I was chatting with Vanaja. About relationships.
She was feeling sad that her son seemed to be immersed with his wife and new son and seemed to have moved away from his parents. The Parent-child relationship is something that doesn’t improve but only grows downwards, she said. Sons seem to feel that parents can take care of themselves. And they get caught up with their own families, however close they may have been before.
Every relationship needs space. And you find you can only realte best with yourself as time goes. You have to go inwards,she said. Is that like finding God, or your Self ?I asked . Whatever, but still you can only find peace within you.
So I was asking her, doesn’t true love exist? What is true love but Love that endures for a lifetime?
And then we heard Mr and Mrs Pilgin were outside so we rushed out. Ms. Pilgin is one of those legends. She brought up the whole Toda community even battling with Nehru once. Brought up by Xtian missionaries, she went to Germany to learn nursing, came back to fight, cajole and push her community out of its decadence.
Her bright nature attracted Wiederman, 15 years her junior, who married her and came to Ooty to establish a farm and settle down into lively domestic life with her.
Now more than 50 years down the line. She’s practically immobile after a couple of heart attacks and strokes and the devotion with which he looks after her! Devotes himself to making her comfortable, shifting her around and talking to her, though she responds little.
And he is so cheerful and sweet about it, cracking jokes and loving her.
Another person of the same mold was my cousin Babu, who came to stay for a week this summer. I remember his very intelligent and attractive wife, declaring proudly ‘he dotes on me’ 25 years ago, when he broke family norms to marry out of community.
They moved to England and she developed Multiple sclerosis. Now she is moved from bed to wheel chair, propped in front of a tv, fed spoon by spoon, and pampered with day and night creams.
There is something very special when men take to looking after their wives. Maybe it’s because nurturing is not the gender role usually allotted to them. No one remarks very much when women do the caring. Maybe we do it bad grace. Or minus the jokes and the camradiere. Maybe its just the different way we view men and women.
Still, these are very special men and very special relationships.