Apart from success in career and accumulation of wealth, the only thing that brings out jealousy among men is the "bachelorhood" that a fellow enjoys when his wife is away on a long vacation. This phenomenon glaringly raised its ugly head recently when my wife went to Canada to be with my son studying there.
My unquestioned reign over my household empire and extended flexible hours in the club provoked dolorous and lugubrious comments from my friends. Although it was not the first time that I was enjoying this privilege due to my wife's absence, but maybe her current vacation was too much for them to digest without spewing out nasty and raunchy remarks.
It's human nature that your enjoyment increases proportionately to the woebegone look on the faces of those who are unable to enjoy your ride of exclusiveness. Back home, their activities are restricted due to the pervading control of their better halves or the hawk-eyed scanning by their wards.
But once I return to my exclusive abode, I realise that my friends do have a plausible reason for being upset with my short but delightful freedom. The liberal space on the bed at night makes me feel richer than any Mughal emperor on his throne. The chirping of the birds does not disturb me in the morning, nor does the garbage man who so shamelessly sticks his finger on the doorbell. By the time I impel one of my eyes to raise its lid to have a sneaky view of the clock, the maid and the milkman have already left.
As my mind finally takes over the overworked liver and underworked legs, I drag myself out of bed to be back to my routine, which is programmed afresh to follow new instructions for the coming few weeks. And all this while there is no one to disturb me.
The days and nights follow my rule, although one call a day from my wife does remind me that I'm the same mortal soul who has been given respite for a while. But the continuity of those happy hours, stretching from late lunch to afternoon siesta and evening beer, takes me back to the control of my prerogatives. My petulant reaction to the barman who has just arrived and found me waiting at the door makes him think some uncomfortable questions which he is too scared to ask. Slowly, my friends join me and the evening takes its course, albeit differently for me and my friends.
In a few days, it's time for my wedding anniversary, which I coincidentally share with one of my friends. In the middle of the party, my host tries to embarrass me, asking me if missing my wife on such an occasion is finally telling on me.
I take an extra-large gulp of the drink, avoiding the clanging of ice cubes with my grinning teeth, and to rub salt on his wounds, answer, "Look, my dear, we both are flying high, enjoying the night sky with stars shining all around, moon spreading its sheen, a cool breeze blowing and giving others an envious feel of the seventh heaven, but there is a small difference. While you are loitering in a noisy jumbo jet, I'm sailing in a glider with no noise of the engine to disturb my serenity on such a great day."
The other friends understand the punch and burst into laughter, but somewhere inside me, I feel like a Raja who is on parole for just a few more days.