« Pour vivre heureux vivons cachés » To live happy let’s live hidden

« Pour vivre heureux vivons cachés » To live happy let’s live hidden

14 September 2016


The phone rings persistently but she does not answer the call. Earlier she had answered eagerly, too eagerly perhaps. She does not want to go through another round of lessons. Her daughter passes by the room.


  • Mom, your phone is ringing
  • I know
  • Well, answer it!
  • Sure


Her daughter shrugs and heads out as the phone continues ringing a while before disconnecting. It starts ringing again but she does not answer it. She counts inwards waiting for the 15th ring after which it will stop again. Her son passes by the room.

  • Mom your phone is ringing
  • I know
  • Well, answer it!
  • Sure

Her son shrugs and picks up his laptop before heading towards his room. He pauses and turns back towards her with a grin on his face.

  • It’s rude to leave the phone ringing
  • I know
  • Well, why don’t you answer it? That would be less rude even if you kept the person waiting
  • Sure

He shrugs again and this time definitely makes a move towards his room. Meanwhile the phone has stopped ringing. It beeps as a message comes in. I’m sorry, it says. Sure, she thinks. I’m really sorry, it beeps again. Sure she thinks again. No, I mean I really really am sorry, it beeps again. She picks up the phone and types “Sure”. Talk over dinner tonight? it beeps. Sure, she types back. 10 pm? It beeps back. Sure, she types back and then puts it down.

She goes over the previous conversation they had and can’t make head or tails out of it. He was upset she did not pick him up at the airport but what was he expecting? He had confirmed to her that he had booked a hotel and the hotel had arranged for a pickup so she could not figure out why he was upset she was not there. It was not like they knew each other and she would be waiting for him like a lovesick teenager with a rose, waving her hands madly with a big smile on her face. This was strictly a matchmaking choice between adults without any fancy notions about love and they had gone through all the options very carefully and dispassionately as far as she could remember. Yet he seemed to somehow all of a sudden wish for her to act like she would be welcoming him like he was the love of her life.

She picks up the phone again. I love you, it had beeped thrice while she was absorbed in her thoughts. What a silly thing to say she thinks. He does not know her, had only seen her images and sometimes chatted with her on skype. He had no idea what she looked like really or what she liked, thought, laughed or cried about. He had no idea who she was at all yet he expected her to play out the romantic self-deluding story of having fallen in love at first sight.

Later that evening as she finishes combing her hair and putting on her heels, she picks up the phone again as it buzzes.

  • You did not give me your address precisely but I still found it
  • Good, are you at the gate?
  • Yes
  • I’m coming down. Please don’t come in and don’t come out of the taxi
  • Sure

He sounds disappointed again and she checks herself as irritation rises inside her. She does not want to appear insensitive as he has come all this way and they cannot even carry out their initial plans for a short break elsewhere but she feels he is reacting disproportionately. She hurries downstairs and as she closes the gate behind her he rises from his seat as if to come greet her but she urges him to sit back. She enters the taxi as he moves over and gives him a peck on the cheek. He looks good from up close, really good and he smells really nice, she thinks but keeps the thoughts to herself.

  • You smell nice
  • Thanks
  • You look beautiful
  • Thanks
  • I brought you some flowers. I thought I could bring them to you in the house so you could arrange them somewhere but no problem, you can take them home later

Oh God, she thinks to herself. How to tell him now that she hates cut flowers. He looks at her with a smile on his face and picks up the covered item from the floor near his feet. It is an earthen pot with a small rose plant.

  • I know you don’t like cut flowers
  • Really? How did you know?
  • You mentioned that before on your facebook

She is touched that he remembered. Even some of her close friends do not remember that about her. She feels bad at not having invited him in but then remembers her promise to herself. No allowing any suitors inside the house and no introducing anyone to her family until she is really sure. She smiles and thanks him for the flowers as the taxi speeds away to the evening’s destination “Segreto”. They talk a lot about their lives, their respective children, their vision of the future, the more concrete plans they need to make to carry this out. As the evening passes by, she catches herself looking at the rose plant in its pot several times which helps in relaxing her and she starts really enjoying his company.

  • I’m sorry about this morning
  • It’s okay, let’s forget about it
  • No, I really am sorry. I realised all of a sudden that it might have come out as patronising but I did not mean to sound like that. I was just disappointed you were not at the airport and wanted to tell you how I felt. I did not mean to be rude
  • It’s okay. It’s just that things are so awkward here, you cannot express yourself properly. You have to hide to avoid trouble as you never know how things could turn out in this country and I hate the idea of having a first encounter so restrained and artificial
  • I understand. Again I’m sorry. I had not thought about the context and was too tired this morning to keep my feelings under cover.
  • It’s okay, let’s forget about it
  • Sure?
  • Sure
  • You make me think about a French proverb that my Swiss grandmother told me once
  • What proverb?
  • Pour vivre heureux vivons cachés

He picks up her hand and kisses her wrist on the inside and smiles at her again. Now she regrets not having been there at the airport waving a red rose and sporting her biggest smile. She smiles back at him. “Pour vivre heureux vivons caches”. I like that !, she thinks to herself.


Yeh Mera Deewanapan Hai – Susheela Raman

Blue Lilly Red Lotus – Susheela Raman

Mahima – Susheela Raman



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