Rita banged the tray on the dining table, she couldn’t take it anymore. The lockdown had made things really messy in an already troubled house.
Rita and Alok with their 2 kids looked like a perfectly happy family on the outside but it was quite the opposite in reality. 12 years of marriage, 2 kids, school fees, EMI’s, responsibilities and stress of managing career and home had taken a toll. He was out the whole day and came back at night, they hardly had to see each other’s face on weekdays and weekends were busy visiting relatives or entertaining friends and family, catching up on a movie. Life went on and they got used to the pattern of their relationship not really being what they wanted it to be, learning to live with it. But with the lock down both were in for a rude shock. They were 24*7 in the same house and couldn’t avoid each other. He was fed up of her constant bickering over minuscule things like “turn the A/c on”, “why did you buy this brand of oil” and she was irritated with his indifferent ways and the fact that she had to do most of the housework. In the absence of maids, cook 4 meals, do the dishes, look after the kids studies (cos they never took him seriously is what he claimed). The irritation level was at its peak, they fought it out in the bedroom almost every other day.
And then it hit them hard that its not working.
It clearly isn’t working. There is no physical violence, an extra marital affair. There is no point clinging on to a relationship that’s causing so much of pain and hatred. But do they give up on their marriage, shouldn’t they try harder to make it work, at least for the sake of their kids? How would they face their parents, relatives and friends , society as the divorced one? While the mentality was gradually changing, it was still a subject of taboo.
Maybe they give it once more shot, be more patient, divide chores, take one day at a time and see where they go. Rekindle old memories, they day they got married, the birth of their kids, the happy moments, perhaps this was a wake up call for them to set it right. No more escape in the name of a job or the drudgery of a daily life that keeps them busy and they continue to co exist but not live together as a couple. One last shot and give it their best.
OR maybe they realized it was time to let go. Time to admit that its not working, they tried their best but it still isn’t. Perhaps they were not meant to be. Those who loved them would understand why they did it, or maybe not. They couldn’t live their lives to please others. The people who matter the most are their kids. Wouldn’t they be happier in a home with one happy parent rather than the daily bickering which was ruining everyone’s happiness? Some things that happen in life seem catastrophic but scratch the surface and look deeper, perhaps it was meant to clear that air of cloud in your mind, answer those difficult questions that you had been avoiding for so long, take a hard stand in life.
This is a fictional story, a figment of my imagination! I have given it 2 endings and one can choose whatever they like- it need not always be “and they lived happily ever after”. Who defines how “Happily ever after” should look? Does it always have to be about a Prince riding off on a white horse with his Princess or could it be the Prince sans a Princess or the other way round, riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after?
I have been reading articles around the rise in applications for separation post the Covid crisis, it was in China initially and then in India too. While some may look at it as alarming, its time we shake off these inhibitions and look at relationships and life with a different set of lens.
May those who are stuck in toxic relationships find the courage to move out, may those who are stuck in the rut and need to rekindle their lost romance, give it one more chance and make it work. May everyone find their happily ever after – cos what matters the most is “Are you happy? Do you feel valued?”