Seven o’clock in the evening is an odd time for me to switch on the television. But switch on I did and found myself watching some channel that was showing a poor rehash of the lovely Mahesh Bhatt film “Arth”. For those of you who have not seen this movie, it is about a married woman whose husband is having an affair with another woman. She tries her best to save her marriage – talking to the “other” woman, pleading with her husband to give their marriage another chance and finally when nothing works she tries to start life afresh-all alone. The movie I was watching was rather awful in terms of the cast and the acting but somehow the theme seemed to hold me riveted to the screen. So, in between stirring the curry on the stove, I kept coming back to the living room to watch the film. When the husband came in, I yelled from the kitchen “ Don’t change the channel. I am watching that movie” . He told me later he was “shocked” that I was watching such “crap”.
Well.. ‘crap” or not, I watched the movie almost until the end! Actually, now even I am surprised how I did that! I guess because it had something to do with the theme- the worst nightmare for every woman -her husband having an affair.
I sometimes read these articles where people say that no third person can break up a marriage- that the third person’s entry is a logical consequence of an unraveling relationship. I am not so sure about that. I mean, relationships go through phases. Each phase has its own complexity. When you are young and just married there is all the time in the world for each other. Then you become parents and the relationship undergoes a change. For women in particular, this is like a watershed – we lose our looks, freedom and become stressed. Some marriages cope well with this change while many don’t. But that does not mean that they break apart. Or do they create conditions where one of the partners – the husband ( most probably) starts looking for someone else? Or may be that someone else walks into his life and he realizes that this is what he wants .. If that is so then it is probably very unfair to the wife because, lets face it- the wife is also undergoing the same turmoil in the marriage. It is just that women are socially conditioned to respect the sanctity of the married relationship.
But let us look at this from the point of view of the “other woman”. She is actually not an opportunist. A victim of her need she finds herself in a situation where she is emotionally involved with a married man. So what does she do? She tries to demand more of his time and falls apart when he leaves her.
And men… well in the Indian context I would say they probably have the best of both worlds. They continue being married , enjoy the joys outside, keeping status quo. Some of them are forced to take the decision and make that choice between one of the two women. And I guess women who marry previously married men are probably more insecure in their married relationships because they have had a first hand experience of what this man is capable of! Complicated isn’t it?
As a wife I think an experience like dealing with the husband’s extra marital affair can completely ruin your self confidence. It might be easy to say that she should walk out but most women don’t because marriage and motherhood makes you most vulnerable. So we try to ignore it, forgive the guy or try for what is called a “fresh start” ! And the saddest part of all this is when it happens about a decade or so into one’s marriage. There used to be TV serial called “Saans” made by Nina Gupta who plays the mother of teenage kids whose husband starts having an affair with her friend. A woman who has never had a career, she finds herself suddenly having to think of life alone with the kids when she decides to walk out of the relationship.
I once had a domestic help who married a married man (a bit of a tongue twister). Ofcourse I thought that he had duped her by not reveling his married status but she told me that she married him out her own free will. And her husband like our former Chief Minister was quite happy to have a “manaivi” and “tunaivi”. He fathered four kids ( two each from each of these women) and lived what he considered a blissful married life (lives). I wondered why a sane girl would make a choice like this. My friend says that it is the fascination of having someone “belonging” to someone else suddenly notice you and prefer you to her. Gives her sense of power.. ! Guess in a country like ours these are the only few opportunities that women get to experience power..! But it is inexplicable when movie stars like Hema Malini settle for playing second fiddle..
Man they say is polygamous in nature.. I don’t believe it. I think it is just that our society makes it easy for men to get away with polygamy. So they indulge in it whenever possible. Women on the other hand have to face more social repercussions when they do something like this. So they tend to be more responsible in any relationship.
Whatever, whether it is men or women, three is definitely a crowd and such relationships are best left to movie scripts and romance novels. Trying them out in real life messes with everyone and complicating life..! It does not help either the Pati, Patni or the Woh