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Glaring Shadow - A stream of consciousness novel
“Here is that fact beyond fiction,” he began to narrate with a parental pride that didn’t escape my attention. “What a handicap it was to be divorced, thought my son; self-service at home and harlot-solace in a brothel; what service and how much solace! Women were ever scary of even wealthy divorcees as if divorce underscores one’s incompatibility once and for all, and a whore was no answer for a wife. Surely some featureless young thing could be willing and that’s no choice of a wife any way; but a lucky guy could bump into a desirable dame in the blind alleys of the Cupid and that’s a rarity anyway; as for affairs, they were seldom, even for the well-heeled in their prime, but as life is meant to be lived, he resolved, one had to go about it regardless and how to make the best of time was the essence of existence.”
“Envisioning liaisons through friendship magazines seemed to him no more than chasing the mirages of lust,” he continued with the account of his son’s life. “But for an ad here and there from a genuine dame, the rest were all from the cravers of female flesh, and given the lack of proper response, one might wonder whether the ‘willing women’ were in deed real beings or merely fictitious characters meant to buttress the publishers’ bottom lines; even otherwise, with the exhibitionist tone of the machismo ads, going through the pages left one with a sickening feeling; pity the dames who fell for such guys. Maybe the saving grace was the insertions for wife-swapping that seemed genuine for they were all about give and take; but then, wasn’t he rendered a hors de combat for he lacked the means for a quid pro quo? What about Vimala, he thought as he recalled that evening when he was led into a lounge of a mansion where he found a score of whores in awkward postures, and as he turned his back on the gaudy dames in disgust, one lissome lass in a Turkish towel walked in. Enticed, as he followed her in a trance, she sauntered along endearingly in her semi-nude, and that ushered in an unusual romance between them.”
“It’s as if your son had stolen your address-book of those places.”
“Well,” he said after a hearty laugh, “it occurred to him that Vimala could carry herself to pass off for his wife; what’s more she was bound to tempt any hesitant husband to jump into the swap trap. What an idea to pay her for the favors of a MILF or two in the wife swaps though not all of them were honeys? So roping in Vimala, he went on a hunt for the promising, and soon succeeded in roping in the willing – an educated and sophisticated couple in their mid-twenties, who were married for some years by then; he was handsome and successful, and she was sexy and charming. While they led an active sexy life, their family cradle remained empty, and that let the ennui set into their otherwise wondrous life. So, they tried to enliven their life by seeking pleasures as their fancies suggested, but as the novelty of those diversions wore off, their cumulative exasperation increased reducing the span of their thrill; and back to square one, they realized that they had lost the capacity to enthuse each other, so bored to death but committed to each other, they dragged their feet on their drab marital course. But when their love for adventure made them think in terms of venturing into the forbidden avenues of human joys, they began searching for a suitable couple to make it a foursome for a fulsome life.”
“Cynically brilliant, and surely it’s a notch above your threesome idea in the hospital.”
“Didn’t I tell you that my son did far better than that,” he continued. “The orgies that followed brought them all closer and that made them feel blessed in their blissful state. Soon the lover in my son cherished the woman of that wife and began to wish that she were his spouse, and she, used to sex as a marital obligation, found his lovemaking emotionally fulfilling. When she was in the family way, she instinctively knew that Satish was the father of the child; and as the issue in the offing began to draw her towards him, she thought about the ethics of its upbringing in the existing setting; as her maternal instinct got the better of her feminine infirmities, her husband’s position in her life seemed untenable in her perception, and it took little time for her to resolve that my son was the man of her destiny. Much before the expected delivery, she deserted her man to begin her life afresh with Satish; and to avoid a first rate scandal, we got them married in secrecy. Didn’t you hear the talk on the grapevine about the simple wedding of Satish and Sarala?’
“It was not the end of it,” he continued. “Let down and lonely for his misadventure, the lost soul was left to rue his folly; but as time started clearing the debris of his fate, he began to pick up the threads of life. As woman could only heal the wounds caused by woman, he went to a brothel for solace, only to be doubly wounded; he found Vimala among the girls and was dumbfounded to learn that she was picked up by Satish to act as a dupe to deceive him. When he threatened to sue Satish for the breach of trust and other criminal offenses, I had to cough up much to keep him off; legal case or not, surely he had a damaging story to sell to our hurt.”
“Isn’t it like making the best of a bad bargain? But not everyone would resort to that I suppose.”
“That’s about the inscrutability of human behavior,” he said. “So, hardly had we come to terms with the fiasco of Satish’s divorce than we had to contend with his scandalous alliance with Sarala. It was one thing to avert a scandal and another to reconcile to the oddity; while it brought to the fore our own liaison in the wake of our spouses’ demise, yet their offence offended even our blunted sense of righteousness. As we sought to punish them through our indifference, we all became strangers in our own house; and it pained me to realize that I had failed as a father to weave a right moral fabric for my son; well what can a fallen father do than to see the fall of his son? In those stressful times, I thought of Anand, and regardless of my past indifference, he came to see me; when I began my lament, he cut me short to aver that parents want their children to be happy the way they want them to be happy and not happy per se; and if their complying children were to be unhappy, they only turn philosophical to unburden themselves. It was this eye-opener that set our family ball rolling all again.”
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