Congratulations Pravin and Simple.

My readers will remember my post on Pravin’s wedding last month.

Simple and Pravin came over to meet me earlier this evening and I believe that the long wait that Pravin underwent before he found Simple and got married to was worth it. Simple is charming and bubbly and will be an interesting counterpoint to Pravin who can be quite serious and bombastic.

I enjoyed having them over and spend time with me.  I hope that they will make a habit of it. They have promised to. Here are two photographs of them together.

Pravin and Simple1

Pravin and Simple2

Single And Unapologetic.

To start off, let me share with my readers what prompted this post.  There is a post on facebook by an Indian novelist Usha Narayanan giving a link to a newspaper article with the same title.  In fact she is quoted in the article.

I have asked three single lady friends their opinion on the subject.  I really don’t know if they are happy about their single status as it is not something that we have discussed.  I however know of  a few cases of young ladies in careers desperately trying to get married and a couple where they did in haste and repented too.

On the other hand, this is a topic often discussed among men about advantages of being single men.  In my case, this has increased somewhat since I became a widower five years ago.

In India, whether you are a man or a woman does not matter.  From one’s mid-twenties, family and friends start asking one about one’s plans for matrimony.  It is very rare to find Indians unmarried beyond the age of thirty.

It is in this background that articles like the one quoted describe the new phenomenon but to the best of my knowledge, no one bothers to write about single men.  The fact of the matter is that women are under the magnifying glass for just about everything that they do and not so much the men.

I want to address the issue from a man’s point of view and since I do have a number of women readers, their views will be very welcome indeed.  Just a small rider before I proceed.  I am deliberately generalising with broad sweeps whereas reality is usually full of nuances and finer differences.  Please accommodate those for the sake of some intellectual kite flying.

There are bachelors, happily married men, unhappily married men, divorcees and widowers like me among males.  Many young bachelors with normal hormonal problems desperately try to get married and suffer till they do.  Since most of them in India do not know how to go about finding themselves a mate and are unhappy with what their parents find, it is very frustrating indeed for them till something clicks somewhere and they get married.

Next comes the happily married men and there is nothing to discuss about them.  Lucky sods.

The unhappily married men are the ones that need society’s maximum sympathy. Unlike the unhappily married woman who gets a lot of sympathy from everywhere, her male counterpart does not.  If he can afford it, he does find alternatives but that is such a minuscule minority that it is not worth writing about.  The long suffering husband stuck in an unhappy marriage due to financial or familial reasons is worthy of sympathy.  In a patriarchal society like ours he mostly gets ridicule unlike his female counterpart who gets sympathy.

The divorced men are admired by the unhappily married men and encouraged to stay that way.  The happily married men however take it upon themselves to advise them to get married again at the earliest and will even offer to find divorced women.  That the divorced man and divorced woman both want to experience matrimony again is simply too obvious when one peruses the weekend classified ads in our newspapers for second marriages.  There are so many ‘innocent’ divorcees that one wonders what the word means. And one also wonders why they would want to get married again if they are divorced!

Now comes the widower.  Here, I speak from personal experience as I have been one the last five years.  While my late father was alive, he felt it necessary immediately after I became one to take it upon himself to find me another wife.  He tried to get the help of my son who flatly refused saying that I am quite capable of finding one if I wanted.  The point is that even at that age, I was 66 when I became one, parental pressure was possible.  A couple of friends tried to impress on me that I should get married again but did not pursue the matter too much seeing how uninterested I was in the matter.  Two unhappily married friends were the only genuinely happy fellows to see me become a widower and they made it clear that they were happy not at my loss but at the prospect that such an eventuality is a possibility in their lives too.

And, if my dear reader you want to know what I feel, let me tell you, that  solitude is what I feel.  I  realise that I am now too set in my ways to find another mate who will find it difficult to adjust to my ways and I to hers.  So, I have got used to my single status and doubt very much that I will ever change.  I enjoy my solitude.


Mulla Nasrudin’s friend had to attend a funeral for the first time in his life. Not knowing the protocol, he approached Mulla for advice.
“Where should I be in the funeral procession, Mulla?” he said. “At the back, in front, or on one of the sides?”
“It matters little where you are, my friend,” Mulla said, “as long as you are not in the casket.”



When I Was Young.

I hope that you enjoy reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where eight of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar. The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

No, my father did nod advise me to be a bachelor boy when I was young. In fact, I cannot remember him ever having given me any sensible advise. There were however a number of others who did give me this advise, but man proposes and God disposes and at the ripe young age of 25, I got married.


Then I grew up. In double quick time. Yes marriage did that to me.

So, I was really young for only 25 years. And you don’t really want to know about those days.

I became a bachelor again at the age of 66. I couldn’t very well go back to being young and listening to advise from a father again you would have thought. Exactly the opposite happened. By that time my father had moved in with me and after what he thought was a decent interval, approached my son to advertise online for a wife for me. He did not like the idea of my being a bachelor boy!

The conversation went something like this after the request was made.

Grand Son: Dad is quite capable of finding a wife if he wants one. He does not need me to do anything on the internet. If however, you want, I will advertise for a wife for you.

Grand Father: I am 92 years old, who will marry me?

GS: Don’t worry, it is all in the advertisement that we create,

GF: ?

GS: Wanted bride for 92 year old multi-billionaire.

GF: I am not a multi-billionaire.

GS: You need not tell them that.

GF: Then they will be interested only in my money.

GS: Exactly.

Interest in matrimony for the intermediate young man dwindled away.

What Must I Do?

I am 69 going 70. I am in reasonably good mental and physical health though my shock absorbers have been replaced a few times. I am financially stable if not exactly in the same league as the subject of the article that you will read later, with my own roof over my head, an interesting, loving and supportive assortment of relatives and friends and a few club memberships for which people here will be willing to give their arms and legs.

More importantly, I am single and very eligible and I am told quite an amusing and interesting company to anyone. I may not look quite like Brad Pitt but I don’t think I am Homer Simpson either.

Despite all these sterling qualifications, I am single and unable to find myself a mate.

But just look at this enviable comparison. The bloke is nine years older than I am and he can find a 27 year old beauty to wed.

What must I do to get into the same league? No, I do not want to become a politician, but any other workable ideas will be most welcome. Most of my regular readers are ‘out of the box’ thinkers. Don’t disappoint me.



Twenty years ago, we were peers, working in different companies, struggling to make sense of a life full of tension, inadequate remuneration, high personal taxation, hardly any savings, and so on and so forth. Both of us were however, ‘high’ on Corporate Life, with attendant perquisites like, 5 Star Hotel accommodation while on tours, Business Class Air travel, chauffeur driven cars, fat expense accounts etc. Both of us were ear marked for greater things, when I decided that enough was enough and quit to change over to a smaller company with higher remuneration, less headaches and higher savings potential. I have not regretted that move yet. It perhaps saved me from cardiac problems, enabled me to purchase and settle down in our own home in a town of our liking and life was good.

My friend stayed on, and has just retired last year but has had two by-pass surgeries and is struggling to come to grips with retired life combined with an empty nest syndrome. He and I gradually lost touch with each other after I relocated. It was therefore quite a surprise for me to get a phone call from him a few days ago to convey his condolences on Urmeela’s passing away. He had just then got to know about it and called me to apologize and to cheer me up! We had a nice long chat with the usual “let us try and meet up” etc and were about to end the call when he dropped a bomb on me which has prompted me to attempt this post. He simply said, and I quote him verbatim, “I envy you your freedom!”. I probed to find what he meant and he simply reiterated the same and disconnected.

Since then, I have been musing about this startling statement about my current status of a widower. Does that give others the impression of my being free from the bonds, the restrictions and the problems of matrimony? Or what quite is that in my present status that makes someone like my friend, ‘envy my freedom’?
This post is an attempt at resolving some of the questions that have arisen in my mind about the status, more to think in writing rather than to create something to post as a blog.

As I understand, Freedom would mean two aspects of living. One, Freedom from something and two, Freedom to do something. In both cases, would his envy translate to mean that he is not free from something and he is not free to do something? What are the constraints from which, I have now got freedom? What are the things that I could not do before my status changed, that I can now do with my new found freedom?

Possibly with the exception of Grannymar, I doubt that anyone else from my regular readers can quite understand the significance of this musing, as none simply has the experience. It is a very intense and interesting thought process that I am going through as I attempt this post. As I had said earlier, this is to get my thinking structured more than anything else and so, please do bear with me, this long rambling post.

I have been racking my brains over this subject for the last five days and am yet to come up with something concrete to say categorically, that the changed situation has given me freedom from something and freedom to do something that I did not have earlier.

The only freedom that I can honestly say that I have got from, is the one as caregiver for Urmeela, a role that had been part of my personality for the past nine years. On the other hand, while I am indeed free from that responsibility, I have now the responsibility of giving care to my father and to a smaller extent, my son. So, the volume has come down, but the value has not. In other words, while one part of that responsibility has gone, the responsibility itself has not. The intensity is less but the commitment is still there. So, I cannot really say that I have got freedom from giving care.

Would it mean that I now have freedom from matrimony? I find that difficult to accept as, I am still emotionally tied to Urmeela, albeit she is no longer physically with me here. Her memory is more intense than when she was alive and the emotional state that I am is difficult to explain. Suffice it to say that I do not feel free from matrimony, or more truly, free from the memory of that matrimony.
I really am unable to think of anything else that I can say that I am free from in my current status of a widower. That is, compared to the time that I was married.

Coming to freedom to do something because I am now a widower, I have tried every possible thing that I can do as a widower that I could not have done when I was married. Apart from the one very obvious issue of adultery, I cannot think of anything that I am now free to do, that I could not have done when I was married. Adultery, now replaced by let us say, a relationship with another woman, is not exactly very appealing just now. I am quite prepared to have an open mind about that, but for the moment, I am just not so inclined.

I wonder if my old friend is having marital problems, which makes him envy my single status. A distinct possibility, but about which, I feel quite delicate to ask him directly.

So, what do you think is that aspect of my current status that someone envies as being my freedom? Your answer/s may well clarify my own thinking about this matter. Thank you.

Matrimonial Commitments.

By now my readers know that I have some very interesting friends. One of them is Karl, a most likable reprobate. Both of us share a passion for good books and keep borrowing from each other. He is somewhat hard of hearing and so, the two of us prefer sending emails to each other, rather than speak over the telephone.

I wished to read a book and as I am wont to, I tried to purchase it. I found the price too high and decided to try and borrow it. The first person that I thought of was Karl and so, here is an exchange of mails that took place between the two of us during the last two days.

On Tue, 21 Oct 2008 I wrote:

“Karl, this is a very expensive book that I would however like to read. If you could possibly borrow it from someone who may have it, or you yourself may have, I should be most obliged.

“I Don’t: A Contrarian History Of Marriage” – by Susan Squire



Karl replied the same day as follows.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 5:41 PM.

“Will certainly try. Are you revising your matrimonial commitments????????”


On Tue, 21 Oct 2008 I wrote:

“You must be joking!”


The reply that I got is as follows

“I was – joking. But why do you intend to waste your time? A happy marriage is a separate universe.”


On Wed, 22 Oct 2008 I wrote:

“Karl, from what I can gather about this book, it is against the institution of marriage! That is why it is called “A contrarian view of marriage”


I got this mail just a while ago. Karl at his best.

“Ramana, what I’m trying to get across to you is this; You’ve no reason to consider the point of view against marriage, so why on earth do you want to?

Personally speaking, and despite a hellish experience, I believe that any marriage is better than no marriage at all. That latter bit emits from a character in a very remarkable series of 12 novels – A Dance to the Music of Time, by Anthony Powell.

You must do the Dance, once before you die.”

Do you have such ‘adorable’ friends?