Nobody in their wildest nightmares would have thought that our generation would be part of such a tragic and pandemic historical moment, where all our evolutionary superiority and arrogance would be brought down to the knees by a micro organism. The enormity of the situation is unfathomable but has sunk in as almost the entire world has come to a lock down. There is unprecedented information out there about COVID-19, some useful, some hopeful and some crap-ful. But one particular headline that I read, seemed so fantastically ridiculous to me.
The Sunday Times carried a piece, “Divorce rate spikes across China after ‘couples spend too much time together during coronavirus home quarantine’. And I was like “Really?” I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that these people in China are behaving so daft, rather ludicrous. And I couldn’t even understand the need of a national daily to publish this sort of irrelevant, socially negative news. Was it not enough that the COVID is surreptitiously breaking our immune systems and blatantly assaulting the life that we knew, that we let it break relationships and homes too?
Amidst all the insights that this is the time to reconnect with the family, to get creative, to meditate, to de-clutter, some people get caught up in such heated arguments over petty matters that the next thing they do is file a divorce appointment. And apparently because they aren’t used to putting up with each other. I comprehend the part that being constantly in close vicinity of people especially when you aren’t accustomed to it, will make you snap easily, leave you at loggerheads and cause mood upheavals. But then what do you do? Make it the end of the story? Did nobody tell them to look beyond and above it?
This exactly brings me to the reason for writing this post. The Chinese couples acting absurd in these trying times is one situation, quite stupid if I may say. But we as couples, partners and spouses repeatedly play the game of CLASH ROYALE in our normal routine lives as well, warring opponents who sometimes really don’t even know the agenda of the war. And so, not so long ago my very dear husband and I engaged in a similar tiff over a non-existential issue. There’s nothing to hide here, it invariably pans out the same way for most. Raised voices, some outlandish remarks, old issues revisited, turning backs and feigning sleep, so on and so forth. It causes pain, hurt, unease to both sides varying in degree though.
I say it with gratitude and pride that my parents raised me well, especially my mom who made sure I learnt the essentials of life – to cook, to mop, to sew, to adapt, to restrain, to respect, while I got the best of education and opportunities. Yet, the other night when I was feeling down in the dumps after playing Clash Royale with hubby dear, the only thought running in my head was…why did my mom not prepare me for this? Why did she or anyone else not tell me that relationships are difficult, that living with your partner will not always be rosy or easy? She has been with my dad forever and naturally they have had as many conflicts and differences between them, then why did she never warn me about it while doing my kanyadaan?
Not that the knowledge of it would have averted those situations, but I would be better equipped to handle these contingencies. We got and we give a lot of life lessons to our children but nobody tells them or told us how to deal with relationships. Over years and time, we do figure it out for ourselves and very fortunately my husband is a great guy, I am not so bad either so we come around with as much love and respect. But what if we don’t give ourselves those days and months to figure it out and come around? What if we jerk it apart within the first few times itself? And this is exactly what’s happening now.
My exact thoughts were corroborated by Bhumi Pednekar when I recently saw Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan. Her mother castigates her brother on his poor academic scores comparing to the A -grades of Bhumi. Bhumi, who is facing relationship issues with her fiancé, retaliates right on point that what good are those 80% marks when she is failing to resolve her life. This is a sad reality of our times. It’s a straight forward analogy, when we get any new product of any brand, it comes with a trouble-shooting manual. It is clearly anticipated that in the course of its run and our association with it, there will be problems at some point. The manual helps in two ways, prepares us to expect the glitches and explains to resolve most of them simply.
I wish the Chinese couples would have realized that relationships even if “Made in China”, need to be and can be durable, stable and repairable. In fact I wish all couples of our generation and forward can work on their personal trouble-shooting manuals. But we as parents and mentors have a huge responsibility to prepare and teach our children that for all the fragrant roses you exchange, a few thorns will inevitably prick sometimes, but you don’t throw away the roses for it, you learn to bandage the pricks – your own and your partner’s.