Dear Institution of Marriage,

I’ve been witness to your evolution for a long time now … at close quarters and not with much affection. I mean, ya, as a habit you’re ok. So is smoking. The latter kills you physically and the former kills your spirit. In my childhood, marriage was a sign of stability except when cold or hot wars raged. As i grew older and independent and learnt to think for myself, marriage was aspirational and yet something in the distant future … an invitation to surrender all that you were becoming. And then marriage itself. I always wonder why i did it? All my instincts rebelled against it.

Let me be clear. I played an equal and contributory role to this whole, roles and expectations and KRAs type arrangement, little realising that work relationships and personal relationships require a different grammar. I discovered that we wanted different things after marriage while all along i had romanticised that it would be just us on an island, wanting the exact same things, forever more. In time, the island got claustrophobic. We both stayed away at work for long hours. At home we devised ways to stay out of each other’s way. The walls began to cave in. And yet we continued in those ruins, breathing the unhealthy air and the death of affection and love. Each day and every minute was exaggerated and underscored with irritation and heaviness. We’d pretend with family and friends and the facade was so clever that i sometimes believed in the unreality of it all … till it came to sitting at the dining table at home with no words. Just the sound of the cutlery and the heavy silence.

It’s not meant to be like this. A relationship should exalt.

Finally, at the cost of being labeled failures, we moved apart and as with any habit … this cold turkey was also painful … but now the air feels clean and i take long, deep swallows of breath and … i smile.

with immense gratitude,

a traveller

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