A minor experience of hiring a rickshaw made him think about his relationship with his life partner
By Aamer Waqas Ghaus Chaudhary
We remained in the platonic world for almost three years before getting married to face the reality. ‘I can live in a hut sans all the facilities of my father’s home, but I cannot live without you.’ She used to say when I reminded her of the problems after getting married against the wishes of both the families and living on meagre resources–which one has after getting a Master’s degree–17th grade pay and a house to run with the ‘negative’ thought of being honest. She was ready and I had to make up my mind.
Now we are living together after legalising our affair known to people–from peon of our department to the chairman–who always suggested her not to marry me for I was a misfit. Who can mend a lady when she is bent upon committing a wrong? Of course none except Allah! Obviously I was a very small creature living on the verge of nothingness; so I was useless in this regard. My all plans of getting married at an ‘appropriate time’ (that is, unspecified time)–when I would be wealthy and could make her happy–never met with success. She married me amongst the superficial smiles of her family, where one is recognised by the position he is holding and house he is living in. Her parents thought that I did all the non-sense because their daughter was innocent, and mine–oh kuri sadey shareef jaey munday noo lai urri aey (that girl has snatched our noble son). This bickering lasted for more than a year. However, who can change the pre-destined when Jorian aasmanoon paey buntee hain?
We watched Nadeem-Shabnam’s Aina many a time to renew our pledge to stay together, and never pay heed to others’ observations. ‘The rest of the world is evil and they are all jealous.’ This used to be the climax for reinvigorating our love, which is receding with the passage of time. Darling! Forgive me for saying this because I am in a mood of saying the truth only–a rare occasion in one’s life when he is talking about his married life frankly.
I have not allowed her to work because I do not want her to go through the troublesome working of the office–‘Meri Jaan! You don’t know how painful it is when your boss is after you all the time looking for an opportunity to corner you.’ ‘How caring you are!’ She befools herself in web of words. I can trust her, but I don’t trust others. She is simple and any of the Maliks and Chaudharys can take her away from me–I believe. There is a possibility that I may take this step of allowing her to work after a few years down the road. Please don’t go away you Maliks and Chaudharys!
Sometimes, she does not like me being possessive about her. Once or twice, it has happened so. Once her cousin came over to our place to see her, I did not like that. I minced no words in showing my disapproval and she was more unhappy with the situation than what she showed on the face. ‘You don’t trust me’ is her usual retort. Then I think one should not marry after his heart. On the other hand, when she is taking care of me since the days when she was not even my pronounced wife, I believe that one should marry the way I did.
Yesterday, we went for outing-cum-shopping. We did window-shopping–couldn’t afford buying more than a few good things, but vicariously. She was noticeably unhappy at the small pocket of her hubby. I thought of uttering–paisa barra kaey pyar (Is money mightier than love?), but I didn’t because it would have hurt her. I am not that rude. We had quarter plates of salad and settled for riding a rickshaw for home.
While I was talking to the first rickshaw man, I saw her looking away from me as if she was not with me and waiting for the driver to bring her car, open the door for her and drive off. She is beautiful, no doubt. Probably, if I don’t keep good appearances through a lot of care, I should be one of those drivers on the roads with beautiful maids. One shouldn’t marry heavenly creatures, like her, when he is an ordinary man. Interestingly, when you are with such a lady, even if you are good looking, you are automatically relegated to redundancy. That is why, in all my group photos of college days with a title of ‘Memory lives longer than dreams’, I am always crowded by a few uglies. That is why, people say that this is your good picture. They don’t know what efforts I made to gather all those ‘beauties’ around me to look good.
The first rickshaw walla was asking five rupees more than what would have been the actual fare. I, being dumb did not realise embarrassment of my wife–surely not for the first and the last time in our married life–went for the second rickshaw instead of giving a few rupees extra, what I deemed unfair, to the first one. My wife–who is never short of beautiful words like meri jaan, sweet heart and…cannot write others–was standing alone away from me as if she did not know me. When the second rickshaw man agreed to take us home within my ‘fair’ money, she came in like a yesterday’s wind within no time.
There is a woman behind every successful man because she never chooses a failure. Why did she choose me? It might have been a trivial incident, but it made me to do a lot of brainstorming apart from feeling totally detached from my wife. Is she my wife? Am I not responsible for providing her prior-to-marriage facilities? Should I break my most cherished ideal of being honest and keep her happy? And many more things! I am living in obscurity and confusion since then.