When a love-story culminates in marriage its satisfying all around. But this one, the society Chinese whispers had touted as the clichéd "Marriage made in heaven". I was skeptical, heaven isn't very reachable for mortals.
When two persons in love marry, it's for them at least, the culmination of their own storybook romance. But there was this tale that was a much conversed social affair. Some called it a match made in heaven. Surely, I thought, an exaggeration, when I was attending one of the many “do’s” the "love-bird" pair used to whirl through. But undeniably, the husband was suave, handsome, known to be intellectual and could there be anything lacking?! Any skepticism left was quite swept away with his charm and attentive courtesies when he spoke to me! The bride- she was beautiful, stylish and much feted by society. I was equally charmed by her affability.
A year or so had passed. Again at an evening they were likely to be at, I looked forward to meeting them. Was I surprised? The handsome knight met me with almost a cursory greeting as though he hardly knew me! But we had spent a delightful time over the conversation? I was offended, and although the beautiful wife somewhat assuaged matters with her friendly hearty greeting and chat, I pointedly shortened the interlude and moved away.
Soon after I vented my views on the insufferable pomposity of the man. My friend expressed surprise -- didn’t I know? He was terrified to be seen speaking to any woman in his wife's presence?
The woman had joined us, seemingly friendly, but what she was doing was hovering over her spouse whenever he was in speaking proximity with an attractive lady! He dared not even exchange pleasantries lest the 'fangs and claws ' come out in public as some had observed.
But the man adores her? "It’s soon likely to be in the past tense,” said my friend" she's a hover-craft wife in overdrive!" It was not just about jealousy. She wanted in on everything and everywhere he went. Work, business, family, even men-friends and acquaintances, she was happy to be the only lady (intruding) in the gathering.
My friend could have been an astrologer! Her predictions did unfurl and that marriage dismantled as he bucked and almost ran never to look back.
This an age when "space" is an emotional need. You see toddlers, even, banging their spoons on their cereal, demanding to be "left alone" while they pour ketchup on it! So what is this space that everyone is suddenly emphasizing - that's become as basic a need as, say, food and clothing? Teen-agers, wives, husbands, grandparents! No one wants to be told what to do! "Let me be" - "it's my life" “give me space". Even divorces and job exits are about “I needed to get a life!"
Physical space is only one side of the coin. Mumbai is only now emerging out of families of two generations sharing one bedroom flats- as Vithal Kamat, the "Orchid " five-star hotelier proudly recounts of his life, when he meets me. It’s the other side that's the issue these days.
Millionaires with twenty bed-room penthouses, calling the shots on a hundred employees in the office, feel hemmed in and flee when the wife heads towards them. Wives who in earlier days shared what vegetables were to grace the table, now want sanctity over their domains to be it friends, chat sessions, their various choices, and related subjects. Teen-agers are (in)-famous. And can a mother-in-law tell the bride things? Even the mother wastes monies when she lovingly buys clothes for the daughter - "It’s not me! - just stop!" The mother, in turn, can't bear up with daughter's penchant to pile on her every kitchen gadget that she will not use. Fathers and sons need armors in their so-called invasion of territory!
Kangana Ranaut, the much in limelight lady presently- ran away from home as she felt oppressed by expectations of her parents to become a doctor while she sought self-expression. ‘Give me space!? in different avenues. She was sixteen or seventeen years of age. The case here argues that she was very lucky as well as determined because of eight out of ten cases might have never reached goals and frittered away their precious make-or-break years to their irreparable loss!
The Dalai Lama says, all sentient beings are connected, it follows that I cannot cry for "space" to the extreme that I get spaced-out from my close connected and valued relationship centers and I need to remind myself-- my over-emphasis on space may be a tangible encroachment on another's rightful 'place' in my life- parents well-wishers?
As I see it, it’s not about secrecy or even privacy.
Our times are about the education and the freedom to think for one’s self that is there in the environment from childhood on.
I want the right to think for myself. - I want the freedom to make my choices. It is important that I can be who I am without someone at my shoulder telling me who to be.
The erstwhile USSR as I am told, disintegrated though it provided basic food, shelter, clothing, and such securities as should have made a happy state! But discontent and feelings of oppression, even depression, heavily colored the air. A simplistic generalization seems to say - people preferred starving with choices of their own making. This single lack of freedom created mass claustrophobia.
Naturally, the two extreme states of existence have their own serious downsides so enlightened modifications are needed. But what is the edge where one should stop for human and humane coexistence? That's food for thought, maybe for another time
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