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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Matka Man

Something happened a week ago that made me want to rant n rave. However I practiced the self-control for which I am known n held off. I decided if I still felt like blogging about it in a week I would do so.

Well here I am. Mad as a hornet.

This post is my reaction to a conversation I overheard. I wasn't supposed to hear it but I couldn't help myself. I rattled about making a lot of noise so that the people talking would hear me n shut up but no luck. They were totally absorbed. The conversation was between my dad n another man I've known all my life.

That man has a problem. Maybe addiction would be a better word. I'm not going to get into specifics but it's a form of gambling. For the sake of clarity I'm going to call him Matka Man. Just incase you don't know - Matka is a type of illegal lottery that many people are addicted to. This guy isn't addicted to matka but the effects are the same. Right from the time my dad first knew him he used to spend his time n money gambling with some friends. At the time he'd just gotten married but that didn't stop him. Not even the arrival of 2 children over the years had any effect. Then all of sudden he cleaned up his act. He focused on building up his reputation. He's always been known for his integrity n efficiency n with a lot of hard work he retired last year as the head of his section.

And then, he started gambling again. It's causing a lot of turmoil in his family. His wife earns about half of what he used to and they depend on his pension. And yet, every day, the Matka Man will be out gambling. One night my dad n I had to go out in our car searching for him cos he hadn't come home even by 1.00 am. and his wife was terrified. He refuses to buy a cell phone. Probably because he wouldn't be able to disappear as freely as he does now.

I don't know how the conversation started that day but I was privileged to hear his reasoning. According to him he has no other way to pass his time. When my dad suggested a little part time work or consulting he was adamant that he had paid his dues n was going to 'enjoy' his retirement. According to him he gave his wife a part of his pension n since she didn't know about the part he was keeping for his gambling each month it couldn't hurt her. And this from a man who keeps saying she's spending too much on their children. I pity his wife. With her salary n the portion of his that he thinks she deserves she has to meet all the expenses as well as her kids demands n there are lots of those.

Why do men like that ever marry? Matka Man would have been much happier if he'd stayed single. A man who puts his enjoyment above his children's needs, in my opinion is a total failure as a husband and as a father. And all this from a man who keeps talking about his personal integrity and moral values. He'll defend his 'principles' till he's blue in the face. Can't he see what he's doing wrong?

He prides himself on being an intellectual. He loves to debate with people because he can use his reasoning n language skills to confuse them. And then he sits all smug convinced that he's superior to just about everyone else. I used to respect him before because when all's said n done he does have high principles in general and he's usually willing to listen to reason. But now, after being forced to listen to him defending an indefensible habit n still sounding self-righteous, I'm having a hard time even looking at his face.

Matka Man did his best to convince my dad he's in the right. That he deserves the freedom to enjoy the rest of his life. My dad did his best to convince him that gambling was just as much of an addiction as alcohol n drugs. That life can be enjoyed even without such selfish behaviour. But the conversation wound up going round n round in circles. So the Matka Man left as he'd come, still smug n convinced he'd done no wrong. Still bewailing the fact that his kids aren't as great as other people's kids. Forgetting that they had to grow up living with an absent father who never showed them they were valued. Still complaining that his wife was a nag. Forgetting that he had made her one. With his feet set firmly on the road of self-deception. Trying to convince the world to walk with him.


Suspect said...

One word: professional help. Ok, that's two words, but you get the point.

glenn said...

If the kids are old enough and working.. i think its inconsiderate of him to be like this.

But if the kids are studying.. i think he's an inconsiderate & very irresponsible person, and that just proves that he's not as intelligent as your making him sound.

glenn said...

BTW.. hows the mosquito slaying coming?

KD13 said...

@ suspect - If it were an addiction like alchohol everyone would have been on his ass but as it is I think almost no-one knows and he always seems so much in control u feel like a fool for even suggesting something like that. Not that I could suggest something like that anyway. And I think even my Dad would hesitate.

AND... I just saw ur tag. Grrr.. Will do... tomorrow :D

@ Glenn - First things first :) The mosquitos are on the run. Some last pockets of resistence standing, but they won't last long.

About the Matka Man, One kid is out of the picture as far as financial worries goes. The other kid has been in college the past three yrs n just finished this yr. I'm guessing he'd like to study some more but this guy keeps putting him down n hints that he wants him to work. There's nothing wrong with work, but Matka Man is otherwise a big fan of higher education... obviously for other people's kids.