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I fondly remember my grandfather sitting
with his legs sprawling on the easy chair in grave silence tightening his grip
on his walking stick. He had a bone to pick with my grandmother. She had
carelessly knocked down the spittoon in their room! Grandma came with a cup of
steaming tea and a knowing apologetic toothless smile on her wrinkled lips but
eyes glittering. She coaxed her old chum to receive the cup of tea after
casting a long pacifying look at her. Behold, he poured with his shaking hand
half the content into the saucer, handed it to his life partner and slurped the
brew contentedly as nectar of peace, love and forgiveness.

Today, in the neighbourhood and at work
place I chance to hear notes of discord, ‘Its days since I had a wink of sleep!’
Eyes whelming up with tears and breaking into irresistible sobs, ‘Alcohol has
stripped away our family peace’ said another. ‘The nuptial knot around my neck
weighs me down like a milestone’….The Family courts pile up every day with a
volley of divorce petitions. ‘She has betrayed me… he is a cheat…
infidelity, licentious living’, run clichés. What has happened to the young
couples? What brings in this ever menacing diabolic effect at an epidemic scale
in our society?

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The wedding bell rang for Nivin and Divya
on Saturday 16 January 2016. Everyone in the reception hosted in their honour
whispered that they looked so graceful and made for each other. Bewitching
whispers….! Yesterday, 18 February 2016 they signed a mutual agreement to part
– d-i-v-o-r-c-e, in the family court. All their dreams to have happy married
life and of raising a small family of their own got dashed against the walls.

Marriage is not merely a social contract
between two people, legalised by society based on tradition and culture but it
is a holy ritual or sacrament that unites a male and female through divine
intervention. It establishes intimate bonding among couples and lasting
relationships between two families who jointly solemnize and participate in the
nuptial song. Lifelong adjustments, understanding, unconditional support and
cooperation are irreplaceable factors for a lasting married life. The simple
lifestyle of our ancestors may stand out exemplary for their endurance. There
was a cementing factor of trust, forbearance, love and patience even in woes.
The women then accepted her role as a wife – better half, associate, co-worker,
and bed mate submissively.

The breakdown of this sacred commitment is
as old as marriage itself. There are a number of factors that cause Marital
Disharmony. It is time to think why with the modern trend of women empowerment,
we witness geometric progression in divorce cases. No peace loving housewife
would support such liberation that in the process snaps the cord of marriage.
Even those women who consider themselves enslaved by marriage would like to
rewrite that marriage is a bonding and not bondage. Women suffer for varied
reasons and separation is resorted particularly in India only as a last choice.

Each married couple will have their own
tale of woes depending largely on lack of mental affinity, economic disparity,
attitude, age, habits, dissatisfaction, inability to adjust, temperament,
infidelity and doubt.

Anita Desai writes, ‘More and more women
consider self respect and the development of personality as necessary goals of
life’. She highlights the inability of the simple inhibited Indian village
woman to express her soul’s promptings freely including her fear and agony
resulting eventually in a desire to snap communication between herself and her
husband. Anita Desai explores into the inner psyche of man revealing the
complexity of human relationship. She makes graphic pen pictures of the
mentally and physically tortured women in the male dominated Indian society.
Today, women empowerment is rapidly gaining popularity but the stories of the
untold sufferings, stress and strains of the common house wives sans individual
identity are swept under carpet. Anita Desai, through her novels, has unfurled
those gruesome situations as in the case of Maya in ‘Cry, the Peacock’, Sita in
‘Where shall we go this summer’ and Nanda Kaul in ‘Fire on the mountain’.

Marital discord between Maya and Gautam in
Desai’s novel ‘Cry, the Peacock’ is certain to evoke the fine emotions in any
of her sensible readers. Like an adept artist, the novelist focuses on the constrains
of family relationship arising out of marital disharmony. The temperamental
disparity between Maya and Gautam keep them aloof from each other. When Gautam
is indifferent, shrewd, realistic, thoughtful and rationalistic, Maya is very
sensitive, innocent, emotional and imaginative. Their temperaments run parallel.
Maya steams within herself to eventual insanity. In her irresistible outburst
driven by insanity she killed Gautam and herself.

Anita Desai’s ‘Maya’ has certainly left a
deep imprint in our minds. Maya lives still in varied forms as reflected among
thousands of suffering ‘Mayas’ who live across Indian subcontinent. They too
cry out their stories of deprivation, alienation and elimination. This tragic
drama of life will go on and on until the causes of marital disharmony most
cautiously and carefully removed. Divine intervention alone may heal these
wounds of resentments, neglect, selfishness and disrespect. Psychologist may
term it as a disorder that demands deep study, understanding and clinical approach.

women ape the western culture. Why suffer the boredom of living with one..! The
‘Pathivratha’ system does not find much relevance today. Irrational imitation
may pave way to clashes and family discord.

Money is a good servant but bad master.
Financial issue in the family often create most unwarranted disputes. A hungry
stomach does not recognise even God Almighty. Satan will have his workshop
opened then. The gnawing economic problems are certain to give way to serious
repercussions in the family circle.

Many mothers weep in silence when their
daughters’ husbands disown them being unable to bear children or their sons
impotent. If they have children, difficulties and untold suffering in store in the
role of good parenting. Lack of parental love will make a child maladjusted in
society. Child rearing is indeed co-responsibility. What one can do is to
adjust, accommodate and find time for your very own flesh and blood.

Lack of time to be with each other;
frequency, infidelity and withholding sex may be punishing. For a woman, she
does not want to share the physical warmth of her husband with another. And so
does the man wish his wife to himself. Fidelity cannot stand breech of personal
commitment in marriage. It wounds the hearts deep within. Openness and
willingness to help and share responsibilities may keep a family in comfort
zone. Disillusioned approach with wild and uncontrollable imagination shall
invite personal conflicts with the partners.

Only problems and sufferings can purgate
two willing souls who decide to live together in marriage enabling them to
raise a healthy family. A man may smile in assent in the saying, ‘A man is
incomplete until marriage and when he is married he is finished’. A sensible
family maker shall convert it as ‘Man is incomplete until marriage and then
they shall live to complement’.  Pray and
strive for perfection and compromise with excellence in family life. The
conflicts between good and evil co-exists in the world. There is no exemption
in family life. It is up to you with God’s Grace, how you lead! 

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