrible handicaps. There are people who have nobody to care for them and no support at all. Yet, they are grateful for what they have. Surely I am better off compared to them. What right have I to be glum?”
“I’m not convinced. I do feel lonely. The early days of our courtship and marriage were so very beautiful. I miss the zing that existed between Radha and I. I don’t like this typical married couple non- zing, non- sparkle routine we have settled into. I don’t want to settle into a dull life with her. I want our early days back. What’s wrong with wanting it?”
“Who said there is anything wrong with wanting it? You can surely want it. You can also work towards it with all you have. More than that, what is in your hands?”
“Does that mean I should accept defeat?”
“Perhaps you should drop the last word. This really isn’t about victory or defeat. God isn’t playing a game with us in which we can lose or He can win. How many people in this world would give their right hand to experience what you and Radha had once… or experience it for just a day and live with the memory of that for the rest of their lives? How many people have dreamt of such a love and have never even had a pale resemblance of it in their lives? How many die without having found love at all while their soul thirsted for it?”
“They too have their moments of despair, I am sure, for the human heart is inclined to dissatisfaction with its lot; but they rise above their despondency. My job is to be with someone who can make me happy. My job is to be the person who makes other people feel a little less lonely. Maybe I have seen the answer to my prayers now because I am now looking in the right direction. Who knows?”
“In other words, you’ve turned into an insufferable prig. I always knew the day would come when you’ll become Ms Goody Two-shoes! But don’t expect me to like it. Acceptance be damned! I miss the zing I had with Radha and nothing will stop me from hating it as vociferously as I can. Not even you!” He sounded peeved.
“So who’s the nitwit now?”
“Don’t give me any of your lip, you bundle of burnt- out hay! It’s a low down trick to take advantage of a man who can’t put you across his knee and let your cheeky posteriors smart, merely because the said man is on the phone. I think you are getting soft in the head!”
“How long will I need to listen to you silly rhetoric before you admit that you see loads of sense in what I’ve just said? How long before you agree that I am right in thinking the way I am? How much longer do you want to be a stubborn old fool? Not that I mind, bless you. As far as I’m concerned, you can remain a fool for the rest of your life. Just let me know how long so I don’t kill you before that.”
“I love talking to you normally. But when you act like a self-important know- it- all, like you are now, I wish I’d never met you!”
“Ha. Was that meant to be funny? If so, why aren’t you laughing?”
In mock threat he began, “One of these days….”
“… you and I won’t have a cuppa together and talk all night until dawn…” I finished for him.
“Yeah, that one”, he said drolly. “May you slip on a banana skin and break your silly neck. I am going now.”
“I adore you too, you snobbish idiot” said I, with equal affection.
With that he was gone, back into the blue.
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