Falling in love should be a slow-motion somersault through fresh air, a happy kind of moment, when not only does all the world love a lover but the lover loves all the world. But if newspaper headlines are to be believed, coldblooded murders are the unhappy ending of some love stories.
Here come the bride and the bridegroom and here come the other man and the other woman; it would seem most relationships aspire to be a triangle. That when two people meet, the third person is just around the corner. This other party then demands to be the only party, hence the blood all over the place.
Christopher Watts in Colorado just got a life sentence in prison because he brutally eliminated his pregnant wife and two young daughters, aged three and four, so he could start over with a woman he had just met. It was when his wife returned from a long work trip that he decided to do away with her. He smothered them one by one with a pillow, then carried their bodies out like so much garbage and dumped them in oil tanks. All for a fresh start with a new woman.
Closer home, in Gurugram, residents are still in shock over the husband who threw his wife off a balcony. Mrs Vikram Singh Chauhan was perhaps just being wifely when she shook her head and held on to her marriage vows despite husband’s repeated demand that she leave him. Hence the balcony act. The girlfriend Shefali, also pregnant, had no qualms either. She is supposed to have said, ‘Throw her (your wife) from the balcony.’ Which he did. Both women – the wife and the girlfriend – have small children.
These stories raise one pertinent question: hasn’t anyone heard of the word ‘divorce’? This is not some long-ago ‘once upon a time’ era in a history textbook, this is here and now, in the 21
st century. Why kill when one can walk away?
Of course, these men are monsters, no question about that, but what about the woman who refuses to take a hint or even a full-fledged demand for divorce? Why cling to the ‘happily ever after’ dream, why still go on ‘loving’ when your husband/wife is saying it is over for them? Obviously, you do not know your spouse enough; you do not know they can kill. The women end up paying for their ‘love’ with their life.
If a husband wants out, just give him out. If he has gone and fallen in love with a neighbour, a stranger, a colleague, a man, anyone, just laugh happily for him and declare, ‘what a coincidence about you asking for a separation just when I was going to ask you for one!’ Just say ‘congrats’ and vamoose. Move on faster than he has moved on.
Please don’t start with protestations of love or babble about eternal bonds. Don’t invoke that part about ‘till death do us part’ because then death for one of you becomes the only option.
Better to divorce than to die. By nodding and signing on the dotted line you get to live. Life you cannot get out alive from, but marriages you must.
Shinie Antony is a writer and editor based in Bangalore. Her books include The Girl Who Couldn't Love, Barefoot and Pregnant, Planet Polygamous, and the anthologies Why We Don’t Talk, An Unsuitable Woman, Boo. Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Asia Prize for her story A Dog’s Death in 2003, she is co-founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival and director of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival.