My father had by all accounts a very good working knowledge of both Gujarati, Nepali and a local dialect spoken by the Gerta. Personally I only heard him speak thus in extreme circumstances, firstly when he shouted or rather bellowed bull like at anyone who might cross his path or will, secondly to curse quite flowerily beneath his breath when flummoxed, confused or otherwise at a loss for more appropriate words, thirdly to discretely chat whilst playing pocket billiards with my great uncle Sir Charles Franklin, whom had learned Gujarati whilst entrenched with a division of dismounted Indian cavalry during the first battle Ypres in nineteen fifteen. This battle was most notable for the first German usage of chlorine gas, something that my uncle having suffered since boyhood from consumption was totally unable to endure, resultant in him, much to his chagrin, being invalided back to a desk position in the upper echelons of the War Office. Uncle Charlie was without question my favorite relative of all, the one who without fail shaped the best of my childhood experiences, aiding my adolescent experimentations and teen rebellions till his untimely death when I was still but an incomplete and easily impressionable nineteen years of age.
My later realization through the prism of time and understanding that Charles, far from being the individual I so slavishly idolized was rather a monster, a sociopath, whose habits and manners made a mockery of every principle he so persistently espoused. Charlie Franklin was funny, brilliant and handsome, but also spiteful, unappreciative, demeaning. The very epitome of a boor.
Every one of my male role models were two-dimensional figures illustrating the very worst of behavior and emotion. Men to be discredited, loathed and pitied, yet who were supported, aided and abetted by the very souls who bore the worst brunt of their evil, their lovers, wives, mothers and daughters. Cruelty begets cruelty, inconsideration and usury assure generational continuance, the acceptance of the mother conditioning the daughter and thereby instructing the wife. A cycle of harsh and belittling treatment that cannot be amended or altered but must be broken piecemeal.
It is to my constant shame and embarrassment that so near was I to being stamped by this endemic mold that I was not only incapable of empathizing with tragedies oft occurring but quite possibly sniggered at the unfortunate consequences that transpired.