Musings over a cup of Tea

By Bisma Tirmizi

Musings over a cup of Tea; a column I have been wanting to write for the past seven years, but somehow life just got in the way and here I am today hoping to say something meaningful to get the fledgling column going, and what better address to say it than Pak Tea House.

I sit down to write about something light and joyous but the music playing on my morning commute takes my musings into a different direction, a dark, negative issue grips my mind and demands being said. The song playing was Mitwa from the Indian movie Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna sung by our very own Shafquat Amanat Ali Khan. The song is pure magic; lyrics, music, melodious voice, choreography, beautiful actors, all representing the best a society has to offer. But is it?

The movie I refer to deals with a reality rampant in most societies, but sadly glamorizes it. Two socially acquainted couples, A and B, (I name them A and B for the sake of clarity) interact within the norms of society, and then the married woman from couple A and the married man from couple B fall in love with each other, leaving their spouses high and dry. Thus acting on their impulsive and repulsive affections woman A and man B divorce their respective spouses and marry each other.

This is a plot that fiction is made of, and until recently I believed the same. When the Pakistani TV serial Maat aired a few years ago I remember having a discussion with my mother about the ludicrous plot line of the play, I was having a one sided discussion since I noticed my mother’s silence. And then after my repeated questioning she mentioned that a very close family friend was living the story of Maat. What, how, why, a woman eying and seducing her own brother in law?

Since then I have witnessed three more such cases, all six married couples are personally known to me, and all are so called high society. All three foursomes were inseparable, in one case a man fell in love with his best friend’s wife. And the other two were within the family, a woman fell in love with her (brother-in-law) husband’s sister’s husband, and in the second case a married woman seduced her cousin’s husband, who also happened to be her own husband’s best friend.  I witnessed such heartbreak as these events unfolded, and at the risk of being a judge I will call them heinous.

Yes, heinous and ugly they are and so is the society that supports such bonds when they are in the process of building. In the majority of such cases I have noticed that the two passive spouses choose not see the obvious bond that is building under their noses. Is it fear or disbelief? Are they to be blamed for nurturing the affair? What is their responsibility, if any?

These are all hard questions to answer. Tragically the two afflicted individuals are two of the many who are devastated when such incidents occur. It rips through families destroying everything in its path and creating ripple effects for generations to come, and for movies to trivialize it my having the emotionally battered spouses play cupid in the end is entirely vulgar, as is the affair.

Of late I have been lectured by a few to hold my judgment, I have often wondered why? Is there nothing one is supposed to judge, the ugliness in society, the emotional abuse is to be left unpunished? I think not, there are times in life one must take a stand, a stance to support the right, a position to challenge the wrong. One may not be able to correct the erroneous ways of a society, but looking in the mirror becomes a little easier.

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