Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Secular Lover

Rakesh was a curious lover.
‘At fourteen, I found my first love, here in this town,’ he recollected, ‘a Christian, devout, chaste, the Sunday school type, you know. I stared, for hours, at the cross nestled against her cleavage. At fifteen, I talked to her. I asked her, why are you a Christian. She replied that it’s the only religion she can follow, in English. Man! That sounded so frivolous.’
‘Seven years later, in Bangalore, I fell for an orthodox Brahmin girl. It was destined, man! Every morning, on my way to work, I used to see these traditional ladies bending over, drawing kolam in front of their house, you know, those intricate patterns. What a sight! I had to have a religious, conservative, cultured woman like that. There was this girl in office. Real cute, looked so virtuous. She invited me, and the rest of the department, to her house. The dal, or maybe the chutney, did not agree with me. She took me to her room. I saw her book collection. Salinger, Nabokov, not a single religious text. Man! I had to use her toilet.’
‘I bounced from that into the arms of an atheist. Well, I realized soon that she had many more ists – anarchist, communist, feminist, ornithologist, anti-fundamentalist, whatever that is! Oh man! Her company felt as comfortable as a Molotov cocktail waiting to be lit.’
‘Then, in Trieste, I met my true love. Every man has only one, or so. She was Turkish or Iranian. Jeans and head-scarf, lethal even in purdah. Man! A thousand veils should shield her face from other lechers, her body the type that made guys say ‘esque, esque’ after Juno. On my last day there, while I waited for the bus to the airport, she walked past me. Man! She spoke to me! Such sweet Arabic, I gloated to another guy. That was Italian, she said your fly and mouth are open, the spoil-sport corrected. She was right, I admit. Goddesses should not speak to mortals. If only she had not, man!’
After many travels and travails, Rakesh returned home to find a wife arranged for him. She is a perfect match - religion, caste, colour, height, weight, ideology, all the boxes ticked. But, with regard to money, she is a mismatch. She is much richer than him, and absolutely perfect. He is now thirty two and she is twenty eight. They inherited two houses, a car, a speed-boat, two club memberships, a rubber estate and other properties, couple of huge fixed deposits, and a kilo or two of gold. They have bought, without loans, one more car, a villa in the city and a holiday home in the hills. They have added a kilo and a half to their gold bullion. Another point-five kilo will reach their locker before the number of kids reaches two. Currently, his wife and their one-point-five kids are taken care of by four grandparents. They worry about their dollar and euro as much as they worry about their rupee and, the prices of rubber and onions.
‘I am a secular lover,’ Rakesh concludes.  


  1. This one reminded me of the Kitsch as mentioned by Kundera!! Although you had handled it in a funny(really?) manner, here it talks about what men consider a yes in a woman and no in her!! What they want to approve and what not!

    Its kind of funny right the expectation!! ;) and the justification!

    1. I have to read that Kundera book once again asap!

      What people see or want in their lovers can be really weird and curious, I agree...

      I was thinking about politics when I wrote this one... and the meaning of secular! Then, I thought about this guy. I am sure he is "secular" in some way but I am not sure if he was secular in the beginning or secular at the end! :-)))))))

      But then, our society is a bit like this, right? We have our reasons to like people and we think of people outside our group in ways that can seem bizarre... right?

      Ok, I am just thinking aloud! HaHaHa

      Thanks for reading, KP....best wishes!

    2. Well it did remind me of the one you wrote about two men discussing religion a and wife! And those words like secular did give a clue! But I saw only what and how I wanted to see!! :) Sorry!

    3. Why are you saying sorry? I thought it is understood that the writer can think whatever he/she likes and the reader can think whatever he/she likes!

      Btw, which is the one about two men discussing religion? :-)))

      I should admit that the underlying "love" stories are quite true... possibly, including the thought processes of the "lover"...

      I think I have known quite a few who seemed open to all types of affairs but finally, when it came to tying the knot, they married the "right" one with all the "right" accompaniments... I guess you know our society!

      Thx once again...