On the phone, I was searching for locations to spare time while I’m in Kanchipuram. I’m leaving tomorrow night for a day, to my former BNI president’s house function, with my friends from BNI.
The group notification popped up saying “why don’t we leave tonight?” from Anthuvan. Only after seeing it I came to know; tomorrow is declared “bandh” by the opposition parties for the government’s new bill on citizenship.
“I’m up”, I replied and waited for everyone’s response. Within a few minutes, some calls and messages confirmed the sudden plan.
It’s Thinai Selvan, his wife (Kavi Iniyaal) (Ice-Cream shop owners), Ezhil Nayagi (Interior wall decorator), Anthuvan (Psychologist) and I (Kuviyil Kannan) (a formal Garment’s owner in Tirupur) are on the move in Selvan’s Innova.
It was Anthuvan’s plan. He hardly makes plans. But if he does, it’ll be undeniable.
Even though it’s a family function, only one couple is coming as a family. Ezhil’s husband is a workaholic, and won’t take off if he isn’t directly involved. Anthuvan is unmarried and I have reasons to leave my wife (Viyilai Nallaal)
- It’s a Club member invite for our former President’s Son’s Engagement.
- My recent (too many) disputes with my wife. So, I needed a break.
- Ezhil Nayagi.
Ezhil was my tuition friend during school days. Later found each other in a BNI Meeting. She became close after working with me for my new house.
Selvan drove till we reach a restaurant for dinner then, Kavi took the wheel. She drove until midnight. All the way, Anthu was on his laptop, working without batting anything in the back seat.
After midnight, I took charge, putting the couple to sleep until I feel sleepy. While I get into the driver’s seat, I see all 3 in my back fall asleep after a small tea break, and Ezhil companying me in my side.
I maintained a pace at 80 km/hr. It is stunning to feel the situation. The situation feels so romantic. I was singing along until she starts humming. Then it became her stage. I smiled along with her wrong lyrics sometimes.
Ezhil: Why smiling da?
I: Night drive. Everyone is sleeping. You are on my side. It’s amazing.
Ezhil: Chup. Someone may hear.
I: So, without noise?
Ezhil: Idiot. Drive properly. (she said, smiling at me)
I couldn’t resist myself from taking advantage of the situation after driving for an hour. So, I parked near a bakery on the highway and we both went to get snacks by 1:15.
While we are getting back, she dwelled in her phone messaging her husband (Mathi Ilan) updating location and things. It offends me a bit.
I: What ra? Eyeing in the late night?
Ezhil: Husband da
I: it’s my responsibility to look after you now. Not his. He left you alone for his job, right? Now ask him to sleep with his job.
Ezhil: just a formality da
I: Bull with your formality
Ezhil: okay… okay… sorry papa (saying that, she kissed me in the cheeks, holding my chin)
I hugged her back and kissed her Forehead. When I tried my lips to get down, ‘Chup. They may see us’, she pushed me away with a smile.
Both stood in front of the car for sometimes, sat on the bonnet until it heats up our butts’, and then walked a few meters. Man! This is the best moment of life. I feel so positive and lovely with this woman by my side.
As we didn’t care about the time, it cost us around half an hour. Seeing that, we rushed into the car. After getting back, I checked on everyone and once again tried reaching her lips. She stops me away and raised a hand. Eventually, it brought a smile to us.
I decided to not make any more moves with people nearby and give them the benefit of doubt. So, directed our conversation in deepfelt thoughts about Politics, Economics, Conspiracy theories, and even Aliens.
I didn’t feel tired for driving 2:30 hrs in the night by the conversation I had. Time almost reached 4:45 AM. We are about 170 km away from Kanchipuram.
When I asked her ‘what would aliens think about our life from upstairs?’, ‘Stupid?’, Anthu answered from behind. It brought a sensible smile to us.
I: completed your work? Psycho (psycho is the nickname for him)
Anthu: I have a lot, pending. Thought about sleeping for some time. You both have to pay for it.
Ezhil: sure psycho. Anything!
This convo woke Kavi up. She then made Selva drive and putting us (Ezhil & I) to sleep in the mid-section.
A sharp sun’s kiss woke me up by 6:30. It is Kanchipuram. Our former president (Kiranavan) booked rooms, but it’s under 12–12 time slot. He (or no one else) knows our change in plan. So, we decided to finish our shopping in the available time.
We freshen up in a restaurant and started dolling up till 1 PM. In the end, I gifted Ezhil a saree while reaching the car saying ‘this package is yours’. ‘So do this’, she gifted me one (a [dhoti] set). That’s one good “wavelength”, said me.
We finished our lunch and crashed in our rooms. The 3-hour power nap could have continued till the next morning if Anthuvan didn’t wake everyone up by 6. Once again, a surprise dinner planned by anthuvan in a near-by Dhaba.
We reached the Dhaba by 7:40. It is quite different from a regular one. It has a private space for a group, where the group has to sit in the ground-mat near the bonfire. The ambiance is lit with lite karaoke and a mini fountain. The karaoke can be turned to heavy metal beat anytime if we need a party mode.
I thought it would be amazing to be on booze, but Anthuvan specifically mentioned No.
We had our feast and sat near the bonfire, doing fun activities to keep us engaged like mocking each other, assumed acting, and singing along the karaoke’s tune. Being on Booze doesn’t seem to be necessary. We started enjoying even without it.
Around 9:30, Anthu brought in the “Truth out” game. Rules are simple; tell a truth about an overwhelming experience in your life.
Ezhil started it, telling about her family and friends looking after her like a princess during her marriage.
Then it’s me. I portrayed my feelings of pride while I got a state championship award for my team in Kabaddi while in school.
It’s Selva’s turn. He started saying ‘I haven’t shared this with anyone else, it could also be a moment to thank my lovely wife…’
Anthuvan: for marrying you? (he interrupted with a comment)
This brought a laugh in us. Then he continued
Selva: everyone will remember their best days for good times and worst for the worst. It’s opposite to me. That day, I felt like everything is over. Random thoughts like I’m of no use, couldn’t plan anything good, not eligible to handle business and self-demotivation. I even thought about ending my life. Kavi entered there and changed everything.
Until that day, she’s just making a home. She wants to make her living but I find it odd. Every time she comes up with a company’s portfolio, I diplomatically said “NO” by degrading that company. In that frustration, there were a lot of problems between us.
Whenever I’m home, she keeps telling and asking thinks about my day, questioning why I’m sitting alone, and advising things I’m not ready to hear. If she had done the same that day, things would have been different. Even chaotic. But some magic happened.
While I was sitting in bed with all the negative thoughts circling my mind, she came in. while I started thinking “now one more problem is added. Now I have to answer her stupid questions” for her entry, with a smile she said “I think, my king is under pressure. Maybe immense pressure. I don’t know what’s going on in his mind, but I believe whatever the problem is, he can find a solution when he calms. Good luck”. She left the room saying that.
My thoughts were completely turned on to her from everything. “What just happened?” I asked myself. Her words stumbled to me. I didn’t eat that night. I couldn’t. I was just recollecting her words for some time.
Thinking about those words, things popped up in my mind like, “yes. I’m her only hope. Out of all the men she faced, she chose me. I must be something special to her. I’m her only hero now. I can’t leave her out of nowhere. That wouldn’t be a man thing”. These thoughts let me think only about saving her with my life. For that, I must find solutions to all the problems instead of escaping it.
This costs my sleep that night. I took paper and listed out all my problems. I prioritized what needs to be solved immediately. Scrutinizing everything, I found 3 major problems, which have a solution to all my problems. Those are:
- I’m urging my victory.
- I have trust issues in the shop.
- I need to get Kavi a good career.
Understanding this puts a smile on me. I was laughing. There is an immense amount of courage in me now. This happiness belongs to Kavi. I searched for her to thank her. She was sleeping on the sofa.
I gently put her head in my lap and kissed her forehead.
Kavi: Found a solution it seems
I: Yeah! It’s you.
Kavi: how me?
I: you need a career in accounting. I need someone trustworthy. Why don’t you join the shop?
Kavi: you trust me?
I: I can trust only you
Kavi: why just accounting?
I: being my wife doesn’t give you the position of an owner. I should see that quality in you. If you are eligible, you’ll be promoted. If you aren’t, that may question our livelihood. So, there will be no concession in it.
Kavi: The salary part also will not come under concession.
I: sure! I promise.
Until now, she was talking with her eyes closed. Now she looked at the clock and said ‘It’s 5:50 AM. Didn’t you sleep?’
I: It’s about to dawn.
Kavi: So to your life.
Then, my accountant got promoted in my second shop. Now, we are successfully running 4 shops together. (Selvan concluded his speech)
All of us started applauding for the couple including Kavi. She kissed Selvan’s cheeks and hugged him.
Anthuvan: what made you try those words that day? Kavi
Kavi: I was afraid of his behavior. Though I had too many questions that day, gut feeling said ‘don’t ask any’. So, controlling my thoughts, I just tried to change the way I react. Also, he’s my only caretaker. That’s how given the name “King” and let those words flow.
Anthuvan: knowingly or unknowingly, you have taken your life from Hell to Heaven my dear. Congrats. If not those words, you might have lost him either way. Would you like to tell anything?
Kavi: I’m overwhelmed. No words. I just want to kiss my husband if you guys allow.
Anthuvan: Enjoy the moment. Selva, please take her for a walk. It helps your situation.
Hearing that, both went for a walk, with Kavi concluding ‘Good Idea BTW’
I: you said either way. What do you mean by that?
Anthuvan: He might have lost his life or his wife. Maybe both could have happened. Either through suicide or if the business goes well, by having an affair.
It shocked me. I noticed Ezhil’s puzzled face too. To not make it obvious, I just asked him to “Explain”
Anthu: How good was his situation at that time?
I: As good as our Economic condition.
Anthu: How good is his relationship at that time?
I: Directly proportional
Anthu: You knew the Suicide part. So, let’s just concentrate on the “Affair” part. Put yourself in his situation. Would you go to your wife if you feel horny?
I: not really.
Anthu: could you control the thirst for it?
I: I don’t think so.
Anthu: Nobody could. Being a male, we naturally like thrills, and breaking rules. In that case, what would a man do?
I: (nodded and said) Affair
Anthu: Exactly. For an absolute male, Reputation is like breath. If it’s lost, he loses everything. That’s why I said, you might lose your life either way.
I’m shocked. Did he just say “you?”. Did he know my status? Several questions in me.
Anthu: now, you are Selva, right?
I: (I got back my senses and replied) yeah! Fine.
Anthu: even you can’t maintain a relationship with that mistress too. All you need is sex. And that won’t stop any girl from asking questions.
I’m speechless. It’s exactly my situation now. My guilt lowered my head from looking at Ezhil now.
Anthu: Don’t feel guilty bro. you are just imagining the situation. It happens with girls too. But for a different reason.
Before my reply to that charge, Ezhil’s eagerness asked Anthuvan “how?”
Anthu: That’s rapid. The answer lies in you.
Every word he spoke stirred my stomach
Ezhil: How in me?
Anthu: put yourself in Kavi’s situation and tell me what you might have felt for Selvan’s behavior?
Ezhil: Scared. Doubtful. Insecure and what not?
Anthu: Exactly. With all that, if your life continued that way, how would you feel about your life?
Ezhil: Alone. Perhaps, Deserted.
Anthu: Correct. In that loneliness, even a simple message like “have you eaten?” will get a female’s courtesy. If the talk continues for a while, it’ll definitely end up in a relationship. If she’s married, not only her life is at stake, but her children’s too. That’s how a girl is losing her life. Everything a girl needs to understand is, her husband is working for his reputation to get build and for the welfare of the family, like your husband Mathi Ilan.
Anthuvan had us both with his mouth. We couldn’t speak another word. Before the silence prevails, the couple returned.
It still remains a puzzle that, how getting our partner in our business solves problems? Out of curiosity, I pledged the question
Anthu: See, guys won’t share our problems much. It’s like a prestige issue. We think, if we keep sharing our problems, the receiver may think of us as a failure. This attitude stops a man from sharing his problems with his wife.
Coming to the female’s, she’d like to talk much. She brings questions as a reason to talk with a male. She doesn’t know it will offend a guy.
If they are in the same place working with more than 1 people around, she’ll have the opportunity to put her words out and he doesn’t have to tell how’s he striving for his life. This will give a secure feeling to her that, he’s there for her.
If he sees her getting exhausted, his guilt will push him to help with her works. Resulting in the restoration of love often in her like, someone is there to look after her.
It’s just a mutual way of exchanging our feelings. Also, you’ll be in control without distractions, so, your business will surpass your competitors pretty soon. Anthuvan concluded his speech.
Though he said a lot about doing business together, my sense of shame didn’t leave me for a while. It continued even after reaching the room. I didn’t think about anything else than having my reputation restored first in myself and solving all my issues. For that, bringing in my wife into the business is secondary. First being distancing myself from Ezhil.
The next day, though Ezhil and I saw our guilt in both, we tried to act normal.
While leaving to Tirupur, I found her dhoti set gifted to me. I picked it and headed straight to her room to give it back, but I couldn’t acquire the word to give it back. So, stood in front of the door without notifying.
Suddenly, she opened the door with my gift. Before I opened my mouth, she said: “wrongly took it seems”. We both smiled at each other and exchanged our packages.
While returning to the room, Anthuvan asked: “what’s with the package bro?”
I: Misplaced with Ezhil’s package. Now it’s done.
Anthuvan: Now it’s in the right place, right?
With a smile, I said ‘yeah! It’s going to the right place’. In my mind, I added “Thank you”