Sunday, December 5, 2010

Skip to Happily Ever After..

An old man and a woman stayed over at our place for about a week. After my initial discomfort over having guests, I began to enjoy observing them making themselves feel at home. The husband, a doctor in his younger days has now been reduced to an almost emaciated bag of bones and his bald head popping out of his T-shirt makes him resemble a handsome version of a human turtle! He has a quiet demeanor, yet nothing prevents his old wrinkled face to break into a childish smile, at the slightest inclination.

His wife a younger lady, distinctly fatter and healthier than her husband, has the air of a woman who knows it all ..and NO spec of information seems to pass by her without her having scrutinized it completely! While she is loud, initiating conversations and instances from her life her husband quietly listens and occasionally embellishes the story narrated by his wife.

Looking at them I cannot help wondering how a couple as varied as themselves managed to live a whole lifetime together! The wife is endlessly meticulous, while the husband tends to be lost even with a map in his hands. Makes me wonder, can a politician marry a writer and live happily ever after.

Or is it merelythe pressure of Living Happily Ever After?

Almost all our Lady Bug fairy tales ended with these very lines. No matter what troubles are faced, what hurdles aught to be overcome, in the end everything tends to merge into a happy concoction  of  the Happily Ever After.

 No matter how diverse or similar a couple is to each other, the bond between them seems to emerge out of the mutual respect that they share. And it is this bond that should be treasured and preserved rather than our obsession to see our near and dear ones dress up as brides and grooms and gleam at the cameraman!


  1. I agree that these bonds need to be preserved and appreciated for what they are, but the question would still remain as to how these bonds are formed in the first place. Happily ever after masks the beginning, it masks the basic truth somewhere. was this relationship a product of coercion, of consent, of cooption, out of mutual care is the question one wud like to know, since we see even in our homes how relationships pan out. People take it as their fate and accept it (especially for women) and are happy with it in a postscript and some resign to their existence and it is this resignation which brings in this happiness which would then be a product of a consciousness which the situation has created for them out of their powerlessness. So we really need to ask that question of the travails which relationships go through to be happily ever after....

  2. Mine is more of a comment (too long to be just this) than a supplement which it also is.

    There have been several many books reportedly to have broken the spell of feminine myths one among the prominent being Kiss Sleeping Beauty Good-Bye by Madonna Kolbenschlag (1979). However this post gives the infamous ‘happily ever after’ concept a different and fair treatment, considering especially it comes from a learned female writer, which is exactly the way I like it not in a romanticized or politicized way, but on a rational human and empirical ground which can be reasonably customized later to suit any individual mental tendencies, be it romantic or political.

    While feminine myths are products of socially ingrained and much romanticized male ethos across the centuries, I would not misunderstand (as is generally the case) their invariable feel-good factor ‘happily ever after’ as a gender political tool to hypnotize or etherize the so-called ‘weaker sex’. Fairy tales (especially feminine myths) with usually happy endings after the protagonists’ literal/figural deadly life-whacking experiences are symbolic of human longings and expectations to live beyond their existential (philosophical/mundane day-to-day) miseries, their longing to feel having emerged successfully from the smokes and fire in the rubble and debris of the battle of life they have lived through, their longing to breathe proudly after the victory with the surmounted miseries in memory. Such longings transcend gender geographical boundaries. It is wonderful that Esha, as a female observer, has a finely balanced outlook on this mythic catchword much misinterpreted in gender studies.

    As regards unions, there have been several of us since ancient times who believe in the betterness (not just advantages) of associations between/among people of different types. A government with a good coordination among its diverse ministries and departments is an appropriate example. A group or union of just one type (interest, disposition, specialization, or whatever) of people will do well, but it will not compare (in all dimensions) with another group or union with people of different types or from diverse fields. This is the same case with male-female/husband-wife relationships. Though differences account for disharmony of any sort, marital feuds do not stem solely and specifically from the differences in interests or types; they may arise from whatever aspect of life. While ideologies play a major part in relationships, there are other cultural, emotional and inter-personal human sharings (depending upon the dynamics of the partners’ emotional intelligence – see Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, and Working with Emotional Intelligence) lying deeper under these superstructures. Ideologies do not play in homes as actively as they do out in society where they are relentless rivals. Husband-wife relationship is basically an emotional one (irrespective of however they started) (and this is the content of the thing) the alignment/configuration of which determines the health of the relationship; differences in trades (though undoubtedly accountable in degrees) are more a matter of how each of them negotiates their own ways mainly in society. However, the fact is to be agreed that there is a reciprocal causative relationship between one’s emotions (or emotional intelligence or disposition) and one’s channelized learning, which will free ourselves from the hen and the egg problem.

  3. Thanks Thoi and Manohar for sharing your thoughts and ideas about this strange world of relationships with me.