Perseverance, Power of Persuasion and Positivity
Ours was an arranged marriage which had solemnly passed through the rigours of all the procedures of a typical Brahmin wedding - horoscope matching, boy seeing girl ceremony, the official engagement called the ‘nischitartham’ , fixing of auspicious time and day for wedding(muhurtham) and the usual diamond, gold and silver jewellery. (Being part and parcel of the marriage deal, irrespective of whether the groom’s party asks or not) .
After the boom, came the crash, and all my desires, hopes and aspirations dashed to the ground and crushed under the mighty feet of my father-in-law, a tough task master who ruled the roost. My hubby , an enormously sweet person who dared not go beyond the “lakshman rekha” and remained “yours most obediently” was caught between the devil and the deep sea and just not mentally equipped for the war of two warring factions and his efforts of reconciliation went desperately in vain. Here I was stubborn and unyielding and as expectant as a new management graduate of a job that would set my career skyrocketing and on the other side an equal and adamant man who belonged to the patriarchal society with a firm rule of the thumb.
The aggression, dismay, sorrow and retaliation, a cycle of human behaviour dragged on, from days to months with each passing day a nightmare of sorts. In no mood to relent or give up and desperate for a change, I set off to my parents’ place but no solace or comfort was forthcoming from my own circle of family and friends. One day, I decided to go to the movies in the township theatre with a view to lighten my heart and soul little realizing what was in store for me. Just before the film began I noticed a grey haired couple sitting two rows in front. Soon I realized that they were my husband’s maternal grandfather and grandmother. Right from the days of my betrothal, I had nursed a fond liking for them – two sweet people, very calm and composed and extremely lovable. Immediately, I went forward to have a chat with them. The seat next to them was vacant and so I slipped into that unaware that this decision of mine was going to change the way I thought and lived for the next 25 years. The chat soon and as expected came around my marriage life and the hiccups that I was facing. I was on the threshold of annulling my marriage to a beautiful human being for no fault of ours but due to the pressures of an inner circle that held us as bonded slaves bearing the drudgery of society and the associated culture clash. The poem “Aunt Jennifer’s tigers” by Adrienne Rich flashed my mind a thousand times over and over with the marriage band hurting me incessantly. I was down in the dumps and the whole world looked bleak and sorrowful. My freedom had been curtailed, my wings clipped, my flights of fantasy never taking off....
The subsequent quarter of an hour was equivalent to the “bhagvad gita” discourse that Lord Krishna gave to Arjuna and ever so faithfully I listened intently to this frail old man who wiped away the droplets of tears that were waiting to come down as torrents. He explained in soothing and reassuring words...”why has God sent me to a nice, charming, educated man, my husband with the associated “baggage” as no one can stop destiny.” He said...”You are indeed going to play a major role in their lives and job and compatibility was only a small meagre part in that big drama called life.. your inlaws are old and waiting for an angel like you to take loving care and soon enough they will know and realize the value of a beautiful person like me.” Soon, the veils of distress and agony lifted and somewhere I could feel a sense of belonging in the new family, a sudden light at the end of the dark tunnel, a pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow, a new beginning of hope and optimism. This pep talk with a grand old couple changed my outlook on life and the next two decades saw a reformed me full of energy and zest for life which I feel would have never taken place but not for them. It is refreshing to look back at a life gone by that was truly inspired by grandparents and not one’s immediate family or close friends.
I have had a successful married life with a warm and affectionate man, the joys of motherhood, the rich dividends of taking care of my father in law and mother in law when they were sick, the work atmosphere, the comforts of a lovely home, the freedom to freelance ...yes everything as a Chief Operating Officer and the relevance of looking at the brighter side of life!
“Few things in the world are more powerful than a push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A "you can do it" when things are tough.”
- Richard M Devos