Thursday, April 20, 2006

Having created this blog by accident (while posting a comment on another blog), I thought for a few days about what I should write. The blog name immediately suggests two very broad topics - dance and life. But they are just that - broad topics. So should I start with some subsets? Should I write about my childhood? Nah, too personal and maybe a bit boring too. Should I write about my passion for dance? Well, maybe...but that again is too large a topic. Then I thought I will take up a topic that's pretty current these days and one which has touched a lot of people in this 'brave new world.'

Extra-marital affairs or monogamy, whichever way you want to look at it. Having been at the receiving end of one such affair (yes, that's rather personal, but what the hell!), I had, at that time, heaped the most macabre of curses on the 'other woman'. But later, when I could dissociate myself from the emotional fallouts, I started looking at it objectively. It's probably unrealistic to expect two people to be forever faithful to each other, in every which way. Man(and in this I include both sexes), by nature, is not monogamous. Even before marriage, I think all of us go through a series of crushes, some of which turn into 'love' (I frankly don't know what this word means) and some just fizzle out. But it is possible to feel intensely attracted to several people over a span of few days, months, years - with some of these feelings overlapping each other. So what makes us think that after marriage, by some miraculous effect of law, society and a few holy words, this nature will change? I think every married person has been attracted to the 'other' - some deal with it while others opt to choose the other over the current partner.

Which brings me to the question - how common are these affairs? Or how easy, in terms of subduing your conscience, is it to get involved in something like this? If reports are to be believed, then Rituparno Ghosh's latest film on the topic, 'Dosar', suggests that all of Kolkata is indulging in extra marital affairs. Now, though I don't form opinions based on what this director has to say, I'm intrigued with such a claim. This would seem to suggest a total disintegration of the institution of marriage. Are we really moving towards Huxley's ‘brave new world’ where being monogamous invites ridicule?

I personally think it’s not easy to get involved in these affairs. People with a certain kind of upbringing, education and social conditioning cannot violate the sanctity of marriage on an impulse. Of course there are some people who are addictively polygamous. But would usual (and I avoid the word ‘normal’) people brought up to believe in the institution of marriage easily betray a person to whom they are emotionally, morally and socially bound? Or are we facing a situation where such affairs are accepted and they continue without the marriage breaking up on paper? There are many such instances where partners in a marriage have their own affairs but continue as a couple for various reasons – financial security, the fear of social stigma or for the sake of their children. Isn’t this as much of a disintegration of the institution as a clear break would be?

12 Comments:

At 1:33 AM, Blogger Mitul said...

There is a phrase in bengali, which translated roughly, would read: "Lack of time and guts made me a good soul." I think the same applies to most of us, when it comes to extramarital affairs.

Speaking for myself, I am so caught up all the time either mothering or writing storyboards that it's impossible for me to actually seek somebody else out. I don't have the time for an affair. I think most of my married colleagues/friends would agree with me there.

Why does one have an affair? To look for something that is missing from one's marriage, be it excitement or romance or approval. As such, it can happen anytime, anywhere. Theoretically, that is. Not so easy when one has to look after a kid as well as give one's best in office; when 24 hours seem too short a time to complete all your tasks; when sleep becomes a luxury and entertainment comprises flipping channels. In such a scenario, would you want to, willingly, shoulder the added responsibility of an affair and the headache of trying to hide it from your partner? Will it be worth so much trouble?

Then of course is the small matter of actually coming across someone you fancy having an affair with. Unless there's a colleague you have a soft spot for, there's very little chance of meeting somebody interesting. And office romances, though, according to the media, much in vogue these days, are not really the desirable way of going about things. For one, the whole world is sure to get a sniff of it sonner rather than later, the grapevine being as it is, and it is bound to affect your goodwill at work. Now, will that be worth it too?

Points to ponder, I feel.

 
At 2:05 AM, Blogger Mind over Matter said...

I don't think lack of time is a huge factor where such affairs are concerned. Nor do I think that all people indulge in polygamy because there is something missing in your marriage, though that may be the case most of the time.

I'm sure we don't live life according to a routine, where first period is dedicated to child, second to breakfast, third to travel, fourth to storyboard, fifth to travel and sixth to dinner and sleep! Office romances do happen and though the media hype is a little over the top, they are on the rise. And most of the time it's not that difficult to hide it from your spouse, since your spouse will always give you teh benefit of doubt till conclusive evidence is available.

But I do agree that finding someone to have an affair with is difficult - but again, it differs from person to person. Some people seem to have no problems finding multiple people to have affairs with!

 
At 5:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmmm

 
At 5:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it. Marriage is man-made and unnatural, denying basic human nature. Man is polygamous. Period. Most who remain faithful to their partners do so out of a lack of opportunity, not anything higher.
And Mitul, affairs just happen. Neither time nor choice have any say in the matter. And whoever said those in 'happy marriages' do not have affairs. Anybody with a sense of adventure will indulge. After all, it's just a fling. It's healthy. Try it.
As you would have guessed by now, IMHO, too much is made out of fidelity.

 
At 5:19 AM, Blogger Mitul said...

Am waiting for it to 'just happen'.

 
At 5:25 AM, Blogger Mitul said...

Also, Anon., I think you're making a case for being unfaithful here. Basic human nature might be to pee in public, but do we do it? No. There's something called civility which prevents us from scratching embarrassing areas, going around nude or peeing in public. Likewise, basic human nature (that you love so much) may dictate that we go for a romp in the hay with every available person around, but civility and decency and a certain something called loyalty hold us in check. Nothing to do with lacking a spirit of adventure, let me assure you. If you're so keen on adventure, why don't you go bungee-jumping, for pete's sake?

 
At 5:36 AM, Blogger Mind over Matter said...

Hey, we're getting rather worked up about this. I think there can be a lot of romance in falling for somebody who's 'attached', but that doesn't mean that you go all out and have 'romps in the hay' as Mitul puts it.

Let's face it. Have all our crushes been on single, unattached men?

 
At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mitul, would you really like your partner to stay loyal to you because of a sense of decency, civility or loyalty. I mean, for Pete's sake...
And if you must know, I HAVE been bungee-jumping. The blood rush to the head is terrifying, but unbeatable.

 
At 7:43 AM, Anonymous anushila said...

This is the theme of Leo Tolstoy's controversial short story, The Kreutzer Sonata. One must read it to understand why it was banned immediately after being published.

It is difficult to define the term love. As we know, it can be of four types—filial (the emotion we feel for family and friends), carnal (the love that exists between two people who extend the emotion to their bodies), maternal (love of a mother for her children) and spiritual (the love for some unknown force within ourselves that we term as God). So, how do we define the carnal form of love? Some would define it as a ‘match of souls,’ placing the mind over the body (How many among us are fully aware of our souls?). Others would term it as a ‘perfect blend of mind and body’ (What is the ‘perfect blend’?). The most popular modernistic approach is to define it as ‘a preference for a particular person above everyone else’ (A preference for how long?). However, what we all tend to forget is that human mind is intricate and quite unpredictable...and so is the human body….

What happens when two people (I am not saying opposite sexes because this problem exists across all types of sexual preferences) fall in love, or shall we say ‘start preferring each other’? They are often reacting to an attraction that is more physical than mental. But, try telling them that….anyway, thus the relationship begins. Both parties put on their best clothes and behaviour when they meet each other. Pre-marital intercourse is no longer a taboo for couples. But, in most of the cases, they have to do it on the sly because of societal pressures.

Not all couples make it to marriage. Break-ups are quite common when two people realize that despite the preference, their likes and dislikes do not match at all. And here is what USUALLY happens to those who make it to the marriage hall—two people from different upbringing start living under the same roof. Differences are bound to occur, and they start after the initial frenzy of love-making. There is a solution—to meet each other half way. But that’s not a very popular option among couples. Add to it the fact that suddenly their respective families assume huge proportions to them. This is the ‘my family-your family’ syndrome which strikes all couples, either directly or indirectly, immediately after marriage. If they can exclude their respective families from their mutual relationship (read if any one of them can actually convert to a different human being), well and good, else…

As the differences pile up, both parties start taking refuge in their respective careers— nothing like work to take their mind off personal problems. More time at work means less time with each other to sort out issues. They start spending the greater part of the day at office. This is where the chances of extra-marital affairs develop. People who are thrown together for 12 hours (or even more) every day, might develop some attachments and some of these can develop into something more than a mere crush…

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger Mind over Matter said...

This is for Anon...it's not clear what you are advocating. Are you saying that people are welcome to have flings while they remain married to their partners? How do you describe flings? And don't you think that it's a selfish choice, since in a marriage your actions affect a whole lot of other people and sometimes ruin their lives?

Or are you talking of secret flings which nobody knows of? Given that you manage to keep it secret, which in itself is a tough ask, your behaviour towards your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend is bound to change and such a change itself is enough to create a chasm in a relationship.

 
At 3:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wudn't call it xtra-marital. pre-marital and post-marital ;-).


and when we love someone who do we love?
dat person or our idea of dat person?

love.
vino 'd' crook

 
At 5:07 AM, Blogger Mitul said...

huh?

 

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