JournalismPakistan.com June 12, 2018
My friend is 59 and has spent the past 30-odd years like Horatius at the bridge keeping love at bay and not allowing Cupid's arrows to pierce his armor. There were several false starts, but they ended the same way. Nothing doing. Not the marrying type. Sorry, nice girl and all that but no marching up the aisle. Finally, friends and family gave up and cast him upon the waters of eternal bachelorhood.
So when he called the other day and said, what are you doing next Saturday, I assumed he was flying in for a few days.
Nothing, I said, you are more than welcome, stay with me.
I am getting married, he said.
That's okay, I said, what flight, I'll come to the airport and fetch you, no problem and the spare bedroom is there for you.
He said, what are you blathering on about, I am not coming, I am getting married like you know plight the troth and all that, I have even bought the ring, you don't listen, do you?
Something wrong with the line, I said, it sounded like you just said you were getting married, haha, isn't that funny, I mean you and marriage, hilarious.
I don't think it is funny, what's funny about it, I think it is rather rude to laugh in that way about the institution of marriage.
The what did you just say institution, you have to be kidding, aren't you the guy who called it a crumbling old rattrap, a citadel of collusion.?
That was then; this is now, I am deadly serious, I am getting married Saturday, so be here, okay.
Wow, isn't that a turn for the books, congratulations, who is she?
You will know when you meet her, now look no corny jokes, okay, you better make the right impression and act mature and bring some decent clothes, look smart, I want her to be impressed.
This from a guy who is turning 60.
Three days before the wedding, a bunch of old friends joined him for dinner, this man who had so successfully not permitted the breaching of his moat. Now he sat there simpering and soaked with liquid love.
She is awesome, he said, you know she walks into the room, and my heart goes pitter patter.
We looked at each other in horror.
I cannot take my eyes off her, and she paints, you know, she made that one, and he points to this ghastly frame with shrieking slashes of color; isn't it profound, she is so talented.
We all nod violently and push Picasso aside in our effort to proclaim her genius. Husain, too.
He said, I blame you guys, never got on my case, all these years wasted, I could have had college-going kids by now, lousy friends really, never pushed me.
That, I said, is an unkind cut, we tried, oh brother, did we try.
You have to see her, he said, she walks into a room, the place lights up, her voice is like crystal, she is so all there if you know what I mean?
Actually, no. When you have been married as long as we have, we do not see our wives voices resonating with the 'pinnggg' of crystal nor do we say they light up the room when they enter, more likely, uh oh, here comes a thunderstorm, now what have I done?
If I said to my wife you light up the room with your incandescent presence and you are my solar system, the odds are she would call the doctor.
Here, he said, as we drifted back into the conversation, see her picture.
For the tenth time, we have seen it, yes, she is lovely, yes, the sun pales in comparison, whooo, you have got it bad, mate, she's beaten you to a pulp.
Why are you guys so crude, I mean, can't you be graceful, this is not beating me to a pulp, this is an awakening, a clarion call, a realization of all that I have missed, till now my life has been a barren island, a desert, an empty quarter?
Yes, that, too, a derelict singularity, a pointless existence but now there is the purpose, there is the reason, there is the intent, you guys will love her.
I think you are doing great on your own in that department, so happy to see you happy.
You mean that or are you pulling my leg?
No, we are serious, good to see you. And his mobile rings with the tune of 'Love is all around.'
Shhh, that's her call, quiet everyone.
He puts on a spaniel-like expression of devotion.
Hello wello, my love dove, nooooo, thinking of you, yes, they are here, was telling them about your art, miss wiss you too, can't wait to see you tonight, kissy wissy...
Did I tell you he is going to be 60 or did I miss that? I haven't said kissy wissy to my wife since 1981.
Ah well, he is a happy bunny, and yes, it is a fact: when these old bachelors get hit by the arrow, it's bad, real bad.
Kissy wissy indeed.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
Daily Times, May 29, 2018