Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Of Marriages and Infidelities

There is a slight rain today, a drizzle actually.  The remnants of the Thrui Bab (Blessed Rainy Day), my wife says.  I am sitting at the patio of my house, which is directly facing the great old gulmohar tree.  It amazes me to no end to see this great tree, standing strong and firm.
            Today a majestic looking hornbill couple has appeared from nowhere and they are sitting on the topmost branch, at the dome of the ‘big green umbrella’, of this great tree.  What lovely birds!  Elsewhere, they are an almost extinct species, it is reported. 
            Birds, they say, couple for life.  They remain faithful to each other throughout life.  There are stories of how one partner commits suicide if the other dies or gets killed.  I cannot vouch for its truthfulness, but if so, we humans have a lot to learn from these gentle creatures.
            Talking of hornbills, I am reminded of a story I heard sometimes back.  During the incubation of their egg, the mother sits on it while the father collects food and feeds her.  The mother and the egg duo are sealed inside a hollow trunk of a tree, leaving only a small loophole through which to feed the lady inside.  It is said that should the father see any other bird around the nest, on his return from food forages, it infuriates him so much that it seals the loophole permanently and leave the mother and the egg to starve to death.  I do not know how true the story is, but certainly the mother is paying with her life for supposedly infidelity, which we are not even sure of. 
            Infidelity is nothing new to human beings though how one views it depends upon the person whom you ask. 
            “It adds spice to life, dear”, says a friend who is quite popular in such activities and who is into his fourth marriage.  My God, how does he manage it! 
            “Variety is the word, man”, says another friend, who is less popular, but a “silent killer” as a common friend remarked, of him.
            Well, I don’t know what the other gender, the ladies, have to say about this.  Do they also boast, like the men do, about the number on their score boards?  I am yet to know.
Sit in a bar along with friends and ultimately the topic of discussion will turn to sex and you will hear a lot of stories of “conquests”, if at all they can be called so.  There are some men who, after a few drinks, will go on to tell the “gory” details of their promiscuity, leaving no room for imagination.  Nudge him a bit and he will flaunt his “spoils of victory” as if he has conquered the world!
Going by their stories, the mobile services and the internet, facebook and other social networking sites in particular, seem to be the culprits.  But then they are only the agents that affect and facilitate such activities.  It is the man behind the machine and of course, machines are invented by men.  They are meant to aid and make our lives easier.  The complex and innovative mind of a man is full of ideas, and all ideas are not necessarily constructive.  The Casanovas of the world got another means to pursue their favourite pastime.
The modus operandi is the same across the board.  A simple approach, as told to me by a friend, is, select a suitable target, get her mobile number (the sources can be anyone, from common friends to work place colleagues) and then approach the subject.  The most commonly used tactics seem to be to call the number and tell her that it’s your “lucky number”.  Most fall for it, they say.  A friend is said to have called the number and told her that he won a lottery with the same ticket number.  What ingenuity!  The other approach, which is much easier, is, send a friend request on facebook and then start off slowly.  It begins with a simple innocent chat.
When I say this, I say this from a man’s point of view.  I don’t know about the other gender.  It may be the same with them too, after all they are humans too, saang ma gaipey sem, (the unenlightened mind).  This is a common Bhutanese excuse for making mistakes, I suppose.
Obtaining a mobile number is also not that difficult a task either.  There are people; I know both ladies and gentlemen, who, very generously dole out their mobile numbers to anyone who bother to ask, as if they are building up a clientele for a not so holy profession.  With these people around, surely B-Mobile and TashiCell will not go out of business.
I am not saying that all these encounters lead to physical relationship, but what I am saying is that all most all such undesirable affairs are the result of such hardly enterprising pursuits.  It is not surprising that the divorce rate has increased many folds.  And why not, love and faith for each other is the binding force in a marriage, and infidelity nullifies both of them.  There is no use for a marriage to last and stand, when the very foundation on which it is built has crumbled.  But fortunately or unfortunately, many do survive.  The reasons vary; for some it is economic dependency while for others it is for the sake of their children.
            Then, what has happened to the vows, “till death do us part”, couples take at the commencement of their married life?  And we Buddhist, the Bhutanese Buddhists at least, take the vows with Lue, Ngag and Yeed (Body, Speech and Mind)!
Sometimes I like to question myself about what constitutes infidelity.  Which is the bigger sin, being unfaithful in deed or in thought?  People may differ, but personally I would rate them on the same scale if I am to do so.  Whatever actions we undertake are the result of ideas that initially germinate in one corner (I don’t know which corner) of our brain.  Like the maxim, there being no smoke without fire, if the thought did not occur there would be no action. 
Our thoughts shape our actions, which over a period of time becomes our habit, and a sort of addiction.  Old habits – I know it’s a cliché – die hard.  The result is a lot of broken hearts and broken families (with its inherent myriad of problems), not a hard thing to spot these days.  And we live in a country that is the champion and propagator of GNH! 
Disclaimer: -     The views expressed here are purely my personal.  This in no way is meant to offend anyone, I mean any gender.  It is not intended to portray one gender as the manipulator and the other as the victim.  If the article in any way depicts that, then it’s purely my inability to express myself.  It is not intended to be that way.  Neither am I attempting at moral policing through this.
3rd October, 2012

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