Monday, July 6, 2009


My wife and I have quite a few recurring disagreements – like all other people engaged in wife-husband or any such partnerships. Among them many are petty, some interesting, others fairly trivial. I consciously am avoiding the use of the word ordinary because no spat-fight-brawl-struggle-contest (and so on) is commonplace when it involves human opponents of the marital kind. I use the word marital loosely, in an all-inclusive sense. Whenever two humans live together, the contentions are never boneless.

The most recent ‘discussion’ that is storming my household may not be of national or international significance, but it definitely has a wide universal and temporal implication. I remember seeing a film called The Gods Must be Crazy – in that film the adventures of an African Bushman were recorded. He was trying to get rid of an evil machine (a beer bottle dropped from a plane) which was wrecking havoc in his community. Trying to show the superiority of the Bushmen society, the narrator presented a peculiar piece of information about ours. He showed how we are ruled by numbers and angles. There are little or large machines in our household which are sometimes digital and sometimes analogue, which show either angles or digits, and thereby completely control our lives, irrespective of natural conditions. This made me think (by no means a rare occasion, though some people of the opposite camp would make it their business to prove so). There was no way I could escape the tyranny of the watch or the clock or the timepiece or the much-hated alarm. But I could always play with it. This is a ‘Marvellous’ idea, read ‘To his Coy Mistress’.

This ‘play’ is the problem. My wife is a person of a disciplined nature. She believes in all the right attitudes; she believes in truth, justice and the Indian way. Though not quite a superwoman, she is in possession of a superpower called Temper, and all contemporaries know how daunting the wrath of a fair (ex)maiden can be. Excuse me for being unnecessarily romantic and politically incorrect. It is the turn of words that draws.

Therefore when I made all the watches, clocks, computers, mobile phones show different times, she went slightly fanatical. It is a credit to mankind that I am still holding out. I shall not bow to the boring rule of uniform time. Imagine all the time-showers showing the exact same time. No sense of adventure, no sense of the uncertain, no sense of the erratic. Erotic alone can never be that exciting, you have to have the element of unpredictability in it – and the same rule applies everywhere. It is unpredictability that is the salt of life, nothing else. The only compromise I engaged in was that none of the timers show a time which is behind, all of them are ahead. I have to keep a job, don’t I? Being too erratic can be detrimental to financial health.
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