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 Blooming Stars

Life is a Predicament

            When I think of life as a predicament, I am reminded of a poster where a frog high in the air having its legs on two flimsy straws and trying to balance itself on them. Life is a perplexing or trying situation for those who are trying to live conscientiously. It is fragile and unpredictable. Anything can happen to anyone at any time. To cite two recent examples: two days ago at a police station I witnessed an event that was truly heart-renting. The 24-year old young woman in this case was brought up in a very orthodox, conservative religious family in a village in Kerala. She was educated with great expectations in nursing with a Bachelor of Science degree with money on loans. She was employed in a famous hospital in a major metropolitan city in the country. Last time the woman’s parents heard was just before Christmas from the woman’s supposed to be husband who said that he got married to their daughter in a registered civil marriage. The woman’s parents contacted me in utter despair and heart-broken state. I suggested that they file a missing person’s report as they did not hear from their daughter over three weeks, and as she did not come for Christmas holidays as planned earlier. Through my intervention a quick appointment was scheduled at the police station with the girl and her husband that she was living with near the home town of the girl unknown to the parents. The girl’s family had no use for the boy from a dalit (low caste) family and from a different religion, and who originally was from the same village.

            It was found out at the police station that the registered marriage took place over six months and the young woman now was on emergency leave from the hospital. The reason for the emergency leave she gave was serious sickness of her mother. The young man, now her husband, who appeared to be haughty and arrogant, and who had a condescending smirk on his face, stated that she was having a relationship with her since she was 14 years of age. (At that time he was 21 years of age). He would not even allow her parents to spend some time with her alone. The police were not helpful to say the least. They were unconcerned about the feelings of the parents The Indian Constitution that assured the right of a woman who attained majority to marry whomever she wished. Interestingly, the young woman had spent a month with her parents recuperating from her broken leg after about three months of her registered marriage. The parents did not have the slightest clue about her marriage during the entire six months of her registered marriage. The woman’s father had a brief episode of nervous breakdown while talking to his daughter. While a policeman suggested hospitalization, I called him down sufficiently so he could minimally function. He pleaded with her to go home with him. The daughter was not only unrepentant but outright defiant. The second example relates to a young man from the same locality as the young woman above. He was working hard overseas and was financing his wife’s beauty parlor near his native home. Recently he to his surprise and shock found out that his wife had eloped with another man with his financial investment.

            Times have changed. Things that are happening are not any more fantasies that are topics of story books and movies. The society and the religions are in deep slumber engaging in pompous celebrations and external appearances. They are not equipped to handle real issues and the fast changing times humanely and adequately. Laws validating human right are essential, and they need to guide us all for orderly, healthy, and non-violent living. I would have been the first one to bless the couple and help the woman’s parents to accept the inevitable given some chance and some time to work things out. The woman was not also given the opportunity to take responsibility for the life of lies she was living. The situation could have been redeemed if the woman were to be repentant, and said to the parents: “I am sorry I had to do what I did. At the moment I thought I had no other choice but to go through a registered marriage as I thought you would not allow me to marry the man I loved. Now what can we do to set things right so I can live the married life I chose as your loving daughter and you can be my loving and caring parents as you always have been, and I can also have loving relationship with my younger sisters?” I was waiting for that opportunity to work through deep betrayal of trust from the part of the woman and the rigid, unbending attitudes of her parents, to bring about forgiveness and reconciliation among all.

            Very unfortunately that did not happen. Now death of a relationship of over 24 years, beginning with her conception and birth till seeing her in a very unfortunate setting, between the woman and her parents occurred. A lot of grief and loss needs to be worked through. Can that relationship be resurrected? I hope so. Only time and proper healing can tell. The present societal structures, especially the police system, do not allow that. Even in that tragic situation I gave the couple my blessings. I would like to think that I left with them the possibility of a very small future opening. In fairness to the woman I must also say she may have panicked and did what she did in the context of a marriage proposal that was coming from the US from her cousin who is a physician there. Here while I talk about very superficially about life as a predicament, I want everyone to know that no one is immune to the above human situations I have witnessed and narrated. Only a spirituality based on a solid value system can save our society that is running frantically to acquire that almighty rupee or dollar by hook or by crook.


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