I was reading the secret wish list by Preeti Shenoy and it got me thinking about this heavy topic: can I really put fidelity and fairness in the same weighing scale and judge if I’ve been dealt a fair hand? Can I justify the unfair treatment meted to me by being infidel?
First a bit about the book: It is about a stay-at-home mother and wife (Dikhsha), smothered by wishes of her family and husband. She’s never been given a chance to understand her desires and wants and build a life for herself. And the day she gets a chance (or rather she wrestles it out of her humdrum life and her meek inner self), a dam kind of breaks out and her entire life metamorphoses in a matter of few weeks. She goes out on her own, takes a dance class, makes new friends and re-connects with an old friend and her ex-boyfriend from school.
Reading the atrocities she faced not just from her husband but her own parents, does make one sympathetic to her and one of part of me wants to vindicate her for the infidelity she committed. But there is a part of me that just cannot excuse going out of a marriage and having a full blown affair. No matter how unfair the situation. Granted, I have never been oppressed in my entire life, not by my parents or my husband or anyone. Despite my multiple, and sometimes repeated, mistakes, my family has always given me the right to choose and live as I want. However, I strongly believe that we live in a world where no relationships are exclusive, I cannot avenge myself of the wrongs my husband has committed, by going out with another guy because in doing so I am not just punishing him but his family and my children – i.e. the people who’ve welcomed me into their lives and loved me unconditionally and they do not deserve such a treatment. What is morally wrong is wrong. I feel I should end an abusive and unsatisfying relationship before I make a new beginning, that is the only fair thing to do with all the parties involved.
For me the definition of world is “the entangled web of relationships in my life that allows me to be happy, sad, and everything that I am and the relationships that have made me who I am today.” Now I take the same philosophy to the protagonist of the story, Diksha. She made a mistake of kissing a boy at the age of 16, which changed her entire life and relationships. She was oppressed from that moment onward and at the age of 35 when she realized how her life sucks, she just starts acting without thinking. In a way I can understand, if oppressed for 18 years, when your inner self unleashes herself, she changes every aspect of your life. However, I feel that the unfairness of her relationships with her husband and parents should not translate into infidelity, which will belatedly, but definitely and adversely, impact her child and sweet mother-in-law. I am sure she can explain to everyone her reasons for acting the way she did and over time they might understand her and forgive her but the hurt stays on.
Yes, she has a right to live her own life and make her own choices. Yes, I know, she’s been a doormat all her life and does not have the courage to stand up to her husband but that still does not give her the right to just go to her ex-bf’s hotel and resume the 18-year old relationship that they left midway. She needs to sit down, sort things in her head, take responsible actions rather than seek solace first and act later.
What kind of math is it: A, B and C have been unfair to me my whole life so the suppressed me takes it all out by being unfair to the innocent and unwitting participants in my life, D, E and F.
I have yet 40 more pages before I finish the book but the whole situation just made me pick up my laptop and write this out. If I review this piece a week later, I might find it too harsh and take it down but right now, I’m just thinking about how to deal with unfairness. How to deal with suppressed emotions, desires and wants? Doing what my heart wants and keeping me happy should be my ultimate aim (because if I’m happy then only I’ll able to keep the people in my life happy) but it should not come at the cost of other’s happiness in my life. I know I cannot keep everyone happy with whatever decisions I make, but that logic does not give me the right to act amorally and then exonerate myself thinking, “I’ve been dealt an unfair hand in life, and I am just righting the wrongs done to me.”
People who’ve read the book. Any thoughts?