Monday, June 8, 2015

The Sad Case

The sad young man left Adarsh’s place. He was soft-spoken, polite, seemed decent and trustworthy.
Akash, Adarsh’s brother and a lawyer, remarked, ‘What a case.’
His mother Mrs Kumar brought tea. She said, ‘Poor chap. He’s had a rotten life.’
‘I wouldn’t mind his family wealth,’ Adarsh said.
‘I certainly do not want his family,’ Swathi, Akash’s wife said.
‘What a family!’ Mrs Kumar exclaimed. She added, ‘But, you should meet his mother. She is so nice. That is the weirdest part. If she’s wicked or mean, it would’ve made more sense.’
‘Maybe, that’s why it makes sense,’ Adarsh said, ‘if she isn’t nice, would she have two husbands?’
 ‘Which one is his father?’ Swathi asked.
‘No one knows,’ Akash said, ‘they are brothers, so does it really matter?’
‘What do you mean?’ Swathi responded, ‘Will it be ok for you if your son could be Adarsh’s?’
‘I mean, genetically,’ Akash said, defensively.
‘And now, his marriage is in trouble,’ Mrs Kumar interrupted, clearly wanting to change the course of the discussion.
‘If she was my wife, she would have really got it from me,’ Akash said.
‘Do you want me as a housewife?’ Swathi remained on the warpath.
‘Homemaker, not housewife,’ Adarsh pointed out.
‘Would I want you at home all hours?’ Akash said, with a smile, trying to defuse the situation.
‘Then, why can’t she want to work?’ Swathi asked.
‘It was his only pre-nuptial condition and she had agreed before marriage,’ Akash said, now sounding like a lawyer, solid and sure.
‘Which man expects a woman to stick to her words,’ Adarsh noted.
‘Why does he want a housewife?’ Mrs Kumar asked. ‘In the old days, we had lots to do. What will a lady do at home all day these days?’
‘His argument is that he has enough money, has a good job and wants to return home to a wife who has time for him and him alone.’ Akash said.
‘Sounds reasonable,’ Adarsh said.
‘What does he expect her to do for him – sing and dance?’ Swathi asked.
‘She could have chosen a man who is fine with a working wife,’ Mrs Kumar said. ‘Plenty of those,’ she pointed at her two sons.
‘But still…’ Swathi did not want to give up the fight but she did not want to take it to her mother-in-law.
‘She could argue that she was too young when she married,’ Adarsh said.
‘Yes, that’s exactly what she’s saying,’ Akash said. ‘He beating her has not helped his case.’
‘Well, in the heat of the moment, you could say,’ Adarsh said.
‘Exactly,’ Akash agreed, ‘and, the judge might view it favourably, as normal wear and tear of matrimony, even in the current environment of zero-tolerance towards violence against women.’
‘He seems like a nice guy,’ Swathi said.
‘Do I look like a wife-beater?’ Akash asked.
‘You look like a wimp,’ Adarsh said.
‘No son of mine will hit a woman,’ Mrs Kumar said emphatically. She added, ‘Though your father could throw a fair punch… but then, men and women were different back then. What a sad case. Poor boy…’

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