Through thick and especially through thin


Two of the most beautiful sights on recent television: Anupam Ahuja staring unblinking into the harsh lights flashing on her, declaring the innocence of her film star husband Shiney Ahuja who is currently under the scanner for allegedly raping their domestic maid.

The second frame reveals Sachin Tendulkar, looking debonair and dynamic, reiterating very resolutely that this (India being ousted out of the T20 World Cup) is the time when the country needs to stand by the national cricket team.

Let’s look at the second frame first, and consider the fallen-from-grace cricket team. It’s true that to any genuine and expectant cricket fan, the disappointment ran deep and the experience turned rancid to see the lacklustre performance of the cricketing heroes as they played to lose with team England. Suddenly it was not just a game to us, but a national shame, and the expletives that erupted from our mouth were hardly printable.

We lost all perspective and saw ‘captain marvel’ or ‘Dhoni & his devils’ as careless, irresponsible failures who had embarrassed us on the world stage.

We remembered how we’d cheered them with a garlanded truck when they had won the cup earlier, we thought about all the millions they were earning,we felt cheated and betrayed, completely forgetting that we gave them all these things at our own behest, they did not ask for them.

It took a Sachin with the straight and uncomplicated manner that is uniquely his, to stir national conscience and remind us that winning and losing are both part of any game, that there will be many more victories, and likely as many more failures and that should not make us lose our humanity.

Their collective spirits are in their lovely sports shoes, and as Sachin reminds us, this is the time they need us the most. It has been a massive-sized heartbreak. What do you do with a broken heart? You pick up the pieces and put them back together, you don’t kick them all around the place to fragment them further.

Blind belief

As she flashed the fire of an indignant wife and repeated over and over that her husband Shiney was innocent, and time would prove it — many of us took a minute off to snigger. We wondered if Anupam were crazy, and thought she was being a blind fool to go on talking about her husband’s innocence to anyone with ears; especially considering that simultaneously her husband was coming out with statements that he was sorry for what he has done.

Anupam is a wife and a wife needs to come in when the whole world has gone out, and stand by her husband despite any alleged crime. That is what marriage is all about. The vow that talks about ‘better or worse, thick or thin’ is not referring to the wedding blanket.

This is the thin, when life itself kicks you in the shin, when you have to try with all that is within you to prevent your world from caving in. The legal process will take its course, Shiney may be proved innocent or guilty — either way, a little daughter and her mother are going to be there waiting for him, with their arms wide open, to start life afresh as the marriage takes on a brand new turn. It is the pot at the end of the rainbow that will get Shiney and Anupam through this truly horrible phase of their lives.

We in India are fortunate, through the centuries and because of the indignities that have been imposed on us by one plunderer after another, we have cultivated like a second skin, the royal laws of love and forgiveness. It is the perfume that differentiates us from any other nation, and we should never let it lose its fragrance in our day to day events and life relationships.

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