In a pati, patni aur woh situation, would you accuse the woh (read: woe) factor of mental cruelty as strictly defined in that legal tomes of the country? Before you assume that this editorial space has suddenly metamorphosed into an agony aunty/uncle column or a trends/lifestyle sensor about whether such number of cases are going up or down, be assured that nothing of that sort has happened. We are reacting to a Supreme Court order on the same question. The court says that a wife, the legit one, cannot accuse her husband’s girlfriend or ‘concubine’ of cruelty but such a three-cornered fight can be a ground for divorce.
Along with welcoming such felicity of expression that has actually jazzed up what could otherwise some very stoic court language, we agree with the court that instead of going on about cruelty, there are other ways of addressing such prickly situations. Ask a marriage counselor, they will give sane (mostly unworkable) ideas like determine the root cause (other than the woman, of course), take a break (it’s already a bit rusty, isn’t it?), establish rules and develop trust again (you just saw how easy it is to break all rules and trusts), yada, yada, yada. So find out other meaningful ways of handling the situation, may be threatening him with a golf club (cricket bat, if you are India), cutting up the new line of fall collection or deleting his phonebook in the mobile phone. Then just wait and see who cries cruelty.
As we think up some more innovative ways of tackling the situation and not cry ‘cruelty’, there’s one suggestion for the court too: may be it should brush up its language skills – “girlfriend or concubine” left us a bit cold.