By Sarpreet Kaur
On a perky Sunday afternoon during the summer of April, the Sun shed its gleam on the passers-by at the dazzling Kheerganga Trek in Kullu district in the state of Himachal Pradesh. I was sitting in a dingy cafe by a glass wall which gave me a perfect view of the street. Girls in hot pinks and mothers in elegant blues perched like birds swinging from one hook to other buying stuff that they won’t ever use. Suddenly the jingling bell on the door broke my trance and my friend entered on her royal chariot of elegance reined in by genuine confidence. The fragrance of richness trailed along the side, as she walked with proud eyes exhibiting a sense of being better than all. A tinge of jealousy poked my shoe as she displayed the PowerPoint presentation of her life before my eyes. The slides depicted a colourful picture of a sprawling career, loving husband, a kid on the way, age-defying beauty, and not to forget, the vast amount of money. Kicking away the jealous twitch, I got up from the chair and hugged her with my tentacles of envy and heart full of dwindling ego.
She sat beside me and started an inconsequential chatter. I inquired about her husband’s well-being and saw a flick of disappointment shadowing her face. My next question enquiring about the problem was more out of curiosity than worry. She was getting a divorce and an abortion. It left me dumbstruck. The tale that followed was the conventional divorce story which I have heard many times before from dozens of my divorced friends. Personally, I call it a ‘Clash of Egos’. As my head sporadically tilted to show interest in her story, she continued with her complaints.
“Why do I even have to cook?”
“Why can’t he opt for a job that pays more?”
“I am also busy with my work.”
“Kids are not just my responsibility.”
And, trust me, if her husband had sat there, he would have had the same complaints.
“Why can’t she cook for me once in a while?”
“Her job is keeping her irritated.”
“If she is busy, I am also busy.”
“Kids are her responsibility, too”
Then it struck me that we are just not ready to understand each other because we are too involved in our own self and in our individuality. The reason for all this got embedded in us when we became too aware of our freedom, our distinctiveness and our peculiarity. The marriage is the story of being connected but the cognizance of our rights that makes us outstanding individuals has also made us a unidirectional valve that thinks only about one’s rights. The heavy metal gates of ego in our developed brain further ensure that we don’t become connected. These guards of gates of ego forever keep parading and putting their foot down with force before each other like the guards on the border.
There are umpteen divorces based on dowry, incompatibility, poverty, domestic violence and sometimes even brainlessness. But there are also cases in which the ego leads to the ultimate demise of the relationship. I have seen couples with full financial stability, six years of past dating, two children, a high powered career where the man is on the top of the ladder and the woman has a free will to create and advance her career in any direction getting divorces. Many divorces happen in the modern age not because of a particular reason but because of the lack of reasoning. The individuality acts as a corrosive agent in our relationships, catalyzed by notions of hyper-freedom in the 21st century society.
My friend who had finished narrating her story sighed. It turned out to be a standard case of the clash of egos. She poured her heart out and eventually bid me goodbye. The same girl who entered on a royal chariot now seemed like a girl with a limp, who aged considerably in twenty minutes. The PowerPoint of her shimmering life was automatically deleted by my brain.
I don’t write about this experience to shed any light on the topic of feminism. This is to foreground how superiority corrodes the basic gregariousness surpassing gender. It applies to both men and women. We need to curb our individuality to get anchored better and give away a milligram of freedom and rights.
Sarpreet Kaur values being discreet, enjoys reading and have a passion for writing. She has been working as a content writer for last few years. Her articles have previously appeared in The Hindu, New Delhi Times and other leading websites.
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