4 February

We are sitting at Muttu’s, Comma and I. I dragged her here, the minute she stepped into the office. With a cigarette in her hand, she shed her uncharacteristic quietness rapidly.

Comma: “The other thing is that he has so many friends. Whenever I call, or he calls, he’s out with someone or the other, some party, marriage, birthday, housewarming, disco, evening out, something or the other.”

Me: “I thought you liked that sort of thing. You have so many friends yourself.”

Comma: “Yes, but it worries me. It’s different once you get married. I’d hate the kind of man who would put all his social commitments before me. You know, like he did that day. When we flew in to Bhopal, he was celebrating Republic Day at the office.”

Me: “Yes, but Comma, he could hardly help that. He’s the HOD, he couldn’t absent himself.”

Comma: “That’s true. But I’m just giving you an example.”

Me: “I know what you mean.”

We both sit gloomily for some time. Then,

I say: “Why don’t you talk to your parents? I think if they came into the picture, they’d really help. How long can you try to sort this out in your own mind? It’s been 2-3 months now, hasn’t it?”

Comma: “No, I hate asking them for their opinions. Once I do that, then I tend to do what they suggest. And having done that, I hate the feeling of not having made the decision on my own, of being taken in by someone else’s opinion.”

Me: “But they are your family.”

Comma: “All the more reason. You know, I’ve never asked them about anything major in my life. Like my shifting to Mumbai, for one.”

Me: “Don’t they mind?”

Comma shrugs: “Maybe they do. But in a big, joint family, somehow there is no time to mind so much when someone makes independent decisions.”

Me: “That sounds strange to me. I thought it was the other way around.”

Comma: “No, funnily it isn’t. There are so many people, and so many small little issues that everyone’s always fussing about, that the big ones just slip by unnoticed. And if a decision is put forth in the right way, with the right amount of ‘pleases’ and ‘what do you thinks’, no one really has the time to turn it around.”

Me: “Hmm, that sounds a bit unbelievable to me. Ogre’s daily doses of TV soaps are completely contrary. In those, people are always doing all they can to stop other people from living their own lives.”

Comma: “And of course, you think TV soaps are real life? Appi, really.”

Me: “You know what I mean. Anyway, if you so want to take the decision on your own, why do you keep asking me for my opinion?”

Comma: “Because it doesn’t make things cloudy. Because it doesn’t really matter in the long run. Because it’s not that I have to do what YOU say.”

Well, thank you very much. Just my luck to have people around me who don’t sugarcoat anything for my benefit.

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One Comment on “4 February”

  1. desi-at-large says:

    So joint families are really disjointed – trust Comma to figure that out.
    Once again, what would she do without Appi for a sounding board? Find another, I guess.


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