Well, this article wasn’t written to prove things right. And at the same time, it didn’t require a need to convince people to follow what is mentioned. However, as per the rules quoted sometimes – or as they call it, Controversial Articles!
An NRI friend on an Indian vacation once confessed that cheating on wives was heating up among the Indian community in the US, adding with a wicked wink, “just like I am told back home”. The problem he said was not this was happening but that “even we Indians” don’t seem to give a damn about it.
As far as resident Indians are concerned, there is no problem as such because we normally don’t give a damn about anything. But the burning question before all blue-blooded NRIs: Is an extra-marital affair immoral?
Well, the truth is, morally speaking, it is absolutely mandatory! Wait, there’s even better news ahead: The spouses on both sides of the affair are bound to give their consent to it!!
It’s all laid out very nicely and very elaborately in the Bible of Ayn Rand. And practiced to perfection by the Oracle herself.
Remember her characters, John Galt, Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden (Atlas Shrugged), Howard Roark and Dominique (The Fountainhead)? They show how enjoying extra marital romps needs one to be mercilessly moral.
Of course you could turn around and say that these characters are after all fiction. But what about Ayn Rand herself who unperturbed decided to go ahead and just do it: An extra-marital affair that was morally binding on her, that was absolutely mandatory, and that was in accordance with her highest ideals.
Yes! Now go and grab that copy of Ayn Rand’s bio by Anne C Heller (Ayn Rand and the World She Made). The book is spot on, in revealing Rand inside-out.
Apparently, what happened was, one day before her fiftieth birthday, she bumped into a guy called Nathaniel Branden, 25 years her junior, and suddenly, her moral antenna started working feverishly.
“Oh, my Galt! You are a genius!” Ayn Rand exclaimed.
Branden tried to look appropriately heroic. “Oh, er, hmmm, uh, alright.”
“My place, two times a week. Any questions?”
“What about my wife, and your husband?”
“I’ll win them over. It’s about page numbers 557 to 621 in Atlas Shrugged, you know, where John Galt’s speech….”
“I agree,” Branden cut in hastily.
The next day, Rand called in the spouses and explained to them her moral predicament. “I found all my values match in Branden. It’s now a moral affair. To know why and how, let me read out page numbers 557 to 621 from Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged….”
“We agree!” the spouses said hurriedly.
The Ayn Rand bio also reveals that a great intellectual revolution was brewing in Ayn Rand circles, when news of the moral affair she carried on with Branden broke. Everyone was now falling on everyone’s shoulders, for their share of “moral affairs”. Suddenly, everybody wanted to be Howard Roarks, Dominiques, Galts, and so on.
Rand’s moral science lessons ramp up the demand for extra marital romps. Precisely how does one land up with such a moral affair? A sample reading of Randian philosophy reveals that all it requires is a moral compass, forever on the alert to attract similar values.
Example: A and B are happily married. A finds C very attractive, or finds C likes what he likes (Rand), believes what he believes in (Rand), and can quote John Galt’s speech backwards without pausing for breath (Caution: The speech runs through 90 pages and the smallest word in it is yet to be discovered.), but most important of all, is the first value mentioned (see above).
A goes up to C and enquires whether their values match. C says yes. A is tormented, and delighted, it doesn’t matter anyways. Now, he has to have an affair with C, otherwise, he is morally condemned.
He goes up to his wife, A, and explains the whole thing. A understands, the moral creature that she too is. Ditto C’s husband, D. So A &C meet two times a week in A’s place.
One fine day, that is several years later when C is too old, A suddenly finds their values no more match. “Listen,” A tells C, “we have to call this affair off. You are now too old to be of any value to me.” C understands. “It’s fine by me,” she concedes. “So long as you keep your mouth shut and don’t devalue my value in public.”
And thus, the morality play in life goes on. Eventually, everyone goes around with everyone, until no one can tell a marriage from another, or an affair from another. Moral of the story: Just because Ayn Rand got away with it, don’t think you will.
By KS Muralidharan