The other day, a lawyer-friend who specialises in divorce cases, dropped by. When I asked her about her work, she complained bitterly that her case-load had doubled, may be even tripled, over the last few years:
“Just about every marriage in the city seems to be on the rocks,” she raged. “And some of the reasons are as trivial as snoring or spending too much time at the office.”
In one instance, the husband was always parked in front of the TV. He preferred soaps and sports to candlelit dinners and Sunday matinee shows. After two years, his young, homebound wife wanted to be out of the marriage.
“When I suggested that she find herself a job, she said she wanted to be married to her husband, not her job. If our tolerance levels dip any further, Mumbai could turn into New York, where 70 per cent of the couples are headed in different directions,” exclaimed my friend.
I realised that while my husband and I have battled it out for close to half a century, youngsters today are jubilant if they can live together under one roof for even a decade.
I know a couple, who’ve been squabbling over the wife’s wardrobe. She’s from a small town while he has grown up in Mumbai. He works with an advertising firm. He doesn’t like his biwi being a frumpy bahenji. Dressed.. not to thrill He bought hip-hugging jeans, casual Capris and mini-skirts for her.
She’s ready to move from saris to salwar kurtas and even the occasional suits but she doesn’t want to look like one of the models he works with.
“Why can’t I dress to please myself ? Why do I have to please him?” she argues. It remains to be seen how long she can hold out. No tea.. ta ta Last year, a man in Delhi dragged his wife to the High Court after a sessions court had rejected his divorce petition calling it ‘invalid.’ He wanted a divorce because his wife had refused to serve tea to his friend. The High Court turned down his petition as well.
A Bengali twosome hit a roadblock because the wife just couldn’t handle her husband’s drinking binges with his friends over weekends. After he’d downed two pegs, she’d march into the bedroom and lock herself in.
If they were at a friend’s house, she would turn downright nasty, much to her husband’s embarrassment.
One evening, when her hostess offered to pour her a gin and tonic, or maybe vodka and orange juice, she accused her of trying to turn her into a ‘bevdi’ too. And she wasn’t even high.
Figure this out
My lawyer-friend informed me that going by statistics, those who live in together, before marriage, are far more likely to break free, compared to those who had had an arranged match. And those who marry between 23 and 27 are more likely to stay married than those who marry straight after high school.
No wonder so many teenage sweethearts separate over ‘silly’ issues like, “He refuses to help around the kitchen,” “He is spoiling the kids,” or “He is so much like his ma, it’s irritating.” However, the one grouse that takes the cake is, “He wanted me to grow out my hair. Ever since I’ve cut it short, he’s been threatening to divorce me.” Quite hairraising, that.