The concept (and practice) of taking up to four wives has always intrigued me. Rather, enraged me. I always thought irritatingly, ‘Well, if a man can take four wives why can’t a woman take four husbands?’
As I grew up and delved further into the question I realised the complexity of the issue and naivety of my stand: polyandry is no answer to polygamy. Telling the kid one’s not sure who his father is among the four guys is as confusing as the disclosure that the poor soul has got four mothers (one real, three step)!
If you believe in fate, you would ascribe unhappiness that abounds in people’s life to fate and nothing else. ‘They are fated to be unhappy, to be miserable’, you tell yourself. But if you are not such an absolute fatalist, you’d start wondering if it’s human beings themselves who bring unhappiness unto their lives.
When I think about them — Azhar Bhai, approaching 40, married two years back and now father of a son, Saira Aapa, his sister, a divorcee, in her early 40s and their ailing, widowed mother — I ask myself “Why have they always been such unhappy people?