Life with an English Wife
A friend of mine, Jayesh, living in London, re-married some 15 years ago to an English woman Ema. His previous wife Manisha was a quiet, attractive and educated girl from his community but her problem was that she was brown and not white and she denied taking drinks and non-vegetarian foods with him… Jayesh wanted a white, English wife who could share his free life in late timed parties in clubs.
He was engaged to his first wife in India at the age of 15 who could not be his wife just because she was illiterate and not as attractive as his choice. He married with Manisha five years later in London. She was of good nature, beautiful and very capable in handling the married life with Jayesh. But Jayesh was not happy with her just because she was not of his own choice. Manisha was alright as a house wife but he longed for something more than that. She had her limits and she was a pure vegetarian and non-alcoholic.
He had a fancy for a very modern, bob-cut, white woman as his wife. He preferred a woman who would share a very liberal, perhaps extraordinary sex life with him, every day according to his wish. He would choose a wife who would go out to dinner with him and enjoy delicious Punjabi and Chinese dishes, with wine, of course. He preferred a white woman accordingly who would qualify for all his requirements as such. An Indian girl especially from his community would never fit his choice, he concluded.
Manisha, a typical Indian girl, went for the bob-cut and was very sociable, accompanying Jayesh to parties and dancing with him. She was agreeable to having daily sex with him, but she failed to satisfy his other desires. She would not dance with her husband’s friends. She preferred to eat only vegetarian meals and refused to drink wine. She could not enjoy Chinese food and insisted on pure Indian vegetarian food, preparing and cooking delicious Indian dishes at home. But Jayesh had different tastes and did not appreciate his wife’s home cooking who was not happy about going out to eat mostly everyday, although her husband could very well afford the expenses.
Their differences could not be patched up and Jayesh began to despise Manisha. He started going to late night parties on his own, often dancing with free-minded white women, whom he preferred. Instead of going home, he often stayed the night with girls of his choice and he came to hate Manisha, not just because she was unable to satisfy his sexual hunger, but also because she was not fair-skinned and would not drink wine or eat non-vegetarian food.
He went to the extremes and sometimes came home drunk, even bringing white girls home and sleeping with them in the presence of his wife. Manisha’s patience was sorely tried and when she could not endure the situation any longer, she complained to her in-laws that Jayesh had changed and her marriage had become intolerable. They could do nothing to help her, but they sympathized with Manisha as they considered her to be a woman of good culture, and a very good daughter-in-law. They did try to talk to their son, but he would not listen to their advice.
In the circumstances Manisha had no choice but to go for a divorce and live alone with her two children, Krishna, her daughter aged six and Nayan, her four-year-old son.
Jayesh was happy with that and immediately after the divorce he got married to an English girl, Ema. Once married to her, he kept his distance from his parents and relatives. He visited Manisha and the children every weekend in accordance with the child custody and access laws. His new white wife did not care much for his children and gave them hardly any attention. But Jayesh loved them and took good care of them.
He had some good times with Ema for a couple of years. Life passed in a routine but pleasing way and he enjoyed delightful parties, non-vegetarian dishes, wine and spirits and of course, long nights of sex with his liberal white wife. They would have sex several times a night if he wished it. He was living a heavenly life with everything according to his wishes and requirements.
He visited his parents and brothers from time to time, but always alone. He never dared to take his white wife to the home of his family, nor did he ever invite them to his house. Obviously he was out of touch, socially. He was never seen at any of the Indian social functions with Ema, although he was always invited with his wife by his friends. He went alone and so Ema was never in the picture at the Hindu festivals. She was only to be seen at the late night non-vegetarian and wine parties and dance parties. Only his Indian friends who were also fond of such parties knew about her.
As time passed Ema bore Jayesh two white children – a girl and a boy – and thus Jayesh became the father of two more children. The Indian children were not very happy with the attitude of Ema, who did not really like them. Even the white children were aloof and tried not to mix with the two Indian children, so Krishna and Nayan became very reluctant to go out with Jayesh at weekends.
Ema found a job in Birmingham where her parents lived and went to live there, leaving Jayesh in London with two English children to look after all week and at weekends, his two Indian children as well. Jayesh found it impossible to care for them all in this way so he asked Manisha, his ex-wife, to look after them until further notice, agreeing to pay all their expenses. Ema, on the other hand, was behaving just as she pleased. Sometimes she would come back to London to spend the weekend with him, and at other times Jayesh went to stay with her. But she did one good thing in favour of Jayesh. She took her children with her for time being and relieved Jayesh from the responsibility.
Life went on like that for a few years but Jayesh was not happy with the situation and found it very unsettling. Food was a problem as he had to cook for himself. He often bought packed lunches and snacks and unhealthy food. He would eat at his friends’ homes or even relatives, whenever he could. His life was falling apart; he could not sleep peacefully and had recurring nightmares, when he would leap up out of bed and watch the television to dispel the frightening images from his mind. He even took overdose of drinks at several times trying to get relaxed from the loneliness. He even stayed for long in the pubs with his friends who enjoyed the free drinks and food sponsored by Jayesh. They never bothered to advise Jayesh on his wayward family life.
Sometimes he would go to visit his Indian children and talk to Manisha at length about life with his English wife. Manisha was not particularly interested in the issue, but she listened to him very politely, nevertheless. She also forgot the rest grudge of divorcing her for the sake of a white woman and served her ex-husband with Indian food at times. She sympathized with him but there was nothing much she could share with him.
Once Jayesh came to my house with a gloomy face and took dinner with us on my offer. Later on he poured out his heart to me. He was not at all happy in his present circumstances. He was in a dilemma as his wife had no wish to stay with him permanently in London and he certainly had no desire to live in Birmingham as there were no business prospects for him there. He was established in London and thought it inadvisable to move. He could not afford to travel to Birmingham every weekend and, in any case, was bound to stay with his children at weekends. It was through the goodness of Manisha’s heart that she never complained about his constant excuses for not taking his children at weekends as agreed. Manisha was so kind that she often gave her ex-husband some home-made snacks in place of his junk food.
Ema had no particular reason to stay away from him as she could very easily have found work in London and in any case it was not necessary for her to work as Jayesh had a profitable business, enabling him to pay the mortgage and the household expenses.
He was certain that Ema was trying to avoid him. She pleaded illness most of the time and Jayesh was denied sex with her. He avoided going to Birmingham for several weekends and Ema did not visit him for months. Thus they grew apart and Ema wished to be left alone, never inviting Jayesh to visit her. Jayesh suspected she was having an affair with a new man he had once met in Birmingham home with her.
Jayesh wished many times that he could return to Manisha. He longed for her to ask him to go back to her. He was ready to compromise; to stay a pure vegetarian, to do without wine and dance parties, and to be a faithful husband to her. He was prepared to stay among his family and relatives. He admired Manisha’s virtues; up to now she had never thought of marrying again, nor even had any relationship with another man. She worked hard for her children, determined to keep some balance in their lives.
Jayesh had already given her the house with no outstanding mortgage. He was also helping her with the children’s expenses. Manisha had maintained a good relationship with her ex-in-laws and their relatives. She also had a good image in the community as she had turned out to be more social and religious minded after the separation from Jayesh. She visited temple mostly every weekend.
Jayesh could not be a Christian and Ema would never wish to become a Hindu, so there was no possible chance of a future together; both were suffering and it was no use continuing with the marriage. For reasons that Jayesh could not understand, Ema was not happy with him and tried to avoid him as far as possible. It seemed that her marriage to Jayesh had not lived up to her expectations. Perhaps she wanted something more than what was Jayesh giving to her.
Most of all, she wanted Jayesh to take her to meet his parents and the other relatives. She wanted, through him, to learn Indian cooking and even how to wear the sari. She had also planned to visit India with Jayesh, hoping to meet more relatives who lived there. She was interested in seeing village life in India, especially Gujerat, and above all, she wanted to see the famous TAJ MAHAL, the eighth wonder of the world.
So far, Jayesh had failed to fulfil any of these wishes. He never took her to meet his parents, or even his brothers, and whenever he visited, he went alone. Her dreams of living an Indian lifestyle with the family of Jayesh had been shattered. Her Indian husband clearly had no intention of including her in the family, so where was the fun in staying with a husband who never fulfilled any of his wife’s desires?
I had met Ema a few times and discussed her marriage to my friend Jayesh. She seemed to be co-operative as a wife, but as Jayesh could not adjust to her wishes she had no interest in continuing with the marriage.
I discussed the matter with Jayesh, but he told me he was unable to take Ema home to meet his parents and relatives. He was also unable to take her to India and especially not to his native village. He was not interested in Ema turning Indian because he had selected her purely as a white woman and wanted her to stay as one. Otherwise, there had been no point in divorcing his Indian wife, Manisha, who had everything he needed in a wife except the English culture.
So Jayesh had no alternative but to divorce Ema and try to resume with Manisha, who was still ready to accept him as her husband. Ema was not at all reluctant to part from Jayesh and signed the divorce papers immediately without making any extra claims on him.
My trip to London was therefore worthwhile when I was able to bring the separated couple back together again, and the elders and relatives were delighted about the reunion of Jayesh and Manisha. All credit was given to Manisha and I was also congratulated for my good efforts. For my part, I was also really pleased to see the couple together and happy again.
Jayesh was a totally changed person, a man with many good qualities. He gave up the company of his non-vegetarian and pub friends and became a pure vegetarian. And he forgot about the late night parties and dances; surprisingly enough he was seen going to the Temple with Manisha and his children every weekend.
I am happy to tell you that three years after their reunion; Jayesh and Manisha were one of the happiest couples within their vast circle of a good cultured society. They were seen now and then in the community hall to attend the marriages of the relatives. Jayesh contributed regularly in the temple and he was seen being garlanded now and then for his good donation in the religious sector.