Oh dearie me! What a brouhaha about a man in love. Admitted: a liaison of late autumn with early summer. But what harm if both are willing – the man in his seventies and the woman in her thirties. Cheers we should say and drink to their health and continued joy of shared love now made lawful and conjugal. However, every Garden of Eden, even if song filled and flowing with that which cheers if not milk and honey, harbours a serpent and the serpent hisses and stings. That’s just what’s happened in this garden of marital love, but surprise, surprise, the snake is kith and kin. He has hissed privately and publicly via Facebook and the hissing and spitting venom got into mainstream media too. Menika read a three quarter page article on this affair in a Sunday paper.
Menika should stop being cryptic and make known the parties. She takes cattish delight in revealing that late Autumn is the singer Victor Ratnayake of the flowing locks and dismal look and Summer is a beautiful bank employee now married and Mrs Victor Ratnayake. The serpent? Believe it or not: one of the two lawfully begotten sons – Menika hastens to add - by the previous Mrs Victor Ratnayake, now gone to the beyond since these last thirteen years.
The son says that Summer has bewitched Autunm. Yes, surely she has done that for Autumn to flaunt her around for three years and then solemnize the marriage - in church or registry, we do not know. The son accuses the ex bank employee of giving his father a potion to partake of which has made him besotted to her. Menika has heard of such but she firmly believes it is love that has now been sealed with a wedding ring, I dos and all that. So what? What harm?
Victor R supposedly had a good and caring relationship with his wife of many years, saw his two sons and daughter grow up well and then when wifey died, after a prolonged period of mourning, sought solace and found it in the arms of a young career woman who was willing to face the world’s censure for the sake of the ageing man. She may not have been prepared to be accused of man snatching and going through three years of suspenseful (not stressful, we are sure) waiting until signatures were placed on the marriage dotted lines – His and Hers. But she did, proving that true love surmounts all barriers.
Shakespeare’s sonnets against Ratnayake’s Sinhala songs
Since last Sunday when Menika read the article about the affair, snatches of Shakespeare’s brilliant 14 line poems have been going through her head. He follows a pattern in his sonnets as surely as Victor R did in his SA recitals. The first four lines of a Shakespearian sonnet lay out the problem, the next quatrain elaborates on it, the third finds a resolution and the last two lines deliver a universal truth. The first quotation that came to Menika’s mind was
Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when alteration finds./Or bend s with the remover to remove; ….
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks/But bears it out even to the edge of doom
If this be error, and upon me proved/ I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
The first two lines are advice to the son of Victor R and now the step-son of the new Mrs Victor R. The last four lines are Menika’s thoughts and hopes, that just as the singer loved his first wife he will love the second. Menika bets on it or if proved wrong, she was never the Cat’s Eye columnist and Victor R was never the much appreciated singer.
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame/Is lust, in action; and till action lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame.
All this the world well knows, yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads to this hell.
Menika believes the son of Victor R has intoned the first lines since to him the love between his father and the young woman, is nothing but the spirit expending itself in lust which brings shame to the lusting and lusted after. But Menika says he should be intoning these lines with substitution of certain words. He should admit his talking out of turn is spending his energy in shame and he perjures, even character assassinates and is murderous, bloody and full of blame. He thinks he and his father were living in heaven and his father shunned it for a woman and he is now in hell. Wrong, Sonna Boy! Let your father love again. Maybe this girl genuinely cares for him. Otherwise why cohabit with her for three years and then solemnize a legal, lawful marriage. It’s a shameful waste of energy the son washes family linen in public. You will notice that this cat has omitted the word ‘dirty’ that often occupies the phrase ‘washing linen in public’. For the tale sent around electronically in the ether by the son is not at all dirty. Rather it is inspiring and as a typical woman would say, aney sweet no!
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone be weep my outcast state
Haply I think of thee – and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I shun to change my state with kings.
That could very well be a song sung by Victor Ratnayake. Instead of just one, he has two loves to remember/savour and be happy as a lark. We are sure the present Mrs R would not mind his continuing loyalty to his former wife.
This cat does not want to quote quotations about love since they are so very many. Love sends the world a-spinning round; love makes a person walk on a cloud; love gets you singing as it surely must be doing to the newly married singer. So let him be happy. There is too much hate and envy and squabbling and pettiness in this world, especially, in Sri Lanka. So let’s cadge a drink (we’d love champagne but it’s too expensive, so shall we do with pol or even ra?) and toast the SA singer and his new wife. Best to them and long years of loving togetherness!
What’s for the son? A Kuveni curse? No,.let’s leave him be and hope there is reconciliation.