SAGA OF SAKHI & RITURAJ

 

Relationships are about discovering what’s possible in being human beyond the places where, unknowingly or knowingly, we might limit ourselves.

  • David Cunningham

 

This is a story that took place in the latter half of last century.

Sakhi is growing up to be a confident girl.  Her mother, a homemaker, uses part of her time of the day (mostly in the absence of her husband) to teach stitching and embroidery to her neighbours for a fee.  She is a proud woman, not wanting to ask more money from her already financially burdened husband.

With such a strong and independent idol of a woman in her mother, Sakhi grows up with a mind set in which, women need to be strong, independent and inspirational.  While she is developing into a youngster with these qualities, certain fundamental questions gnaw at her conscience.

“When my mother is doing her best to ease the financial burden of my father, why does not my father appreciate her efforts?  Why does he resent her earnings, no matter how meagre? “

“My father often tells people that he will bring up daughters to be as strong and confident as sons; why, then, does he fight with my mother, when she is earning money (the man’s prerogative) to ease his burden.”

Many times, Sakhi has voiced these questions out loud to her mother and her father.  Her mother would shut her up saying – that is how men are! And her father would shut her up saying – look what an impudent daughter I have raised! She dares question her parents’ behavior.

Eventually, Sakhi completes her studies and finds a job for herself.  Her first interview and she gets the job!  Reveling in her newly found independence, Sakhi is happy to be finally strong enough to break the stereotypical mold of a girl; proud to be financially independent to take care of her own needs and save something up; also basking in the glory of praises of her friends and relatives of what an inspiration she was to other girls.  Oddly enough, her father too is extremely proud of her strong, independent and ideal daughter! Sakhi wonders why her father gloats over her for the very same qualities he loathes in his wife. Questions, questions, questions…………..and so many questions; yet no answers that can satisfy Sakhi.

When she was engaged to Rituraj, she makes it clear to him, that Sakhi, after marriage would not pursue a career, out of the home but would supplement his income by doing something from home.  Rituraj, not very serious about the future, agrees.

Sakhi puts across this request to Rituraj, because she knows, she can either run the home perfectly or pursue a career.  She cannot manage both.  If she does, one of them would end up disastrous!

FAST FORWARD 15 YEARS!

Sakhi, now is married and a mother of a 7 year old daughter.

Like every middle class woman, struggling to make ends meets in Mumbai, Sakhi works as a Secretary to the top boss in a growing private company.  Her attempts to supplementing income from home and being a homemaker for the rest of the time were dashed to the ground.  4 years after she wed Rituraj, he insisted on her going out to pursue a proper career, partly because she did not get along well with is parents and partly because a little extra income in the household kitty would not hurt.  Much to her chagrin, against her own will, she qualified herself with secretarial skills and started to work in the office.

Ever since the day, she had begun to work, her in-laws made her feel guilty about her leaving the child at a day care center for children, guilty about her not being at home during the days and help her ageing in laws; guilty about her not getting completely involved in household matters; guilty about not being a good daughter in law of the household.

On the other hand, her husband would not hear about her giving up her job and fulfilling those matters which were important to his parents.  He, on his part, spared no effort to make her feel guilty for not pursuing a career to ecure their future.

The son was not willing to confront his parents, neither the parents willing to confront the son in this matter.  It worked for everybody in the house as, Sakhi torn between the two interests worked late into the night doing the utmost, which could be done to satisfy her in-laws and wake up early in the morning to face the day. She related to her responsibilities as a burden forced upon her.  She was completely caught in the grind; not a moment for herself; not a moment for her parents nor the satisfaction of a fulfilling relationship with her husband nor with her in-laws.

Years of being resigned to this fate resulted in a complete relationship breakdown between Sakhi and her in-laws who blamed her for not being a good daughter in law; and between Sakhi and Rituraj, who blamed her for the lack of peace at home.

Rituraj, who considered his parents words to be the Gospel, was let down by Sakhi when she failed to match up to the expectations of his parents.  This attitude did nothing to keep the relationship together and it drove them far apart.  They were a couple, more resigned to fate and indulging in blame game and defending game, rather than a couple making efforts to get the marriage working.  Hatred permeated the atmosphere at home.

At one point, Sakhi and Rituraj would have been relieved to be free of each other, but stuck on the fractured relationship, for the sake of their daughter.

FAST FORWARD, ANOTHER 13 YEARS!

Sakhi was done with play acting and living a life for others!  She had to find herself, a purpose to her life and enrich her lie which till then was wasted!  She wanted to muster up enough courage to walk out on the farce of marriage!  The last thing, she wanted in her life, now was the marriage.  She hated her husband and loathed the thought of spending the rest of her life with him.

At crossroads in life and also at her career, she vowed to transform her life, whatever it took her.  She enrolled for a Life Transformation Program and immersed herself, completely in the Program.  The curriculum was extremely demanding on her and she had to, at every step confront her ego, let go of it, adopt a new attitude, and stick to the newly acquired shift.  Working, in the curriculum, she emerged as a caterpillar who braves the pain of squeezing itself out of the cocoon and emerges into a beautiful butterfly!

She realized that all the time, which she was trying to fix things and people around her, she never thought that she and only she was responsible for the misery in her life.  The first challenge she takes up to transform in her life was her relationship with her husband.  Not quite sure, if she could, she, nevertheless, took it up.

Today, after almost three and half decades of marriage disaster, she has the best relationship of her life is that of her relationship, with her husband

I started writing this article with the quote that I, once again, reproduce below:

Relationships are about discovering what’s possible in being human beyond the places where, unknowingly or knowingly, we might limit ourselves. 

There is MAGIC  in this quote!

The relationship that Sakhi had with her husband, much to her surprise, was not that of hatred, but that of a deep rooted commitment she had to their marriage.  What Sakhi thought was never possible, that is, reconciliation with her husband, was the limitation that she knowingly and unknowingly put on herself! That LIMITATION drove her away from her own capabilities and her own strength.

She lost touch with her humanity during the years she spent struggling to make her life work! Any relationship thrives only when it is touched by the magic called HUMANITY, ACCEPTANCE and FORGIVENESS!

Her renewed relationship with her husband was about discovering her humanity, beyond her circumstances and the limitations to release it into the ocean of the life of happiness and fulfillment lying beyond the mist of her self-pity and ego!

Like Sakhi, a lot of us are so resigned and so resentful of circumstances and people, that it blinds us to our own goodness, our own strength, our own greatness and we begin to falsely believe that we are not capable of going beyond the limit that we have put on ourselves.

If we, like Sakhi, are willing to put ourselves at stake, our long held beliefs, our righteousness, our strong sense of right and wrong behind us and are willing to relearn the new approach of playing the game of life, of getting back in touch with our HUMANITY, GENEROSITY AND FORGIVENESS we will be ready to welcome happiness and fulfillment in our lives!