Getting Divorced! Abusive Spouse!

Mihika (not real name) was my reader for a long time. She has been commenting and discussing my articles. Later, she started addressing me Uncle Pai and regarded me as her uncle. While she came for a conference in our city, she visited our home and had lunch with us.

However, we couldn’t attend her marriage as we were abroad then. Seven months after marriage she called me and said: “Uncle Pai, I want to come to your home and stay with your family for few days…”

“You’re welcome,” I said.

“I feel safe and peaceful with you. I can also have tasty food cooked by aunt…”

“I have already invited you both home as we couldn’t attend the wedding. When are you coming?” I asked.

“Uncle Pai, I will be coming alone!”

“What happened?”

Suddenly she started crying and said: “Uncle Pai, we are getting divorced…”

“What? It has been just a few months after your marriage….”

“Seven to be precise. But I cannot take it anymore. I cannot adjust or accommodate him anymore… Hence I want to break up…I know I will be happy when I stay with you – it will help me overcome the trauma and depressive mindset…”

“Hmmm…”

“Uncle Pai, why hesitant? Do you have any problem with me staying for few days? As you know, I am an Iyengar Brahmin girl and know all etiquettes in the orthodox and conservative family…”

“Mihika, why do you bring your caste into this? I am neither orthodox nor conservative. We are happy to host any family without any such discriminations…that’s not the issue…”

“Then what? Do you think I am a bad girl because I seek divorce?”

“No…” I told her: ” I was just thinking if it is….”

“I know uncle. You would now say there is no word for divorce in Sanskrit, the mother of all languages. The Hindu Dharma/culture does not have the concept of divorce at all. The ancients haven’t even thought of such a scenario. Ancients respected their women and treated them as equal…etc etc…”

I laughed! “Mihika, my parents never scolded me for using a mobile phone. Why? Mobiles were unknown then! Today’s parents scold their kids for over-using mobile phones. I know the situations have changed and we move according to time…I was thinking why would you take a jumpy decision…”

“I have real reasons for divorce. It is impossible to live with this guy – he is abusive, drug addict, and pervert.”

“I am sorry to hear that. But you better see a counselor and discuss with parents…”

“It’s all over uncle. Everyone respects my decision…I just needed your nod too as that would provide me moral courage. I believe you would support only if it is Dharmic…”

I am not a marriage counselor. Within my limited knowledge I know that though many of the divorces are due to genuine reasons, most of them are for wrong reasons – ego clash, attitude, and wrong concepts developed by the media and society are the culprits. The major issue with divorce is that it would affect children’s mental health and future – that’s bigger injustice. But in this case, they don’t have children.

“Can I talk to your husband too?”

“Oh yeah, you think you can change his mind?”

“No. I just want to ask something…”

I talked to her husband. I was really surprised! Both have an astonishingly similar background. Both’s fathers are top-level government civil servants. Mothers are homemakers. Same community and similar financial and family background. They followed superstitions like horoscope matching too. Then where did things go wrong?

– Similar background doesn’t produce a similar attitude. The lessons they learned from their respective families are different.

Both fathers had male-chauvinists attitudes and they were control freaks. The boy thought that’s how a family should run. For him, the male is free to do anything – he can drink, freak out, and get involved in “other activities”. But the girl should be like a Sati-Savithri!

The girl saw her mother’s pathetic conditions and decided she won’t live a life like that. The girl is confident as has financial independence. She also reads a lot and knows a lot. The boy is pampered by his parents, giving him a feeling that he is a “very important person in the universe”. He is not getting that feeling from his wife, Mihika! So anyone can guess the reasons for divorce. Otherwise, this was a good alliance.

After talking to both, I also understood that her reasons are genuine. Hence I supported her. She came and stayed with us. We visited places around our home – beaches (Kochi and Cherai), backwaters in Alleppey (Alappuzha and Kollam), and hills (Munnar). We visited few temples too.

Casually I asked her: “What would you do now? Are you planning to marry again?”

“No Uncle, never. I have learned my lesson. I know many girls tried it again twice and suffering a lot again. When it happens for a second time, the entire society and family would blame you. No – I don’t want to take a risk.”

“Mihika, after some time your parents will leave you. We will also disappear. You would feel alone. You may need support then…”

“Uncle, before taking the decision, I have visited many old-age homes. Even married people become lonely when their spouse dies. A couple dying the same day is rarest of rare, right? Children abandoning parents are normal things today, you can’t blame them too. And, of course, children can’t replace a spouse! Eventually, everyone will become lonely someday. I am not worried about being lonely”

“How come?”

“You only said in an article that we may feel lonely but we are not alone in this world.”

“So?”

“I want to live my life. I don’t want to waste it anymore. I follow your writings about three Golden principles in life: “Sariramadyam khalu dharma sadhanam” (you need to keep your body and mind fit for Dharmic life), Uddharet Atmana Atmanam (only you can uplift yourself), and Swayam Eva Mrigendrata (There is no official coronation ceremony held to declare the lion the king of the jungle. He becomes king by his attributes and heroic actions). Nobody’s approval is needed in life. There are many things I want to do and enjoy in life. I don’t want to surrender my life for the lousy concept that women should be meek and live for whims and fancy of the man…”

My wife smiled nodded and gestured like, “write more articles like this!”.

I kept mum. I was learning a lesson or two from the new gen. I didn’t know what to say. But, just saying: I am responsible for what I write. I am not responsible for what you make out of that.

“Am I right, Uncle Pai?” Mihika asked.

I smiled at her.

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