44. Mr. Masala is Free! sort of…

Since my first appearance before the judge, I paid my court ordered alimony payments and always on time.  

And not that I’m making any choices based on this; I also happened to discover that my hopefully soon-to-be ex-wife was actually in a relationship with the previously mentioned handyman.

How about that, my suspicions seemed to now been justified.  Or they just fell into place, either way.  I’ll do you one better, he’s living in the house with them.  

Oh, touché.  Looks like we both found plaster for a broken marriage.  

Feeling rather done for a few reasons, I flat out refused to pay November’s payment to Hemma or anymore for all that matters.

Prior to this decision I had made request for appointment to see Judge Sandy to appeal my case and it had now been granted.  I also made up my mind to represent myself; I felt I was my own best lawyer after having counsel with 2 other members of the bar.

On that day in court I declared I would no longer pay.  ‘Send me to jail if you have to but no more.’  I was brief in my statement and in that I made sure to mention Hemma moving that man into their family home.  ‘What is the point your honor in my financially supporting that?’

With a look on his face I loosely translated as him finding humor in my plea, he announced he’ll take his pause to review the case file.  After a few restless -on my part- moments, he asked me to rise for his decision.  

“Mr Masala, I‘ve decided to free you from the payments to Mrs. Masala.  However in order for that to happen you must first bring the payments up-to-date.”  

And there you go.  I ended up having to pay that November payment which I earlier defied to do.

Judge Sandy finished with  “And I’m granting you the legal separation.  Divorce is still not an option at this time.  As I mentioned before about the waiting period, that is still in effect.”  

I felt happy and sunk at the same time.  

“Other than that, now you can go, you are a free man Mr. Masala.  You can even leave Fiji if you so desire.”  Gavel banged on the judgement desk, I’m semi-free.

Okay yes, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders as I stepped out of the courthouse that morning.  It was as though I was 18 again and no longer a stressed out adult, at least not on that front.  

Hey, I’ll take it!

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43. We Can’t Have That! … a tear stained stalemate.

1958 December.  One summer day Noori came down to the house as usual but this time the intention was to have a private conversation with my mother.  “Umi, I really need to tell you something and it’s very important. 

“Of course beta (my dear child).  Come over here and sit with me, relax and tell me all about it.”  My mother saw the need for comfort on Noori’s sweet face; I know my mother.  Noori began to cry.  “I’m pregnant umi.”  

Apart from my mother’s 1st reaction of surprise, she was quite calm and was all about making this conversation easier.  She asked her what makes her think it is so.  “My sisters at home noticed that I threw up a few times and they cornered me.  I have not taken steps to confirm it but I’m pretty sure it is so,”  Noori replied in between sobs.

“If I could just get the two of you married right now, we wouldn’t have to worry about this as a problem, it would be a celebration.  You know this family thinks the world of you Noori, you are one of us.”  Still holding her my mother continued, “I’m sorry this cannot be that way beta.  I am not sure what we can do.”  

After a lot more crying and in all her comforting, my mother advised her to return home.  Noori was clearly frightened.  My sensible mother told her to be strong, brave and quiet as long as she could and that she’d talk to Gary right away.  

Noori returned home after a little while and my mother most definitely had a very serious talk with me.  We knew we were jammed tight in between a pivotal rock and the sheer unscalable mountain.

Unfortunately her mother found out before long and I hate to remember this; that precious girl, she took a physical beating.  There was no lenience or grace.  After her mother got that part out of her system, she told Noori she’d call the doctor immediately to have the pregnancy eliminated.  

Obviously Noori didn’t return to our house and I knew nothing of these developments.  My little sister found out and relayed the information to my mother.  Back then with great modesty and all, at least on my sister’s part, she would never say these things to her brother and so it had to go through our mother.  

My loving and supportive mother then told me everything she knew including the scheduled doctor’s visit at the clinic.  I intended to be present, even if it was in secret.  If I could’ve stopped this from taking place, God knows I certainly would have.


My young adult nephew accompanied me to that clinic the morning of.  Noori’s mother didn’t know me, let alone that I was Gary so I didn’t have to hide.  Still I know I was taking a chance going there but I had to let Noori know that in some sort of way, I was there for her.

She saw me, acknowledged me secretly but sadly we couldn’t share a touch or any words.  I felt her heart breaking directly inside of mine.  

She was called back and my heart skipped a beat or eight; she gave me one more quick glance as she went inside.

Well over an hour had passed when Noori finally emerged from back there.  My angel looked terrible, she was clearly weakened both in body and spirit.  God how I wished I would’ve been able to just hold her so tight.  ‘I’m so sorry my love.’  Only my eyes could speak.

Somehow Noori’s female family members managed to keep all this from the father and brothers.  At an extremely critical and delicate place in her world, she could’ve used some tenderness.

During the next couple of weeks which followed, I don’t know if she was the recipient of any compassion, especially from her mother from whom she really could’ve used it.

passing throughI felt a sense of urgency and my heart told me that love was key in the healing process.  I wished I could see my girl – I needed to see her, to reassure her, to hold her.

One day Noori’s sister-in-law was feeling uneasy about something she just couldn’t put her finger on.  She went to check on Noori.  She was in the bathroom … for a very long time.  

She knocked, nothing.  She banged harder … nothing.  The younger sister came out to the door hearing the commotion and instantly felt the urgency as well.

The two of them forced their way in just as Noori was about to take her last step.   They got in there just in time.  Noori all but succeeded in hanging herself.  

Nearly a week had passed from that desperate day before the breeze blew the news down to me.  I cannot even begin to tell you how I felt when I heard.  And I could never tell you how broken she thought herself to be.

It would be nearly a month before I laid eyes on my angel again.  Noori finally found the inner strength to pay us a visit.  She told me everything that happened and how.  

She showed me the remaining bruising she sustained from the beating her mother gave her weeks ago.  Noori explained her thought process during this time; she didn’t need to say more.  I felt I could understand the emotions she experienced.

Where do we go from here?

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pregnancy eliminated       My heart cried out at the thought of another child of mine I’m apparently not supposed to experience.

42. 1958 Hanging About the Place

This life went along as usual and certainly not aware of the extreme changes that lie ahead.  I went to work all week, had one ice cold 🍺 Guinness two or three times a week after work, caught the bus home and that was the day.  Evenings were for home with my family, amazing cooking and playing with my nieces and nephew usually.  

Most weekends Noori came down from her home to spend time at my house.  We still had to conceal our relationship outside my home.  But for all that my family was most comfortable with her presence, not only for the light she brought into the house and the smile to my face but also in her nature that made her absolutely wonderful.  

Noori did more for me than my soon-to-be ex-wife ever did.  That relationship was not of my choosing and be that as it may, we were much too young, not really knowing what to do in a world that was changing rapidly.  

With hindsight I can truly say, I really don’t blame Hemma or for that matter, myself.  Our marriage was just a bad mix of ingredients.

This adventure now with Noori was whole heartedly of our own choosing.  Such a dear, precious heart with the patience of a saint!  And we certainly were enjoying our time.  

Whenever Noori was at our house, we felt almost like a married couple; she jumped right in to do the things a wife (at least of that time) did for her husband.  ☕️ She made tea for me!  

C - Dreamy Blossoms (sq) -signed

She cleaned up my room as in making my bed and straightening out and she insisted on washing my clothes even though I used to take them out to be laundered, she really wanted to do this for me.  

To be helpful for my mother and sister-in-law, she saw whatever else needing doing in the house and just did it, and always with cheerful disposition and a smile.  It’s as though doing these things somehow comforted her.

We would have our lunch together.  Noori and I were able to entertain one another quite well, including lots of heart to heart talking and planning for the days when we would live our lives together, free and out in the open.

She still had to be at her own home in the evenings as to not provoke suspicion of any kind.  Up to this time no one knew I was her Gary.  I mean in my house everyone knew because that’s the only way she addressed me.  

At her home though the family heard her occasionally speak of someone named Gary, never suspecting that he was a Hindu man, much less me but I’m pretty sure her little sister knew.  And her sister-in-law who was actually Hindu knew as well.

Noori and I even sang to one another.  🎶 Ah come on, you knew we both loved to sing!

Sounds a little like a Bollywood film, doesn’t it?  Well, I don’t know about that, what with the singing and all, we won’t even discuss the dancing!

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I’m not saying arranged marriages never work, I’m only saying what I felt was right or in this case, not right for me.  Goodness knows I gave in, let Sonia go and tried to make Hemma and me work.

Sister-in-law – yeah isn’t it interesting that the men in the family could marry a Hindu woman; the ‘no & no’ rule applying only to the daughter.  She could marry a caucasian man (the younger sister eventually did just that) but no marrying a Hindu man.