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There Are Also Good Men And Bad Women! Just Read This!

Discussion in 'Saturdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Oct 27, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Most Gracious ILites,
    As we were still reeling from the effects of discussing the book, “Why Men Don’t Listen And Women Cant Read Maps” I did not post anything last Wednesday. The excerpts from that book have made most ILites look down upon their husbands. Some of them to please me, went out of the way, to say that probably I may be an exception. I repeated this compliment to my wife and got a derisive laughter in response.
    Goodness and evil, I should say, at the most are evenly distributed between the sexes as you will see from this story, Brothers Keeper. I loved writing this story. Surprsiingly none of the Tamil magazines wanted to publish it. But Womans Era published it to raving reviews. The story is a little longish; but Womans Era thought it fit not to change even a word in the story.
    Kamla, didn’t I tell you in my mail that as a writer simple and routine things go to make profound stories than grand things and great sacrifices? And you would agree with me once you finish reading this.
    Happy reading ILites.

    Brother’s Keeper
    <!--[if !supportLists]-->[FONT=&quot]-[/FONT]<!--[endif]-->A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy

    I was roaming in the shopping malls of the <st1:place><st1:placename>Changi</st1:placename><st1:placename>International</st1:placename><st1:placetype>Airport</st1:placetype></st1:place> at <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region>. I had come early just to have a look at the unending row of shops in the mall selling proverbially from pin to plane. I have checked in for the flight to Chennai and have more than two hours to do an extensive window shopping.

    Normally I should have been on top of the world. The trip to <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region> was pleasant rewarding and by all standards successful. I have accomplished my mission. I was put up in the best possible hotel in the city state.

    I have also earned a hefty fees for the professional work done by me. As a bonus I have been gifted two large suitcases full of <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region> items – perfumes, cassettes, CDs, digital diaries, pens, chocolates, shaving sets, make-up kits, wrist watches, soaps.

    I am a chartered accountant practising my profession in <st1:city><st1:place>Bangalore</st1:place></st1:city>. The <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region> asssignment was a good break for me. One of my close friends was doing business in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region>. He and his business partner had developed some misunderstanding of late and they wanted to part as friends. My friend asked me to examine the accounts of their venture and suggest an acceptable method of dividing the business between the two.

    I was promised a substantial fee for the work. I carefully went about my work and at the end suggested an impartial method of division. The formula suggested by me was acclaimed by both the partners as just and reasonable. After paying my fees they loaded me with gifts obviating the need to go for shopping myself.

    They also hosted a party in my honour in a star hotel in <st1:street><st1:address>Orchard Road</st1:address></st1:street>. And just an hour back they dropped me at the airport and took leave of me after profusely thanking me for the work done.

    Given these circumstances I should have been the happiest person on earth. Yes, I was, till yesterday night. But everything changed after I talked to my wife Roopa. I had the usual husband’s urge to project myself as a hero to my wife. So I boasted of the treatment given to me – the fees, the dinner and the gifts. And there lay the greatest mistake. .

    “When you return to <st1:country-region><st1:place>India</st1:place></st1:country-region> you will be flying to Chennai and then come to <st1:city><st1:place>Bangalore</st1:place></st1:city>. Right?”
    “Yes, honey. That’s the usual route. There are no direct flights from <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region> to <st1:city><st1:place>Bangalore</st1:place></st1:city>.”
    “Where will you stay in Chennai? At your brother’s place, as usual?”
    “Naturally. The flight will reach Chennai in the night. I will take the next day’s Mail to <st1:city><st1:place>Bangalore</st1:place></st1:city>. I have already told Surendar to book my train tickets.”
    Surendar is my younger brother who lives in Chennai.

    “Well, that’s why I want to caution you. Don’t be too liberal with your brother or his wife. Got it? I know what you will do. You will just like that give away more than one half of the gifts to that sweet brother of yours and bring the leftovers to me.
    “I tell you, DON’T DO THAT. Don’t let Surendar or his wife know that you are carrying gifts from <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region>. Understand? You do not even open those boxes in their presence. You bring them here. Let me see everything first. Then if I feel like giving anything to Surendar we can send it by courier. Am I clear?”

    I have never talked back to Roopa. Our marriage still subsists because of the policy we have been adopting from day one : I rule and she overrules.

    I was in a mess now. Not to give anything to Surendar is grossly unfair. On my way to <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region> I had stayed in Surendar’s house for two days. He utilised his precious two days of accumulated casual leave and came with me to deal with visa and other formalities. He and his wife came to see me off at the <st1:place><st1:placename>Chennai</st1:placename><st1:placetype>Airport</st1:placetype></st1:place>. Now he will be there to receive me. And I am going to stay for a day in his place.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006

  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    There are Also Good Men and Bad Women! Just Read This

    I have two boxes full of gift articles. Not to give anything to Surendar will be plain cruelty. I will never have the heart to tell him “I have not brought anything from <st1:country-region><st1:place><st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region></st1:place></st1:country-region>.” My conscience started bothering me.
    <u1:p></u1:p>First I thought I would give some thing to Surendar without Roopa’s knowledge. Of course she does not have the full list of the items gifted to me and she could never find out. But there is a danger here. Next time when Surendar meets Roopa or talks to her over phone, he will boast, “Bhabi, Bhaiyya bought me these items from <st1:country-region><st1:place><st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region></st1:place></st1:country-region>.”
    My giving something to him is for him a matter of great pride and happiness which he will proclaim it to all and more especially to Roopa. For him telling Roopa is a kind of thanks-giving.
    And the moment Roopa hears it she will flare-up and the consequent hysterical bouts will make my life a hell. Over the years I have lost the ability to withstand her shouting or nagging. That is the main reason I let her have her way all the time.

    There is an escape route. I can tell my brother, ‘Surendar these are the gifts I brought for you. Let not your Bhabi know that I have given these things to you.’

    When a person is ignorant about the ways of the world the one thing you should never do is to attempt to teach them to him. I can guess what Surendar will say to that.

    ”No Bhaiyya it is not right for you to give me anything without Bhabi’s knowledge. I can’t accept. Please have it back. Don’t mistake me.”

    If I go back to <st1:city><st1:place>Bangalore</st1:place></st1:city> without giving anything to Surendar then my conscience will be bothering me for the rest of my life.

    I was utterly confused. I could easily resolve the highly complex business transactions in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region> expressed in at least half-a-dozen different currencies in no time. But this problem is clearly beyond my ken.

    In my troubled state I did not hear the departure call. A stewardess reminded me of my flight and literally pushed me into the terminal-gate.

    We touched Chennai at ten in the night. When I claimed my baggage and walked out the exit gate after finishing customs and immigration, it was almost eleven.

    Surendar was standing ahead of all others. When he spotted me he almost jumped in joy and was frantically waving at me. My response was not very enthusiastic. On seeing his happy face, feelings of guilt weighed me down even more.

    Of all my brothers and sisters Surendar is the most innocent. Except him all of us are professionals and are making good money. My eldest brother is a Cardiac Surgeon. My elder sister is a gynecologist. Another brother is a Supreme Court lawyer. My younger sister is a software engineer in the <st1:country-region><st1:place>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>. Surendar, the youngest in the family, is just a degree-holder and is working for a private firm at Chennai. Plainly he does not make much money.

    But he is happy and contented with whatever he has and has never shown any feelings of jealousy towards any of his siblings.

    Am I going to deceive this innocent brother of mine? Will I have the heart to do that? I placed my hand on his shoulders. Surendar normally hits the sack by nine. But today even at this hour he was fresh and talkative. Should be very happy on seeing his elder brother returning from a foreign trip.

    He took charge of the baggage trolley and led me to the taxi.

    “Bhaiyya, how was your <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region> trip? You made a mistake, Bhaiyya. You should have taken Bhabi along. What’s the great difference? You could have paid for her tickets from your pocket. After all your client is none other than your close friend.”

    “Bhabi doesn’t have a passport. I could not have arranged for that in such short notice.”

    “Another thing Bhaiyya. After finishing your work you could have stayed for a couple of days more to go around <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region>. They say it is such a beautiful place that one should never miss.”

    “I thought of that Suren. But I have a lot of work in my office. You know this is our tax-season. So I had to rush back.”

    I did not talk much. But Surendar was talking about so many things: the weather, water problem, local politics, power cuts, the traffic congestion, <st1:country-region><st1:place>India</st1:place></st1:country-region>’s poor performance in the Chepauk Test. I was just nodding and uttering uh-ohs at the appropriate intervals.

    “Bhaiya did you go for shopping in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region>?”

    The one question which I have been dreading from the beginning hit me at last. How can I answer that question? I glanced at the road. The taxi had just entered the busiest section of <st1:street><st1:address>Mount Road</st1:address></st1:street>. We were surrounded on all sides by moving vehicles.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
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  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    There are Also Good Men and Bad Women! Just Read This

    The climax stunt scene between my wife and my conscience was being enacted in my mind. Should I tell the truth now, share the gifts with him later and return to my place with a free conscience to face Roopa’s wrath?

    Or hide the whole thing from him and go back to Roopa with boxes fully loaded with gifts and mind loaded with guilt? Conscience or Roopa? At last my wife won as usual. The end was tragic as it happens in most of my life’s decisions concerning my wife or my marriage.

    “No Suren. I did not have time to go out. You know I had to work for more than fifteen hours every day. Naturally I had neither the mind nor the energy to go out for shopping.”

    At least the statement was literally true. I never went out for shopping. It was true but not honest.

    “Bhaiyya you are very unfair to Bhabi. You have not taken her along. She was all alone in the house for five days. And now you say you have not bought anything for her. Have you not brought at least a bottle of perfume?”

    I did not know how to respond. I remembered seeing at least two dozen bottles of perfumes in the gift boxes – different makes and different sizes. I just nodded my head to signify that I have not bought anything for her.

    “Bhaiyya you might be a great man in your profession. But in family life you still have a lot to learn..”

    I was squirming within. I could not adequately respond to that accusation which was hurled at me more out of affection than out of animosity. At the most I could produce some incoherent ramblings which Suren ignored.

    Meanwhile we had reached our destination. Surendar lived in a crowded apartment complex near the Mylapore temple.
    “Bhaiya you go in. I’ll settle the taxi and come in with the luggage.”

    Suren’s wife Bharathi came out to receive me. She touched the ground before me in the manner of traditional welcome.
    Veiling her face she spoke in a soft voice.

    “Welcome Bhaiya. How was your trip to <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region>?”
    “It was fine. How are you?”
    “I am fine. Please come in.”

    I have never ceased to admire this girl – Surendar’s wife. She is a direct contrast to Roopa. I have never seen her raise her voice. Never have I caught her arguing with Suren.
    When any of us – Suren’s brothers and sisters – comes she goes out of the way to make us feel welcome. Though all us could easily afford to stay at five star hotels we make it a point to stay with Suren only to enjoy her affectionate hospitality. To cap it all she has done her M.Phil.in psychology. But she never shows it or talks about it.

    Suren has not had a good education or a rewarding career and is destined to stay within the confines of the middle class for ever. But he has been blessed with an extraordinarily good wife. That is definitely a far more significant blessing than the external advantages of rank and fortune.

    Suren and Bharathi virtually celebrated my homecoming with an elaborate dinner of naans, fried rice, noodles and a host of side dishes. A sumptuous and a memorable dinner. After dinner we chatted till it was two in the morning.
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  4. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    There are Also Good Men and Bad Women! Just Read This

    As commanded by Roopa I did not open the boxes which contained the shopping items. I thought Suren would ask about the two extra boxes I had brought from <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region>. He will remember that I had not taken them there.

    But I pre-empted the question by saying that those two boxes contain papers and documents connected with my professional work there in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region>.

    Seeing that happy family I started to feel even more guilty. How happy would they be if I distribute some of those items. Of course I and my wife cannot use all the items. There were so many of them. What’s the harm in giving way some to this affectionate brother and his wife? But I was once again reminded of Roopa’s hysterical shouts and that made me silent.

    Next day was fairly eventless. I slept till nine in the morning. I did not have the mood to go out. So I just relaxed in Suren’s house. Suren had left for office before I got up.

    At seven in the evening I had finished packing and was ready to leave. Surendar had organised a taxi for me which was waiting outside. I was just waiting for Suren to return from his office so that I could say ‘hai’ to him before I go.

    Suren did not turn up and I became restless. Just then he passed a message through a neighbour that he was held up in his office and would try to meet me at the Station.
    I was a trifle sad that I could not meet Suren. I took leave of Bharathi and started to load the luggage in the taxi. When I lifted the suitcases containing the shopping items my heart felt much heavier than the boxes.

    My conscience labelled me a selfish giant; after taking so much of help from Suren and Bharathi not to give them even a box of chocolates was selfishness of the worst type.

    Oh God, I prayed, will I ever get over this? I took great efforts to hide my feelings and the consequent tears from Bharathi and commanded the driver to go.

    The AC 2 Tier Coach of the Bangalore Mail was very cool; but even it could not bring down the heat of my mind. After ensuring that the porter had stacked all the boxes and cases under my berth I came out of the coach to look out for Suren.

    “Bhaiya” – Suren’s shouting made many people turn in our direction. Suren should have been running for quite some time. I could see that he was gasping for breath.

    “Bhaiya” – He could not talk for a while.

    I saw a large parcel in his hands. Poor fellow he has brought food for me!

    “Suren I have already finished my dinner. Why do you load me with a food parcel? And that too so large? ”

    “O Bhaiya, this is not food. These are all <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region> items. You have not brought any thing for Bhabi. Poor soul! She cannot bear the disappointment. You know what I did!

    “I persuaded my Manager to give me an afternoon off – I told him I will compensate it by working full day this Sunday. Then I went to the local Burma Bazaar. You know in <st1:city><st1:place>Madras</st1:place></st1:city> all foreign items are available. I bought an assortment of items – perfumes, soaps, toiletries. You just tell Bhabi that you bought all these items in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region>. Otherwise Bhabhi will be very unhappy with you.”

    Suren would never understand in his life why should I hug him with a sob for such a simple matter.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
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  5. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    this story is a sure heart touching one. I am moved by the act of the younger brother. I do not know what to say about the story. It is a very touching one.
    But one thing is- any wife would want to have a look at what her hubby bouhgt from abroad before giving away to the family. I too feel like that. I could not ask anybody else to get me things which I want, so I would want to possess such things than give them away. I feel it is natural.
    There is a simple solution- Bhaiyya could have told Suren that there were some gifts in the two boxes given by the clients and he did not know what they were. As there was no time, he could not open the boxes and see what were in them. He would send some from them to Suren once he went thro it. I am sure Suren would not have felt bad and even Bhaiyya would not have lost face, he could have satisfied his wife and also his conscience this way.
    And why did the Tamil publishers refuse to publish this? This is a good story and has a very good climax. I feel it could be televised also as an one episode story.
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  6. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sridhar..

    This was one heartrending story. You called it 'story' and hence I call it so. Otherwise, it could be a real life scene from any one of our lives. It is so true, so real and so today.
    The older 'Bhaiyya' of this story is one of the most pitiable and the most poorest of his spceies! What a harsh 'slap on the face' the loving gift parcel in the end must have been to him! I dread to think how many such brothers really do exist in today's world.
    I may not agree with your title though...ofcourse, there are good men...no need for an 'also'. And..ofcourse there are bad women. The issue here is not which gender is good or bad, but that of each one's character, their strength and weakness. Our hero here is pitiably weak in character. Eventhough he is in awe of his bullying wife, he could have used his common sense and let the brotherly love rule him once in a while. Whether he goes back with full suitcase or not, he will still have to endure this wife for the rest of his life. Atleast the fellow might have attained some peace of mind if he had shared just one or two of the goodies with his loving younger brother.
    I think this is one of The Best of your stories that I have read so far. Once again, as it is so real, I hesitate to call it a story!
    Thanks for sharing it with us.

    L, Kamla
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  7. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Your stories are becoming unique, my dear Friend !

    My Dear Sridhar ,

    You should have challenged us for this story “ you cannot read this without crying”.

    By saying specially “also good men and bad women”, I only hope you do not imply anything generally !

    Tell me, Sridhar, do you think a man lacks guts when he has to face a bullying wife ? Ofcourse, many women create tantrums, but a man should be able to overrule her, perhaps, though not possibly at all times, but at appropriate times. I will go to the extent of saying, that the reverse should also be true, whenever a necessity arises. That is real equality ! Don't you agree ?

    You rightly, but sadly said, that a man, capable of resolving highly complex professional issues, fails miserably when it comes to a simple issue in domestic front ! As a man, tell me, why ? I think a man must be tactful enough to handle such situations. They arise in everybody’s life. If I tell you, how V & myself handle them, I L ites will pounce on me !

    Your expressions are very beautiful in this post, like
    Not telling truth, but not a lie at the same time.
    This thought process is a blessing to us very often !

    But he has been blessed with an extraordinarily good wife. That is definitely a far more significant blessing than the external advantages of rank and fortune my heart felt much heavier than the boxes.
    Don’t you agree with our great, one and only Kannadasan, that
    Manaivi amaivathellaam Iraivan kodutha varam ?

    This story shows you as an unparalleled observer of the eternal mystery of “man-woman” relationship !

    Love & regards,
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
  8. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear sridhar,
    You have really outdone yourself....that was hilarious because of the real life situation in many households....and also pathetic , when you have potrayed women as so selfish.....
    Well now come out in the open and declare which is true, ARE WOMEN SELFISH AND MEAN OR SELF SACRIFICING, MARTYRS......ha ha.....

    and like you have said, even everyday things can be weaved into a good story by a master story teller! Goodwork.....and you have really brought out the workings of the conscience in a true manner....:clap

    Well , thats how we Women are and see how we can reduce a professional Man to bits and pieces.....i guess this guy has to take a course in How to handle his Wife and Conscience....
    Maybe some of our IL ites can qualify for that, they have given so many alternatives already about how this Hero could have dealt with this situation!:tongue
  9. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    that was class...

    Hello Sridhar,

    Another beautiful story but sounds more real. for a change, got to read about the beautiful chord between brothers.

    this story reminds me of something that happened with me last year.

    last year for diwali, we got a beautiful gift - an extremely beautiful Ganesha carved out of a stone & a beautifully done lamp to go with it. I would say that was best gift ever. I was saving this gift for the new house. I left it wrapped. around the same time, one of Prakash's cousin was moving with his family abroad & we'd called them for dinner & before leaving this cousin saw this gift pack, opend it & asked for it. without a second thought hubby handed over the whole pack to his cousin & I was so disappointed. I waited for them to leave & when I asked about it; hubby said, "You can always buy another one". Even today, whenever I shop I keep searching for a similar Ganesha.

    I always feel its very auspicious to get Ganesha that too something beautifully carved with beautiful lamp, etc.

    Husbands don't understand sentiments, sometimes.

    Maybe the wife would've had such experiences that she has turned so very selfish. she doesn't trust her hubby would bring in things for her. Maybe the husband needs to work towards getting his wife's trust first. but you've portrayed the younger brother to be an extremely innocent & lovable character & that makes us also feel guilty for not sharing the gifts. but then, the elder brother could've bought just chocolates & few very small things for his younger brother's family & told his wife about it. Maybe he could've told he's getting 2 huge boxes of gift for th e wife & a small bag of few things for his brother. I don't understand the fact that a wife can rule a man to that extent.

    beautiful portray of a man caught in a different situation / emotions. the younger brohter's attitude is surely touching.
  10. rajeswary

    rajeswary Guest


    HI Sridhar ,
    No doubt the story was so ................touching .... but i personally agree with varloo's opinion ! its a natural tendency in almost every woman to act like this ! Dont think i support the character 'Roopa ' - no woman should be so cruel like her - I do admit .
    I appreciate Chithra for her comment - y men cant tackle such a problem ? - really a good question which u need to answer !
    Anyhow its one more ' muthaana kadhai ' by u sridhar ! Hats off to u !
    with regards ,

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