Sunday, December 07, 2008

... Radha Kaise Na Jale...

One of the most delicate relationships is when two people decide to spend their entire lives, every moment, with each other. Let's take a moment's pause and ponder... two human beings who have spent close to 20-25 years of their lives being the masters of their own universes, doing what they thought was right, prioritizing themselves and their families over everything else, suddenly have to 'adjust' to a completely different person, his/her whims, fancies and idiosyncrasies. One may feel this to be more true in case of arranged marriages vis-a-vis love marriages but, experience tells me that both kinds face adjustment issues - it is one thing to spend time with each other and a completely different thing to live with each other.

In India, particularly, the institution of marriage is completely over-rated and hyped. Ideally, it should stand for mutual trust, understanding, respect, companionship and love. But, Indian society adds in a large dose of honour of family, the quintessential 'ghar ki izzat', 'maan-mariyada' - the basic dos and don'ts that bind the couple in holy matrimony. These were perhaps easy to adhere to when it came to traditional marriages of yester years where the set-up was of a joint family which comprised of generations of people of the same household living under the same roof, eating the food cooked at one hearth, sharing a common income, common property and supporting the old, the widowed, the differently abled and the disabled. This gave a high sense of togetherness. But the pitfall of this set-up was that the responsibility of safe-guarding the honour of the family fell squarely on the shoulders of all the family members and so, even if there were cases of domestic violence or abuse, the women had to continue to bear it behind closed doors. Women were conditioned to compromise. Even if infidelity existed among the men in the family, their wives took it in their stride, some even with a sense of pride, according it to a sense of status and affluence.

Today though, the situation is quite different. We have moved away from joint families to nuclear families. In the urban set-up, with both the husband and wife working and being financially independent as well as spending long hours away from each other, one tends to start finding emotional support in the arms of colleagues and strangers. The city-life gives one the space and exposure to multitude of people, the openness and modern ideas as well as a sense of anonymity. One-night stands, affairs, flings, corporate companions are very common today and they are more in the open than they have ever been. Staying within the close boundaries of the relationship and its bindings is perceived as being stifled and controlled which is considered an attack on one's freedom and space.

While reasons for infidelity can be many, there are instances where people resort to infidelity just for the sake of fun. The excitement of being involved in something which is covert, the thrill of breaking the societal and commitment laws are very enticing to many. However, many times, people get into it for the sake of experimentation. Exploring men / women of diverse backgrounds, cultures and mind-sets give a high to many. Another reason often quoted by psychiatrist is the exposure to information in the media about what an ideal relationship should be and the more the information, the more is the desire to get the missing aspects in the relationship which one feels one truly deserves.

But what does it ultimately do to the relationship? Distrust, low self-esteem and self-confidence, (I am not as slim / smart / savvy as her), self-doubt (It is not my husband's fault that he strayed - I was unable to fulfil his needs...). Divorce, single-parenthood, emotional trauma and scars on the spouse. Children grow up not trusting anyone. A son may have no respect for women since he has seen his father treat his mother with disrespect. A daughter may never trust another man again since she has seen her mother cheated by her father. Is the excuse of prolonged distances due to business, the obsession towards experimentation a reason valid enough to shake the foundation of the relationship, right from the roots?

Madhuban mein jo Kanhaiya kisi gopi se mile
Kabhi muskaaye, kabhi chhede, kabhi baat kare
Radha kaise na jale, Radha kaise na jale
Aag tan mann mein lage
Radha kaise na jale, Radha kaise na jale

Kaanhaji ka jo sadaa idhar udhar dhyaan rahe
Radha bechaari ko phir apne pe kya maan rahe
Baahon ke haar jo daale koi Kaanha ke gale
Radha kaise na jale, Radha kaise na jale

It is a kind of addiction where the 'trishna' of finding the thrill, of doing the forbidden rises with each passing affair till you realise that it is a never-ending cycle which feeds on itself, finally completely consuming you.


  1. yea.. you're so right. The very thought of 'living' with a person for the rest of my life as a wife still scares the hell out of me.

  2. life is divided in phases.
    childhood.. teenage.. marriage.. parenthood, and so on...
    we tend to adapt to these phases automatically. it depends on individuals how much time they take to adapt or how they adapt to it... but generally most of us generally adapt to it...

  3. @Prissy : Trust me, if you are with the right guy, it can be a beautiful and memorable experience.

    @Kuldip : True, we adapt. But there are times when you may have to compromose on your own beliefs and convictions, which should not happen