I’ve been thinking…no, don’t look at me like that, its serious. And don’t look so dubiously, it’s not like I am never serious. I went to this friend’s house for a party last month. She is separated from her husband, has a 14-year-old son and has managed to set up home in a penthouse in Alipore. There’s only word to describe the place: sexy. It has a modular kitchen and state of the art bedrooms with walk in closets and matching jade bathrooms with all the modern accessories you can think of. It has an atrium and the best part is the terrace garden and lawn on the top. The place is not exactly toddler-friendly (or even drunk-friendly) as the staircase leading to the terrace are wedges of wood in the wall but I just cannot put into words how well decorated and fashionable the place is! The only thing, yes, there is one, outside the door stands the names of only the mother and son, not even a surname, mind you. Very liberated. Very happening. She is separated, I told you. So although they have every luxury you can imagine, it’s not a complete family.
I know, you think I set too much at store for families and homes…..but every child needs both parents for their nurturing and care, don’t you think? So all day today, it’s been running in my head, this business about divorces. Unfortunately, being what I am, I sometimes know more about people’s personal lives than I care to. I look around me and find every other friend of ours these days are either separated or divorced or in the process of either. No, I’m not talking about those cases where there are victims of domestic abuse…I’m talking about this current tendency to divorce at the drop of a hat, no compromise on either side. One client actually came to me and said he wanted a divorce as he had “moved on”. I point blank asked him if that was another way of saying he was seeing someone else. He was at least honest enough to admit that that was so. His wife, I later found out had also moved on. Another client paid crores for a divorce, along with a flat and cars for his ex wife and maintenance to the kids, all because he had ‘moved on’. Dammit, I too want to move on…who does not dream of a tall handsome figure leading you into the Danger zone? Who is it among us, who has not met someone and maybe wondered? But do you give up on everything to chase a dream, no matter how scintillating? Where’s your self-control girl? Nowadays another charming expression has found its way into our vocabulary “mutually incompatible”. Now what the hell is mutually compatible? Every couple has had to work together hand in hand to iron out differences, work around things that irritate you and build a life together. Even George Clooney has bad breath in the morning and who knows, that TDH you’ve been dreaming of may just fart in his sleep, or leave the bathroom sink dirty every morning! So do you just run away or do you try to gently get Johnny Depp to brush his teeth before he kisses you? I don’t know what people expect, we all have our faults, if we cannot live with one other person’s faults, how do we expect anyone to live with ours? And how does sleeping with someone else, solve the problem…hell, if my husband started sleeping with someone for every time I’ve left the bathroom floor wet, he’d be having a smug look on his face all day, every day!
The bottom line, I feel, is commitment. It is commitment that makes any relationship last and that of course comes from things like mutual respect and regard. To be in a successful relationship hence, one does not need a slip pf paper, which says you are married, or a walk round a fire. These are purely social customs for social recognition for we do live in society. The lack of commitment can be detrimental in any relationship even that of a mother and child. Don’t look at me askance, Hindi movie sacrificing suffering mothers only exist in Hindi movies, in reality there are enough parents out there who are not committed to their kids, be it the father who rapes his minor child or the mother who pushes her daughter into prostitution. Yes, it happens, and not only in stories. Unfortunately.
And when we were in college, some of our friends had boyfriends or were going steady, the rest of us just had fun. These days, everyone but everyone is in love. And of course love is like it is shown in the movies, pretty young women dancing around in the snow in Switzerland. Or dancing on a beach in Mauritius. Hell. That’s not love. Love is accepting someone, as he is, warts and all. Love is sharing the angst in his heart when he is disappointed. Love is making fish curry even though the smell makes you want to vomit just because he likes it. Love is going to the market with a bad hangover just because his parents are coming for lunch. Yes, love is drab, plain and simple and reflected more in the daily routine than the diamond necklace you hope you’ll get for Valentines day or the Hermes tie you bought him.
But unfortunately, more and more couples today are more about materialistic things…they forget to look at the simple things of life. One girl came and told me, “when we got married, he promised me three diamonds every year, one for my birthday, one for the anniversary and one on Valentines day, these last two years he has not given me anything for our anniversary…he only takes me for foreign holidays….I want a divorce”. Yes lady, you do have a problem. No don’t smile. This actually happens.
“I want to divorce my wife”
“She um dresses um indecently in the house”.
“Really, why don’t you explain to her?”
“She wont listen…she thinks it is decent”
“So what does she wear?”
“Um, I don’t know..she wears um you know, she dresseslikeyou….”
“Jeans and tshirt?”
“Yes, yes, after marriage one should not wear things like that”
“But I am married, I have children too.”
He looks at me wild eyed. When I explain that this is a very personal thing between them and no court will grant divorce on that ground alone, he leaves. Later a few months later, he is back. His wife left him. She got tired of all the digs at her jeans and t shirts!
These jokers are all getting married these days, sometimes they even think it may be fun to have a child. But neither are they committed to each other nor to the child.
Can you blame me for ranting?
Sometimes I wish there was a rule that every couple before marriage would have to go though a six month counseling and evaluation. Let them live together for six months, let her discover he picks his nose in bed and farts at the breakfast table, let him see how sloppy she is in clearing up the room or that she takes two hours in the bathroom each morning…..let them face each other when they come home from work late and there is no food and one wants to go out and the other is too tired.
After the six months are up, give them a test.
See how many will pass.
Ah married life. With all its trials, joys, sharing, happiness, harshness and reality…..it can be beautiful too.
But how many have the patience to find out?