Sunday, March 16, 2014

Going further from each other to get closer

I have been married for 24 years. It comes as a big shock to me whenever I realize it has been so long that I have been married. "Why shocked", you may ask. For one thing I always wanted to pursue science and marriage was something I did not want to get into, because I felt it would cripple my wings. Though my mom had me emotionally blackmailed and cajoled to finally say yes, I developed cold feet and wanted to run away from everything 3 days before the D day.
Somehow, my mom once convinced me to stay, and I have stayed there for 24 years. That surprises me, as I did not think I would go beyond a year or two, given the wide cultural gap between where I grew up and where I got married to. I was a person who considered 'me' to be either equal or a level or two above others, other than some great achievers who I admire. How could 'I' a square peg fit into a sucking round hole that expected women not just to be submissive to the husband but to whole of his family? Wonder how it worked out for me? Gofurther to get closer is what has kept it running so far.


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I thought that is what the couple in the video, Sumeet and Chetna does; but when I watched it, I realized that going further to get closer meant something else all together for that lovey dovey couple. That would never work for me. I am an expressive person. I am not good at hiding my emotions, be it love, anger, fear, sadness, or anything for that matter (may be except for dirty linen). I am also more expressive about sharing my opinion on many of topics that directly or indirectly connects to me. Remember how the couple exchange looks in the mirror? In my case it would be a warning stare that would send shivers through the person in the driver’s seat which could lead to accidents. I would be suffocated and would burst out of that kind of a relationship within months. I need my own space, the space where no one can reach me or disturb me for a while. My family knew it before my marriage and now my children have learned to allow me that space, because they know the importance of it. They also know not to dip hands in my popcorn without my permission. I have been lucky. But would everyone who lives with me understand that?
Going further to get closer is something else in my book. It is sending people who I cannot tolerate for long, away, so that our relationships do not break. My husband works in UAE, whereas I stay in India with my children. I am what they call in the media, ‘A Married Single Mother’. I am not sure whether opposites attract, but they do marry was proven true when I married my husband. If you want to find a couple who are exact opposite of each other, I will tell you where to look for them. So how do we stay married for 24 years? That is by going further to get closer. After visiting me for a few months, my husband goes away to gulf to work and earn money. I am left to deal with bringing up children, taking care of home and other things down here. The choices are left to me. Even if formally I would consult him on issues at hand, I would give reasons to make his choices kind of impossible to work out. He being away would not know what to do but succumb to my manipulations.
When we are together, things start getting a bit uncomfortable for me. But by the time there is too much hubby togetherness in my life, enough to suffocate me; it is time for him to go away. Once he gets on the plane, I do forget the differences we had and it brings me closer to him. From all that miles dividing us, I can be what I am and yet be married to him. I have seen women weep bitterly when they husbands go away to gulf for work. They say life is difficult for them as they have to depend on others for many of their needs like booking gas, managing school for their children, changing bulbs, etc. I have never been a dependent person. From doing minor electric repairs to repairing mobiles and computers, I try my hand at everything. I love doing things myself, rather than asking for help unless it needs more physical strength than I can muster.
Many people would think, this is such a sloppy arrangement, but fortunately, I have learned to love this way of life and the freedom it gives me, especially in bringing up my children. There hear no mix messages separately from Mom and Dad to confuse them. Though I am person who is often considered to be over-confident, I was not so confident that I would be a good mom when I was pregnant. I sought out professional help from pediatrician Dr. Nandini Mundkur, author of bringing up baby and many other counselors who helped me develop good parenting skills. It also helped me understand my children and love them for what they are. Life has been so beautiful with my children for me. I am not sure the other half of parent would have gone to the lengths I have gone to be a parent. That would have made things tough for me.
I cook, arrange my house, make my schedule and plan my activities without anyone telling me what to do or when to do it. I walk the lonely road and go wherever I want to go because there is no else walking with me whose preferences I would have to consider. This is good for me. I have fallen in love with this life now.
I feel it is very easy to be intimate and close in a long distance relationship, even when considerable distance separates the couple. The lack of seeing the expressions and not being able to talk too often due to high ISD call rates to nag or carry on a fight helps quite a lot. When you are skyping and in India, you can always shut anyone off and blame it on power-cut. Same thing can be said about phone calls; here you can blame it on bad connection.  In a long distance relationship, your husband comes with a switch off button. Wow! How cool is that?
I don’t think long distance relationships are that difficult to manage. Love does not depend on the distance between two individuals, which is proven by the couples who share a bed, coldness and hatred in a marriage. Also, when you wait to be with someone for a long time, you forget all their drawbacks in anticipation and excitement of being together for a short time. As a wise man said, “distance does make the heart grow fonder”. Close ups show every scar, pimple or blemishes the other person has. Having enough time to do whatever you want to do, keeps you free from frustrations. When you are together, you can give your best to your partner for the short time you are with each other.  

If I get a chance to travel to London with someone, I am stealing some time off with my lovely special needs daughter for all girls holiday. I don’t know whether it would bring us any closer, as we are both quite close enough! It would sure be a fun trip full of adventures, love, and excitement for us. What more do we want from life?
Though this entry is a part of contest held on indiblogger by British Airways, it is nothing but what I have learned from life and my personal experiences. 

22 comments:

  1. Wonderfully honest post!! I know many women here whose husbands also work abroad, leaving their wives to raise their kids. Some of these women become completely dependent on their male relatives and eventually come under their control. But some others are strong like you, and they live life on their own terms. Different conditions work for different people, and I'm glad you've found your level of balance!

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    1. I know.. This is not a condition many women would desire, but it is perfect for me. I do feel sorry for my husband at times as he lives all alone, but he also has got used to being without kids around and they get on his nerves now.

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  2. I like your post very much , i like to read this article

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  3. A post straight from the heart..loved it..:-)

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  4. A honest post..right from the heart Farida ji... I enjoyed reading it...

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  5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder Farida? :)

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  6. You sure know how to make the best of the cards that life has dealt you. Have always admired you for that! A very honest post.

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  7. Honest honest post... I felt the same when I was in this condition for 6 years.... but I used to feel free yet sad at the same time... ?? don't know about my mind... but really liked your post .

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    1. Every person reacts to a situation in a different way Kokila. You are right in your way and I am right in my way. I can't say that I have never felt sad being away from my husband. Gradually I just fit into this lifestyle and started loving it.

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  8. I can't say best Rachna, but good is near to it I can say. Thank for the good words you have to say about me.

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  9. A true honest post as always, relationships need space to flourish, and this chapter from your life speaks so much of that. What can I say, I am an admirer of honesty above everything else, Faridaji -- you rock. All the very best.

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    1. Thank you Arti. You need space especially if the other person wants to engulf all your time, attention and love. But, for most couples, the togetherness and intimacy will allow the relationship to flourish as well. It all depends on who you are and with whom you are!

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  11. We all do what we have to do, and there are so many marital situations. I understand how you feel because I am rather independent, too. I love my husband dearly, but I do not have to be around him all the time. You are a strong person.

    Thanks for including the video. I watched it with much fascination because cultural differences are a big interest of mine. It seems that the couple in the video are a real couple, as opposed to actors; either way, they represent so many like them. I must say that the role of the wife in the video is a life that I'm glad not to have. Working so hard and having no privacy is a big price to pay for a husband.

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    1. LOL Anita. You summed it up so well. Working so hard is a big price to pay for a husband! I loved the way you said that.

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