The standard and universal grouse against married men is that they are selfish. This is usually followed by a long chargesheet, which can be compressed to one single crime - dereliction of domestic duties. This is followed by a narrative of evidence.

At this point, I usually excuse myself, leaving my wife alone to care for the verbal diarrhea patient. I have a low tolerance for that disease. Moreover, the sufferer is a lady past her prime, not a damsel in distress.

Freud would have diagnosed this as a simple case of "displacement." For the uninitiated, it is a complicated venting method you engage in when an uncomfortable truth becomes seriously unpleasant and distressing. You channel the generated stress, which is substantial and damaging, to an unconnected activity. A typical example offered is that of a man battered by his boss stabilizing his mood by taking it out on his wife or kid, or servant.

In our current problem, the critical evidence is the presence of selfishness in the relationship. Desire and love can never coexist. While the former drives one to take hold of every material possible, the latter inspires one to give up everything, including life itself. In plain English, someone who loves you would value your company the most, even if there is no exchange of material or pleasure.

Remember those stupid young couples in public parks? Shiv Sena and our oralizing police ensure that their interactions are strictly restricted to verbal conversations. But surprisingly, those conversations last hours, much to the chagrin of the moralizers.

From the park to the home, it is a long way. Many of them drop off. Even the successful ones find it difficult to keep the relationship insulated from the vagaries of time.

For most of our population across all classes, love is not an essential ingredient of marriage. That does not create any deficiency, though, in the physical manifestation of marriage. Kids happen without love and any divine intervention.

It is easier to understand the man in question and his overt selfishness. It may be likened to the desperate salvage actions of a bankrupt enterprise. When he got married, he was in his late twenties. It is debatable whether he was naive or not. But he was sex-starved for sure. After waiting for 16 years, his horse was restless like hell. It wanted a rider at any cost.

The much-needed cost audit was kept in abeyance for many years. But when it finally happened, there were colossal losses to stare at.