From time immemorial, the number 13 has been regarded an unlucky, inauspicious, and ominous one. The serial number of my current blog post is 13, too. The topic/genre of the story in the chronology is troubled, too; it is about husband-wife marital discord with serious consequences.
Why did I take it up?
Well, why not?
Thus wrote the fiery poet from Andhra, Sri Sri (Srirangam Srinivasa Rao, popularly known as Sri Sri).
కుక్కపిల్ల (a puppy)
అగ్గిపుల్ల (a matchstick)
సబ్బుబిళ్ళ (a soap cake)
హీనంగా చూడకుదేనిని (do not look down upon any)
కవితమయమేనోయ్ అన్ని (all are pregnant with poetry)
కాదేదీ కవితకనర్హం (none is unworthy of poetry)
Truly, a revelation.
Having established a reason, however flimsy it might be, for taking up the topic let us get on with our journey.
Like almost everyone, I have been witness to marital incompatibility and the consequential discord among couples; this is irrespective of whether it is a ‘love’ marriage or an ‘arranged’ marriage. This affected me from early childhood. Did it help me in any way? No, it did not help in entirely avoiding them in they-lived-happily-ever-after way, but certainly in understanding their hows and whys. This helped me in making quick amends.
Out there, there are thousands of couples suffering from this malady, called “incompatibility”. Is it the fault of the individuals involved? I would not judge it as “fault”. When two dissimilar individuals, born and brought up in dissimilar cultures, living in dissimilar environments are thrown together into the “an institution” called marriage, there are bound to be dissimilarities in their likes and dislikes, practices and predilections, tastes and preferences, even familial loyalties. It is unfortunate that these take the ugly form of clashes, and suppression of the female ego (always).
This was the background of my story, “Reminiscences”, wherein the two main characters, Prashant and Alka are happily married initially, the incompatibilities notwithstanding. However, the dissimilarities give rise to incompatibility, which end in an irretrievably ugly situation.
Wisdom dawns on a repentant chauvinistic Prashant, who tries to make amends. Does he have hope? Or, is he too late?
By this juncture in my journey, I was able to take a contrarian view at the status quo of the world, which was heavily loaded against women (believe me, it still is). The last sentence of the story tells it all – the helplessness, the ills of male chauvinism, the lateness of realisation – and leaves a question staring at the reader, “Couldn’t he do it earlier?”
I followed a style of narration different from my general one in that most of the story is in the form of thoughts of the central character (the author speaking through the character) while the husband reminisces his past and realises his faults slowly and inexorably.
I have always held that we must mend the fences while there is time. Otherwise, we will only be left with reminiscences – guilt-ridden reminiscences.