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Sunday, 10 February 2013





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Sweethearts and wives

“A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, his mother the longest” ~ An Irish proverb

It will soon be Valentine's Day and I suppose it is appropriate that we give a little thought to sweethearts; and at the same time, for the much married, it will be their wives they will be thinking about: at least I hope it is so, even if the apple and the serpent are ever present.

They enter your life; scan your pockets; transfer money; edit your mind; download their problems; delete your smile, and sometimes hang you forever: They possess all the attributes of a virus; but are not always potent, even though the range of structural effects that they have on the host is extensive. They are like the dip in the road that sends your belly to your throat.

They are never, what we want to forget; but are what brings, two people together. Just hearing their names, pushes and pulls at you in a hundred ways, and when you try to define those hundred ways, describe them even to yourself, words are useless. If you had a lifetime to talk, there would still be things left unsaid. They are, sweethearts. None has tasted their hearts, to know if it is sweet or not; but they are called that because they bring a sweetness to life - at the beginning - on entry. Once all those things that I had mentioned at the start take effect, some leave, leaving nothing but bitterness. A sweetheart is someone who is particularly loved by or as a lover; they can be he or she; girlfriend or boyfriend; darling or lover; admirer or suitor; beau or beloved.

“Sweethearts are also small heart-shaped candies sold around Valentine's Day. Each conversation heart is, printed with a message such as “Be Mine”, “Call Me”, “Let's Get Busy”, and “Miss You”. Sweethearts are made by a Confectionery Company in the United Kingdom, which specialises in the manufacture of such sweets.”

A similar type of candy is also sold in the UK under the name Love Hearts. The British Company manufactures nearly eight billion Sweethearts per year. Thus, “Sweethearts” are now available in plenty, in the market for anyone to buy. They come in a variety of assortments to choose from, including chocolate tart and smoothie flavours. However, this piece is not about candy. The sweethearts I am referring to is a term of endearment applied to a person's significant other. Someone who is thought of as: kind-hearted, nice, sweet; a great person with an impressive personality; lovely to be around and just a great friend. They are, in fact, memories that stick, no matter how much we wish they would not. These memories do not become slippery, do not just disappear into the thin air of life the way most things seem to. They are like a song we hate but cannot ever get completely out of our head, and this song becomes the background noise of our entire life, snippets of lyrics and lines of music floating up and then receding, a crazy kind of tide that never stops. For whatever reason, they are as much a part of us as our own soul. Their place in our heart is tender; a bruise of longing, a pulse of unfinished business.


Here is the story of two sweethearts turned husband and wife. The wife was a wealthy young working girl from a family with liberal background who believed in the emancipation of the female.

After marriage too, she continued working; not to make ends meet, for she was wealthy enough to meet any end; but just for the fun of it, and to keep boredom at bay. One day, she had to go to the UK on work. As is befitting a dutiful wife, she told her husband: “I am going to London,” and asked: “What gift do you want?”

The husband, more in jest, and to cover his disappointment in not accompanying her, told: “A British girl, to keep me company when you go abroad alone the next time.”

After a couple of weeks, the wife returns. The husband, still sulking, asks: “where is my gift?”

The wife, without batting an eyelid says: “Wait for nine months. I will deliver her with blue eyes and blond hair.”

It is but natural that such relationships eventually lead to a drifting apart of the minds, and as a result, all connection of the body cease; leading finally, to divorce.

At the divorce proceedings, this is what transpired. The Judge asks the husband, “Why do you want divorce?”

Husband: She does not satisfy me!
Judge: Is it true madam?
Wife says: Damn it! The whole colony is happy, only this idiot has problems.
Proceeding ends with the grant of divorce.

If a man’s wife is his compromise with the illusion of his first sweetheart, the sweetheart is more like a virus in the cell. A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only in the living cells of an organism, as do sweet hearts who need a living person. Viruses can infect all sorts of organisms. However, some viruses cause no apparent changes to the infected cell. Cells in which the virus is latent and inactive show few signs of infection and often function normally. This causes persistent infections while the virus is often dormant for many months or years. This is often the case with sweethearts. Some cause no apparent changes to the infected person but is dormant within. As the cells in which the virus is latent and inactive show few signs of infection and often function normally, so does the person infected with a sweetheart. Eventually cell death is caused by, cessation of its normal activities.


This is often the case, with some persons unable to grow out of the infection, of a sweetheart. It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. But, more often than not, what he instead gets is a sweetheart.

A wife is a friend first, a lover second, and third and probably most important, a maid. A woman has to change her nature if she is to be a wife. She has to learn to curb her tongue, to suppress her desires, to moderate her thoughts and to spend her days putting another first. She has to put him first even when she longs to serve herself or her children. She has to put him first even if she longs to judge for herself. She has to put him first even when she knows best. To be a good wife is to be a woman with a will of iron that you yourself have forged into a bridle to curb your own abilities. To be a good wife is to enslave your self to a lesser person, sometimes. In Indo-Aryan languages, a wife is known as Patni, which means a woman who shares everything in this world with her husband and he does the same, including their identity. Decisions are, ideally made in mutual consent. A wife usually takes care of anything inside her household, including the family's health, and the children's education. A good woman should know how to bring up the children, as a good mother always proves a good wife. The rights and obligations of the wife, varies between cultures and has varied over time.

However, if a sweetheart is like a bottle of wine, empty of the content but for memories; a wife is like a wine bottle: full, flavoursome, and there always at the ready; to be cherished and nourished.

See you this day next week. Until then, keep thinking; keep laughing. Life is mostly about these two activities.

For views, reviews, encomiums, and brick-bats: [email protected]


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