SD - really want to thank you so much for the answers to my many questions. The time you took to write - what can I say - so much thought and wisdom for me to contemplate. I never ask you a question but that it doesn't get reframed in such a way that a.) I would not have thought of and b.) is incredibly insightful and instructive and thought-provoking for me. I feel very blessed in this so would like to thank you very much
This past week my head feels almost too full - it was just a relief to read your ideas that we are not necessarily going to solve these problems - it may be enough of a challenge for us to meet our everyday obligations to life and to dharm and see where the path may lead. Maybe if I can learn too to see this way I can let go of some of this sadness which seems to pop out from nowhere and seep its toxic way into my thoughts.
I felt sorry, too, to hear your husband was made so terribly anxious in India! But I recognised each and everything in your description. The mad traffic, the cacaphony, the riot of colour and people and grime and heat - definitely it is an environment that can disorganise even the most tranquil of minds. It seemed strange to me that things would operate so differently in NYC even though it is one of the world's great metropolises. I wonder, what are the cultural undercurrents which underpin these contrasts? Americans must surely be more law-abiding, I would think. And also - more guarded and respectful of personal space. That is just a guess, but it seems to fit the culture in the tiny way I understand it. Sometimes I think people from Delhi can take a misguided pride in the idea that their city runs on jungle law - that one must be almost Darwinianly selected to survive there - sharp of wit, red in tooth and claw. For people like me it is nothing but a sharp fingernail running straight up the naked spine.
Also, your comments made me remember a scene from an SRK starrer - Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi - where Surinder and Bobby are standing in the auto shop, lamenting over Bobby's motorcycle which Surinder had borrowed to ride as his cool alter ego, Raj. Bobby is furious not that the cycle is damaged, but that Suri had damaged his "macho" by letting bhabhi ride in front and go at high speeds while Suri sat behind holding her handbag. There follows a short discourse on "macho" wherein Bobby instructs Suri. He says that, just as with the bike, in the car, in the home, in life...the man's hand should be firmly upon the steering handle. Any imposition upon that arrangement by the female and a tight slap is in order. (It is clear from the plot that Suri would not hit Taani, but I was just remembering these particular dialogues.) So did your description of the stereotypical strong male remind me. In charge, overbearing, shoring up his sense of self by mocking, belittling and abusing.
My own marriage also began that way; my husband's father was very clear with him about how one had to treat a wife at first in order to establish the correct authority for life. But I think I was very lucky in that, after a few months like that, where I literally probably said ten words in total, my husband came under the cover with me one night and said "Bhakti...I don't really like bossing you around. I just feel cruel all the time. Do you think you will respect me if I just talk normally?" It is to his undying credit that he did not throw me out of the window because I burst out laughing so hard. I cannot even tell why, but, like a lot of things in life, the whole thing struck me so funny, absurd really. Here we were trying desperately like fools to uphold this social more that neither one of us understood even in the slightest. We were play acting. He looked completely shocked, but then he started to laugh, too. That was one of the times I have laughed the happiest in my life. I think, in a way, our actual marriage started only after that night.
I am glad you are able to be the strong support of your husband. Men must also learn to accept care - to give and be given are just pleats in the same cloth. he is lucky to have you!
Edited by bhakti2 - 24 December 2012 at 4:10pm