He stopped the car and asked me where was i going. I told him where i was heading towards and he said he would drop me. I entered the car not knowing his name. The board on his car saying ‘press’ told me that we had met somewhere and i dint remember the details. As the wheels moved, he asked me if i was going to cover the ‘unique marriage’. I told him that i was going to cover a protest and had no clue of any ‘unique’ marriage and asked for details. He said that a man aged 82 was marrying a lady aged 70 in a church nearby.
I was asked to interview the man, later in th evening by my in-charge boss. I rang the groom who told me “boy, i just got married today. call me on monday” His excitement was visible in the sound of his voice. But later we got to know that his son did not want his father’s marriage to become a news.
That night, comming home, i started thinking as to why would a man aged 80 think of getting married. Many wouldnt consider this acceptable, was the first thought that crossed my mind. Somewhere deep within if it appears ‘unusual’ or ‘different’ to me that’s partially beacuse i too have a defined model of how things ought to be. But the old man, may be , wants a companion. Simple.
Who does not want a companion? What is wrong if one longs for company? Does this longing has any age limit?
Na Umr Ki Seema Ho Na Janm Ka Ho Bandhan
Jab Pyaar Kare Koi Toh Dekhe Keval Mann
Nayi Reet Chalakar Tum Yeh Reet Amar Kar Do.
(Lyrics of film song penned by Indeevar)
Recently my student friend Shiv Sunny asked me when will get married? I said i have no intentions of getting married and he said “no sir, you should get married. we all need a company, isn’t it? friends will be there, but not always. we need a company who will be always with us, importantly when no one else is with us.” True. One cant rely on friends, parents and siblings all the time for ‘company’.
Just a few days after that i was messaging another friend of mine who was telling me that she was with her friends who are married and she feels very lonely in their company. This loneliness is nothing but a reflection of the need for company. After a few days the same friend told me that she had discovered that her mother has a boyfriend. Her tone said that she had no problems with it. She understood an individuals need for a company. So she had no issues.
Similarly, the old man must also have been in need of a company. He must be having no friends of his age. His children must be married and seeing them in company he must be feeling very lonely, i assumed. May be most of us feel awkward about eldrely people’s marriage is because we dont understand that vacuum created by company-less-ness.
Girish (Kasaravalli) Sir’s film Naayi Neralu also speaks of the same need of a companion, to me. In the film Venkatalakshmi is a widowand is living with her in-laws and daughter. She has shaved off her head, as a ritual, which her daughter opposes, saying it displays oppression of women.
Her father in law, Shanbogh, is told once by his friend that his son has taken a re-birth in a far off village. He claims to know that because he has met the boy and has heard him authentically speak of Shanbogh and his family and also claims to be a re-incarnation of Shanbogh’s son.
Shanbogh’s wife is excited by this and asks her husband to get her son (re-inacnated) back home and after a continuous pressure from his wife Shanbogh goes and brings his re-incarnated son Vishwa back. The daughter who is schooled, doesnt like this for she does not believe in re-incarnation. She doesnt accept Vishwa as her father. But Shanbogh’s wife has accepted Vishwa as her son and showering all her affection on him. Ventakalakshmi keeps a distance from Vishwa though he tries to attain her company.
When Venkatalakshmi, later, also shows interest in him, her daughter and her mother-in-law both disapprove the relationship of Venkatalakshmi and Vishwa. The daughter who is ‘progressive’ opposing the head-shaving ritual becomes ritualistic in her mind-set and the mother in law who accepts Vishwa as her son cannot accept Venkatalakshmi accepting Vishwa.
Vishwa and Venkatalakshmi start living seperately and then get seperated when Vishwa gets jailed for having exploited a women. When they get seperated Venkatalakshmi’s daughter visits her and asks “dint you ever feel that he is NOT your husband who has taken re-birth” and Venkatalakshmi replies saying “did i ever believe so, is the question” and her daughter and the audience are perplexed. Then why did Ventalakshmi accept Vishwa? Even when she felt that he is not re-incarnated husband! Possibly because she wanted a company. But in a ritualistic environment, remarriage in unthinkable. But accidentally she chanced upon a situation where the company was within her reach and she just took shelter in that chance, in that company.
10 January 2009