“Uncle, I know that you have been meditating for more than two decades and often speak about non-duality. But you have a private bar at home and you tend to indulge in profanity during your tennis games. Isn’t that a contradiction?” Vinay asked me last week.
“Vinay, being spiritual does not mean practising chastity, teetotalism and austerity. Spirituality is living with the realization that at a very fundamental level we are all only pure awareness that takes the form of mind and body. Having a good time and occasional indulgences are simply cravings of the mind and they will never be impediments when you are aware”.
“I do not fully understand uncle, but I do get a sense of what you are trying to say. Your advice is to have fun but not to become a slave to your cravings”
I smiled and recalled how my wife trusted me when it came to my good times with alcohol.
“How could you allow Mohan to have a private getaway bar within the house?”, I overheard Asha, my wife’s friend, ask Mamatha on a Wednesday evening a few years back as I sat in my mancave enjoying my Bruichladdich. Wednesday is one of my two-man cave permit days, the other one being Saturday. They were both sitting down below on the living room Sofa.
“Because I know he is in my nest,” said Mamatha. I could visualize her sitting cross-legged with her two hands on her top knee, her eyes wide open and nodding as a sign of assuredness.
Most wives cringe and have something negative about their husbands having their private space. But my wife gave me the best gift of my life for my 55th birthday; my private bar with three bar stools and a wireless Bose speaker.
That was eight years ago, and I have not betrayed her trust in me.
I call it my man cave, though it is only a bar. It has a Bluetooth Bose speaker, a mini-fridge, and dozens of single malts and vodkas.
The term “man cave” is a metaphor describing a room where a husband and optionally his friends are supposed to do as they please, without fear of upsetting the boss of the house, the wife.
Every man needs a place to retreat from time to time in an area that he can cave into. I call my man cave “Schrodinger’s cat.” Is the cat dead or alive?
Within my cave of solitude, secured against wife intrusion by 25 steps, I stay for up to three hours. That is my parole time. Then, I turn on my music and prepare my notes for my next blog or the next chapter for my book or just stare at the chandelier thoughtlessly.
Booze “has come to seem a natural accompaniment of literary life,” wrote Alfred Kazin in Commentary in 1976, a symbol of the profession’s “loneliness, creative aspirations, and frenzies.”
It is another matter that I am unlikely to earn enough to recover the cost of my month’s quota of scotch from writing. I have written two books, one of which is already published.
I guess I write because I need to exhibit, feed my memories, fantasize, and bolster my confidence. Also, I enjoy solitude and relaxation after a long day of doing nothing.
But I owe a poem of gratitude to my man cave and alcohol, and here it is;
In my man cave garden, I find
The tranquility of a unique kind
Kindles my creative grey matter
Makes the artist in me fatter
Inebriety is my transcendent bliss
One that I just don’t want to miss
I Drink alone for me really can’t
With he who knows not Kant
It is only company that feeds my ego
If it didn’t, I’d have loved it long ago.
To that world is my statement
Solitude and music are my entertainment
No flowers or bees in my private garden
No friends or foes to appease or pardon
Crystal glasses are my flowers
Single malts my soul cleaning showers