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Chapter 11: Man: The Call of the Eternal

But he would again forget and when he would see all those stones in my pockets, again he would ask, “For what purpose?”

And I was always ready: “First prove to me for what purpose you are living. If you can keep money in your safe, why can’t I keep my stones in my pockets? I don’t have a safe - otherwise give me a safe, I will keep my stones in the safe. Prove to me. It is your question, not my question. I. have never asked anybody, ‘For what purpose.?’”

Finally he dropped the idea, thinking, “This boy is absolutely incurable!”

When I came back home from university, he didn’t ask me about marriage - which is very natural in India, the moment you come back from the university the first thing is, “Now get married!” He knew me - that it would create unnecessary argument. So indirectly. He asked one of his advocate friends who was very argumentative, used to shout in court and was very well-known to win cases - cases which were impossible to win. And he used to win those cases just because he was the greatest in the town at shouting. He would bang on the table and shout and throw law books and create such a mess that everybody was afraid of him. And they were friends, so my father asked him.

The advocate said, “This is simple. I have defeated great advocates, I have convinced very shrewd magistrates and I have won cases even for murderers, so this is nothing. I am coming tomorrow.”

He came and he asked me, “Why don’t you get married?”

I said, “Perfectly okay. I will get married!”

He was at a loss what to do, because he had come with great preparation, with all the arguments in favor of marriage and its beauty and its joy and its intimacy, and all that bullshit!

I said, “Perfectly okay. Where is the girl? Do you have a daughter?”

He said, “This is strange. Your father was telling me that it is very difficult to convince you, but you don’t argue at all.”

I said, “I don’t argue at all. I am ready to get married - bring the girl. But first, before you bring a girl, you have to tell me one thing. You have to convince me about one thing: what purpose have you achieved through your marriage? I trust you - you are a friend of my father’s, you are almost like a father to me. I trust you. If you say so, I will get married. But you have to tell me one thing - what have you achieved? Because I know your married life; you may have won many cases in court, but I know what happens in your home! You have not been able to win a single quarrel. And I am going directly to your wife.”

He said, “What do you mean? Why are you going to my wife? What has she got to do with it?”