Posted by Srividya Ram
……………my first reaction was of profound shock and disbelief.
It was a typical conversation on that day too – as always, I have been the one talking and going on and on about the mundane things in life, without a damn about whether I am talking sense! I think this mindless, reckless talk happens only when the other person you are with is someone who understands you inherently – not just by the words you speak, but by being your buddy for the last 20 years without any expectations!!
And suddenly, I feel that there is something my friend is waiting to share – I slow down and listen and the story unravels itself in front of my eyes – and I was shocked and could not believe what I heard!!
Coming from a small town and being brought up in a ‘oh-so-orthodox’ culture with similar social status – me and my friend share very similar thoughts on what is right and what is wrong (call it ‘values’?). I agree that our thought process and values (rights and wrongs) are mostly shaped based on our upbringing and is a legacy.
The story is about an extra marital affair – yes !!…my shock was due to the fact that one of the close female relatives of my friend had chosen a different life ( it is with another man). I was shocked and angry because of what this made to my friend’s family – a teenage daughter and a tween age son lost their mother – not to mention the fact that a ‘oh-so-orthodox’ household lost its ‘bahurani’ (master of the house) and the aging in-laws lost their ‘bahu’ and the rich (reasonably handsome) husband lost a wife and her parents lost their ‘pride’ in the society!
I listened intently to the whole story – impact on the family, what our little town biggies think about it, how the elders at home are taking it, how the children are taking it – I was ANGRY!!
It kept haunting me…… her daughter will be ready to be married off in another 6-7 years from now……..and this mindless lady put her life in front of her kids!! How dare she do this???
Couple of days passed and it was the weekend – I was killing time watching the movie “The perfect man” in the television – It was an average movie – an American romcom, a story of a teenager.
The teenager is upset of moving cities frequently as her single mom has personal meltdowns involving second-rate guys in the cities they move through. The single mom is so desperate to get the right man as she feels her lifetime is ticking away. To distract her mother from her latest bad choice, the teenager creates an imaginary perfect man to romance the mom and boost her shaky self-esteem. The story after multiple funny incidents ends “happily-ever-after” with the mom finding her perfect men”.
I never had any qualms about the movie – it was very natural for me to accept it!
As an afterthought, that night I happen to wonder on why I could feel this movie was natural and why I am angry with the other lady’s action – both women have kids and they want to live their life – they have multiple reasons on why they want to choose a different partner in their life. The only difference was that the movie showed the women including her kids in her plans whereas in this real life incident, the lady left the kids back with her husband – but, is it not her choice?
On further thoughts, I realized that I never felt angry when I heard about the movie stars like Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan (latest addition is Prabhu Deva) choosing a new life partner leaving behind their kids with their former wives. So, why is that I am angry on this incident now?
– Is it because
- I can relate to this ‘oh-so-orthodox’ scenario?
- In a ‘oh-so-orthodox’ scenario, I probably expect the mom to be glued to her kids, irrespective of whether she like living her life with her husband and in-laws. I get angry and fume that how can a mom of a teenager look for her own life?
- she is a women and not a man like Aamir Khan or Saif Ali Khan who did the same thing?
- I am a hypocrite – can take it if it happens elsewhere but not in my circle?
More and more I think of it……… Gosh! Am I turning SYMPATHETIC?? Looked like I am suddenly feeling sympathetic with the lady ((I got to admit that I am far from being empathetic – thanks to my conditioning during early years of ‘oh-so-orthodox’ family). But the thought of a teenage daughter, aging in-laws brings back the anger in me.
No, I think I am still not clear. I am honestly confused!! Is it Anger or Sympathy?
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Further thoughts: This situation is a plain simple case of someone wanting to live their life. As a society, we still have a long way to even assess a case like this, but as an individual we get emotional over these. The individuals are mostly pushed to a corner – forced to make a choice between living their life and living as per society’s norms. In a western culture, probably there are ways where they can still live their life and also be socially accepted. But that brings in another debate……..is our culture much sought after across the world?? More to explore………..