Divorces On The Rise In India.

Nick at nickhereandnow had recently written a post “Love Derailed” and I was musing about what to comment when, this news item in the BBC came to my rescue.

It has been my personal observation too that we are seeing too many divorces now a days in India, primarily in the urban milieu. I am not an expert or a psychologist to comment on the reasons for it, but having been happily married for forty years till death did us apart, I am intrigued.

The BBC article throws some light on it and this quote from Dr. Geetanjali Sharma “I also feel they lack patience and tolerance. They don’t want to put more efforts into a relationship to fix the issues, and they feel that escapism is the solution.” in it, resonates with me, with the proviso that it not be both who want the divorce and could also be just one of the two wanting it.

Relationships are easy to destroy but difficult to build. I for one thrive on long lasting relationships of all kinds and this post addresses a different aspect of the subject.

This is Leena. She is my ex daughter in law. When she came into our home in 2001, she brought a different atmosphere into it and quickly became the daughter that we did not have. My late wife adored her as did I and as I do now. Ranjan and she were married for five years and decided to part company amicably, for whatever reasons, best known to them. Naturally, neither of us liked the development, but decided to accept it as perhaps being the best under the circumstances.

Leena, despite the divorce, continued to be the daughter to my wife till the latter passed away two years ago, and continues to be a daughter to me till today. When Urmeela passed away, Leena came over and took charge of our home till all formalities were complete.

My son Ranjan and she continue to be good friends despite being divorced from each other and often communicate with each other via all modern methods as well as personally. There does not appear to be any acrimony and both seem to have got on with their lives happily.

Leena came to visit my father and me yesterday on learning about our indisposition. She spent quite some time with both of us and it was uplifting of our spirits like a breath of fresh air. She is naturally ebullient and cheerful and it is infectious. Today, she sent some specially cooked fish dishes for my father which cheered him up further.

I wonder if this is also the trend that post divorce relationships do not break but move to different levels with the individuals and the families concerned. I certainly hope that it is.

Nick, an interesting take?

Relationships And Karma.

Our young blogger friend Ashok has an interesting post on his blog “In the words of Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade” which has prompted me to write this rather poignant post.

During my recent frequent visits to the hospital for physiotherapy, I came across a story from a doctor who used to bring his daughter for physiotherapy too. She had met with an accident while riding pillion on motorcycle and had had multiple fractures on her leg. The doctor and I got to talking to each other and this is the story that he told me.

He is a pediatrician and his wife a gynecologist. A perfect college romance followed by a perfect family life with two children. One son, killed two years ago while on a motorcycle by a drunken truck driver and the daughter currently undergoing physiotherapy who was widowed at the same time as the son and son in law were riding together on the motorcycle.

Since then, the wife had been out of sorts and had taken to spiritualism in a big way culminating in her wanting to go away to an organisation doing scial work in the South as part of the orgnisation’s missionary work. Just two months earlier, the father and the daughter finally gave her permission to go away to follow her bliss. Yes, that is the expression used by the father!

Now, the father is saddled with his practice, his temporarily handicapped daughter and running the household.

A lesser man would have broken down. Not this spirited man of about fifty, who is determined to find his own bliss seeing that his daughter is fully rehabilitated and to serve his patients with full commitment. In typical Indian fashion, he accepts his lot as his karma!

Since then, I have been thinking about this family often and the intense experiences that they have undergone in such a short time. I was talking about this with some other friends the other day when one of them chose to comment on the wife leaving the husband at such a time. He was all praise for the husband for being so understanding and letting her go. Another friend, more shall we say, worldly, quipped whether he would have let her go, had she decided to go with another man!

That is a very interesting way of looking at a broken relationship. Since that discussion, I have been thinking of possible answers to the question and find it impossible to!

Leave aside the Indian context to the story, I wonder whether this question can be answered at all in any other context as well.

Conditions.

Today’s Loose Bloggers’ Consortium topic “Conditions” has been chosen by Grannmar who must have an Ace up her sleeve with this topic as, it took me a long time to figure out just what to write. As I am wont to under such conditions, I decided to let my Muse take over and here is what she wrote.

Primarily, my conditions are:

The most important, Financial. Reasonably good with some money in the bank, a roof over my head all paid for and of much higher value than what I paid for; a regular pension that can keep my body and soul together and a small agency that gives some icing on the cake every month.

The next in importance, Health. This can be subdivided into physical, mental and dental.
Physical: Other than my replaced/revised hip joints, in reasonably good condition.
Mental: I think that I am sane. That opinion however, is not shared by most people who know me, including some regular readers.
Dental: I wear one partial denture and two caps covering four other teeth. I have recently lost one wisdom tooth after extracting which, the dentist gleefully told me that the last wisdom I had has now been dispatched to the garbage heap.

The next in importance is Relationships. All current relationships are satisfactory but all are platonic. Sad. I am however still hopeful.

The condition of the environment in which I live in is also satisfactory. I live in a city that is growing but in a suburb that is away from the hustle and bustle of the center. It is peaceful and the residents are friendly and helpful. All facilities are available within walking distance. The climate is salubrious and the city is the preferred destination for retirees.

My Muse has stopped writing.

Doing Without – II

The response to my yesterday’s post “Doing Without” has been very interesting. It is after I read the comments that I realized that I should have perhaps added the context in which my friend sent me the quote. The context is in his present despondent mood, having lost his wife of 38 years to cancer. He was talking about his sudden loneliness and I had expressed that if I could, I would have gone over to be with him for some time as, he is unable to leave his home due to his own commitments.

The happiness quotient for material things certainly can be explained away by all that my readers have commented upon. Quite how does one do so in the context of a relationship that has ended in a tragic way? Having personally gone through the experience of losing my wife last year, I can understand his despondency. I think that I have come to grips with the loss whereas he has been unable to so far. He is taking recourse to philosophy!

Let me quote Bertrand Russel in full:

“I have frequently experienced myself the mood in which I felt that all is vanity; I have emerged from it not by any philosophy, but owing to some imperative necessity of action. If your child is ill, you may be unhappy, but you will not feel that all is vanity; you will feel that the restoring of the child to health is a matter to be attended to regardless of the question of whether there is ultimate value in human life or not. … The feeling is one born of a too easy satisfaction of natural needs. The human animal, like others, is adapted to a certain amount of struggle for life, and when by means of great wealth homo sapiens can gratify all his whims without effort, the mere absence of effort from his life removes an essential ingredient of happiness. The man who acquires easily things for which he feels only a very moderate desire concludes that the attainment of desire does not bring happiness. If he is of a philosophic disposition, he concludes that human life is essentially wretched, since the man who has all he wants is still unhappy. He forgets that to be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”(Emphasis mine)

In the context of relationships, this does not make sense. Having had one very satisfying and happy relationship for decades and to suddenly to lose it and “be without” cannot be part of happiness. Unless he is totally unfeeling or he has suddenly found an alternative, how can he be happy immediately after the loss?

I am sure that my friend will get over his despondency in time. I certainly hope so. On the other hand, I also know of a some cases where this was not possible, and the surviving spouse wasted away.

Something does not quite gel with what Bertrand Russell says when it comes to doing without relationships when one has lost a cherished one.

The Empty Nest Syndrome.

“Kids aren’t ruining parents’ lives,” Dr. Gorchoff said. “It’s just that they’re making it more difficult to have enjoyable interactions together.”

I came across this fascinating article which caught my eye because we went through the empty nest syndrome on three separate occasions and came out of them fairly intact. We were told on all three occasions that we were particularly impacted because we have only one child.

Let me explain.

Firstly, in India, children living with parents and grand parents is still quite prevalent and family ties are very strong. This is changing rapidly, but for our generation, this is still so.

When our son Ranjan was growing up, I was in an employment where, every few years, I was getting transferred on promotions to newer locations. This was impacting Ranjan’s studies quite a bit and when in 1983, when he was just twelve years old, we decided to send him to a boarding school, it was a very difficult decision to make but take it we had to. The timings of the transfers did not particularly accommodate school term timings and this was the primary reason for our decision.

Off he went to boarding school, and for the next three years, my wife Urmeela and I were left to manage on our own. During those days, I was also traveling quite a bit and Urmeela had to be alone at home for about three weeks on average per month.

In 1987, luckily, we were transferred to a city when academic timings coincided, and Ranjan joined us for the next eight years. He completed his college education and post graduation while staying at home. Subsequently, he also got employment where we lived. It was a boon for Urmeela as I was still traveling to the same extent.

In 1995, when I retired for the first time, Ranjan got a job offer in another city that was just too good and he left home again. Since I was at home, it was not too bad for Urmeela and we had a quiet retired life for a few months. I was pulled out of retirement by a local industrial house with an offer that I could not refuse and so for the next thirty months, it was back to corporate life. I completed that assignment and went back into retirement. In the meanwhile, Ranjan returned to our hometown after just over an year’s working as his employer had to shut down due to some family problems of the promoter of the company. Since then, he has been living in our home town, with a few long stretches of overseas postings.

Ranjan got married in 2001 and he and his lovely bride made their home with us. Till 2005, they lived with us when they decided to separate and both took separate residences. Ranjan moved out again and was living as a bachelor for about a year and a half till he decided that the infrastructure in his parents’ home was better than what he had experienced all alone by himself. He is now back with us.

We have thus experienced the empty nest syndrome on three separate occasions and Urmeela has experienced the worst of it because, she was left alone for long stretches of time when neither Ranjan nor I was at home.

The article revived memories of those days, and I can vouch for one thing that the article does not pay sufficient attention to. Whenever the nest was empty, Urmeela and I found it possible to relate to each other in a completely different way than when Ranjan was with us or when he and Leena, his wife were with us. That relating has brought us very close to each other and I sincerely doubt that such closeness would have been possible without the empty nest situations that we experienced.

The article is more relevant to Western readers, but parts of it are relevant to us too. I know that many of my readers are parents with children away from home and it is for this reason that I have thought it prudent to post this article.

How does the article impress you?