Friday, March 13, 2015

Humor in Uniform - “BACHELOR BOY” - Story of the Curious “Married Bachelor”

This morning – my wife told me that she was going to her mother’s place to spend the weekend.

I felt “sad” – and I remembered this story from my Navy Days.

“BACHELOR BOY” 
Story of the Curious “Married Bachelor”
By
VIKRAM KARVE

If you go to a Defence Officers Mess (or Navy Wardroom) you will find two types of “single” officers:

1. Unmarried Bachelors

2. Married Bachelors

Again, “Married Bachelors” are of two types:

1. “Permanent” Married Bachelors – “in living” officers who are married but are staying away from their wives for some reason like wife’s career, children’s education, marital discord etc and reside as “single” officers in the Mess.

2. “Temporary” Married Bachelors – married officers who temporarily dine in the Mess because their wives have gone on a vacation or for confinement/delivery of a baby or some back-home-type family occasion/commitment.

But I once met a third type of “married bachelor”.

Yes – the story I am going to tell you is about a rather curious married bachelor I met long back in the Navy.

Let us call him “X”.

This anecdote happened more than 35 years ago – when I was a carefree unmarried bachelor – and I lived in a wonderful officers’ mess with some delightful messmates – most of whom were also “unmarried bachelors” like me.

Now “X” was quite senior to us – and “X” was very much married.

Though “X” was married – he spent every evening with us unmarried bachelors in the officers’ mess.

“X” would arrive in the mess punctually at 7 o’clock in the evening.

He would play billiards with us – then come to the bar and drink with us till closing time – late into the night.

After enjoying the entire evening with us at the officers’ mess – “X” would go home to his wife – almost at midnight.

This was his routine every evening.

We felt sad for his wife.

We felt pity for her – because of the terrible shoddy manner in which her “misogynist” husband “X” treated her.

“X” took his docile wife for granted.

He went out every night to have a good time with the “boys” – while his hapless wife had to spend her lonely evenings at home.

Every evening his devoted wife would dutifully wait for her husband “X” to come back around midnight to have dinner.

This routine went on for months.

Then – suddenly – without any warning – one evening – our friend “X” did not turn up at officers’ mess.

We thought he was probably unwell.

But when he did not come to officers’ mess for three successive evenings – we decided to go to his house and see if things were okay.

When we reached his home – we were taken aback to see “X” sitting all alone in the darkness.

In his hand “X” was nursing a drink – which he did not seem to be enjoying.

“X” seemed to be in a state of melancholy.

We were puzzled by his strange behaviour and we asked “X” what the matter with him was.

We asked him why he had not come to the officers’ mess in the evenings as usual for the past three days.

“X” simply said that his wife had gone to her mother’s place for a few days and he was feeling lonely and miserable.

It was evident that “X” was badly missing his wife.

“If you are feeling lonely and miserable because your wife has gone away – that is all the more reason you should come to the officers’ mess,” we said.

We asked “X” to come with us to the mess and cheer up.

We told him that since he was feeling lonely – spending some time in our company enjoying a few drinks would surely raise his spirits- and this would help him forget his loneliness and cheer him up.

Surprisingly, “X” refused to come to the officers’ mess with us.

“X” sullenly told us that he was not in the mood – and that he wanted to be left alone.

So – we left him alone – to ‘mope and grope’, ‘moan and groan’ and wallow in his loneliness.

For many days – “X” did not come to the officers’ mess.

Then – suddenly – one evening – we found “X” entering the mess promptly at 7 o’clock in the evening.

There was a spring in his step and “X” seemed to be full of good cheer.

“My wife has come back,” he said happily.

“X” looked delighted and was full of good cheer – it was evident that he was very happy that his wife had returned back to him.

And then – like earlier days – “X” thoroughly enjoyed the evening with us in the officers mess – and he staggered back home happily drunk at midnight.

For “X” – it was back to the good old days.

Every evening – the happily married bachelor “X” would arrive at the officers’ mess punctually at 7 PM – and spend his time with us unmarried bachelors – enjoying himself thoroughly till midnight – and then – swaying in high spirits – he would go back home to his beloved wife.

Strange but true – the moment his wife returned – “X” was back to his old “married bachelor” ways – and every evening – punctually at 7 PM – he was seen in the evening at the mess – enjoying himself thoroughly till midnight.

We were puzzled by his strange behaviour.

When his wife was present – “X” seemed to be bored of his married life – so he left his wife behind at home – and he went out to the officers’ mess to enjoy a good time with the “boys”.

But when his wife went away – “X” was filled with misery and despair – and he spent his time brooding alone at home in lonely melancholy – longing for his wife to come back.

And the moment his wife returned back to him – “X” was back to his old ways – leaving his wife all alone at home – while he went off to enjoy his evening at the club with us bachelor boys.

At that time – I never understood this amusing paradox of his marital relationship.

But when I got married – over the years – as I became “much married” – I slowly began to fathom such inexplicable mysteries in marriage relationships.

That is why – even after almost 33 years of married life – I still feel that marriage is a mystery – and every marital relationship is unique in its own way.

So this evening – now that my wife has gone away to her mother’s place – you will find me sitting at home all alone – gloomy – feeling “sad” – ‘moping and groping’ in lonely melancholy – yearning for my wife.

And the moment my wife comes back – I will be so filled with happiness – that I will immediately wear my walking shoes – and – with a smile on my lips – and a spring in my step – I will step out for an enjoyable walk all by myself – leaving my darling wife to ‘hold the fort’ at home. 

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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This is a revised updated version of my story written by me Vikram Karve in the year 2010 and earlier posted online by me in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - 
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