Sometimes you are the better half, and then you are the whole pie, and then you feel like you are missing THE better half, but the missing is all-sweet, nothing sad or bitter about any of it, and parting/meeting is a bit like waves rushing to the shore, then pulling away. We meet in silence and we meet in celebration, we inch ever so close, even closer… and yet we are universes apart. Love is never complete because there are two halves to the pie. And yet it feels that I am the dreamer who dreamed him up. And he is pure camphor, leaving no traces behind. And it is I who dreamed him up, swallowed him whole, and all his traces are in me alone.
He was a tall man, a little portly around the middle. His eyes were deep blue marbles that shone bright, not cold or hard. He had a nicely shaped head, the hair gathering gray near the temples. His face had the ruddy sheen of a healthy man, warm-blooded and passionate. When he laughed, his eyes crinkled shut, mouth open. His face was transformed, its contained expression morphing into one of simple joy, open and uninhibited.
Then he started, “My husband says…”
And my heart plain burst with the unexpected sweetness of it all.
(How wonderful it is to hear “my husband” and “my wife” in all kinds of hitherto unknown contexts.)
Since I have been married for a good long eight years, I suppose I am qualified to dispense advice on this topic. Jokes apart, here is a good reason why marriage makes sense.
As one becomes more spiritual-minded, the first thing to vanish is the notion of external security. It does not take long to realize that there is no such thing. Life is unpredictable, and basing happiness and peace of mind on size of bank accounts, inheritances, stock options, etc. is pointless. Even health is a phenomenon. You could do all the right things – eat local and organic, buy fresh produce, manage all Doshas and imbalances – and fall sick. You cannot even take pride or courage in the fact that you have a healthy constitution. So what if you enjoy good health? It does not take much for that to fly out of the window either. (I am not advocating that you neglect your health. Everyone knows that I am all about local and seasonal produce, Ayurvedic remedies and awareness in consumption. You get my point, don't you?)
It sinks in, sooner than later, that the biggest source of comfort and strength lies within. Call it whatever name you wish – God, Self, self, Nature. It is ever present, will not leave you when times are bad (even if you wish it would go away) and can be a great friend and ally through out your life.
Then why get married? If all that wonderful companionship, support, encouragement and love comes from within, then why forge a new relationship? Not to mention one that comes with all sorts of expectations of unsaid understanding, deep love, commitment – what's the charm in it? Sure, there's that thing about a physical relationship, the joy of sharing one's self inside and out with another individual, a sense of oneness with another being. But if you are fixated with that, be sure that it'll vanish pretty soon. (Side idea – getting fixated with people and events leaves you stuck and then all joy and fun vanishes too.)
How about getting married for purely practical reasons?
Marriage gave me a person who drove me around when I had no license, handed me jars from shelves too high, opened bottle caps that were screwed on too tight, and made tea when I was tired. I found someone who had no qualms in emptying the dishwasher or cleaning the toilet or giving me an opinion on houseplants. In turn, I got an opportunity to hone my cooking-for-two-or-more skills. I learned that there was a smidgen of the maternal instinct within that helped me tend to a sick partner. I found my inner semi-domestic goddess and more-than-enthusiastic baker.
Sure I could have gained all these skills with any other relationship as well but it was fun discovering them with my best friend. The love, laughter and companionship doesn't hurt either.
By the time they reached home, it had stopped raining. The sky was an unnaturally bright blue, the air heavy and hot. They got to work instantly. She got out the ironing board and started ironing his clothes. He pulled out his suitcases from the closet. They were musty from an 8-month long sabbatical. All his travel clothes were soon stacked up in little piles all around the room. He picked a set, discarded another, fussed over a third. Matching shoes, socks, handkerchiefs, underwear… the works. She ironed a couple of shirts, a few pairs of trousers and a pair of cotton shorts and packed it for him. The two pairs of shoes didn’t fit in the suitcase until she advised him to wear one of the pairs instead of packing it. All the items finally fit in and the suitcase was locked. He showered and changed. She reminded him to pack his belts and ear-buds. Soon after, he gave a final survey to his luggage, kissed her good-bye and drove away.
She looked around the dirty apartment and sighed in dismay. The sink was full of greasy dishes, there were dirty clothes strewn all around along with the freshly washed ones, the carpet was a display of brown shoe-prints. She soon got to work, picking this, cleaning that… She folded all the washed clothes neatly and placed them in the cupboard. Picking up the dirty clothes, she filled them into the laundry bags. The dishes were piled into the dishwasher. She got the vacuum cleaner out and ran it all over the tiny apartment. Her knees were killing her but she couldn’t find the courage to stop, take a breather.
After an hour of scrubbing, washing and cleaning, she finally straightened her aching back and looked around. There was nothing remaining to be done. She went into the bathroom and took a quick shower. The clock struck 9:00 pm. She turned the TV on. She surfed listlessly but found nothing interesting. Well, I have to sleep, she tiredly thought. She turned the light off the instant she entered the room so that she wouldn’t have to see the empty bed. Quietly she crept into the once-warm bed and pulled the comforter over her head. The instant her fingers touched the empty pillow next to hers, her reserve broke. She sobbed uncontrollably, like a child.
[A dramatised and *dressed-up* piece of fiction….The essential disclaimer]