In the Sheena Bora murder case that has riveted the country, “love”, rather the tenets of marital love, have come under intense scrutiny. Some TV news anchors have spent a whole hour rolling their eyes in bristling and contemptuous disbelief that a husband genuinely might not know his wife has been involved in a crime. Yet, in the very same case, a fringe character’s current wife apparently knew nothing of his past; that he had two adult children.
Another disconcerting example of the huge gap between one’s projected life, and reality.
Irrespective of what the truth is in this particular instance, this is an intriguing supposition that spouses freely, honestly and unequivocally share every single detail of their lives with each other. It sounds like a nauseatingly claustrophobic way to live, like a cringe-worthy Oprah Winfrey show where participants bare their souls on national TV, in excruciating detail. The Western ideal of marriage is the determined belief that an interior life must cease to exist once one enters the happy state of marital bliss. This only-the-truth-or-nothing-at-all attitude is quite possibly a reason for high divorce rates abroad.
Indians are more practical. To be happily married requires maturity which really means acceptance and knowing when to back off. The proverbial— look the other way or let fall between the cracks. The wisdom of silence. These idioms are still in use for a reason. Willful ignorance is a natural human survival skill but there is a safety limit (that doesn’t include murder). In daily living, if we were to try and address everything that infuriates us, there would be no time to do anything else.
Can anyone really claim to know what’s going on in anyone’s head simply because you happen to be living with them? We may think we do based on a shared history and our own inherent need to maintain an illusion of normalcy. There are countless examples of people exposed for the tragic contradictions within themselves.
A couple of the December 16 rapists went home and watched a movie on TV after the incident. Bernie Madoff spent millions on charities while running the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Ancient Vedic texts describe humans as enveloped in five layers, visualised like the peeling of an onion. The layers cover intellect, personality and behaviour, a gang of internal foes co-existing, or sometimes at war. These dimensions are fluid, a cautionary tale of what could tempt and entice, against which we must defend ourselves.