“Through the fish-eyed lens of tear stained eyes;
I can barely define the shape of this moment in time;
And far from flying high in clear blue skies;
I’m spiraling down to the hole in the ground where I hide.”
(The Final Cut, Pink Floyd)
Amidst my memories, love feels forgotten. It is not anyone’s fault in particular, but over the past three years our love has been tardily devoured by the mundane, yet pressing, everydayness of our lives. How, you ask? We once used to sing together, but now the only music I hear is the cutlery’s hollow refrain in the kitchen. The leftovers of our longing and desire are the hugs in the morning and the bills on the evening table. Even the sex is contextual. What used to be an à la carte struggle of passion is now merely a tired buffet served at a barely edible temperature. One helps oneself to satisfaction – however and whatever that might be. Love seems to have settled into a dusty groove on the bookshelf and there seems to be hardly any time for reading.
No, we were not always like this. We have had our moments and God there have been many. We met in college ten years back. She walked into the class. I looked at her. That was it. Well, you know, most of it. Those four years now seem like a distant time altogether – smothered in new found love we were. We did all that was cliché, but we enacted clichés to perfection. We even got to work in the same city. It was more than what we could have asked for at that point in time. Away from home and away from rules – it was us and it was perfect. We got married on the sixth anniversary of our relationship. Back then, love was much more than a concept for us. It was a practice – an intrinsic element of our everyday. Love existed in all its linguistic subtleties – we felt the noun, savored the verb, and embellished our actions with the adjective. It was us and it was perfect.
Nonetheless, life happened. The everyday slowly seeped into our marriage and love somehow outgrew its purpose. It is a cruel thing – the everyday. Month after month, we grew lonely in our togetherness. It is not as if we do not feel attached to each other or that we do not care. We are still together, spending time with each other and stuff like that. But this loneliness is different. Somehow I have started to feel that there is nothing more to it – you know – and that this is – in fact – it. And ‘it’ is scary. Knowing each other for so long, our relationship at some point lost its sense of discovery, of curiosity, and of surprise. We knew too much about each other. We have now reached a level at which we are our own astrologers – our own pundits. We forgot that love is not just a state of being but instead a journey to be traversed through time and space. Love, as ecology, needs to be nurtured and not merely manufactured. We only saw love as a means to an end – the marriage. “What next?” We never gave that a thought.
We failed to realize that love is not only an ingredient but also an outcome of a good relationship. A friend of mine once told me the difference between arranged and love marriages. She said that both kinds of marriages eventually lead to a zone of fatigue – a place where, to use the common phrase, one is too much ‘used to’ the other. The only difference, she said, is that arranged marriages give you a few extra years before you hit that spot. Sitting here, writing these words on this piece of paper – I can tell you she is right. Nonetheless, I want to believe that my marriage can be salvaged. Although a perpetual stagnancy might be unavoidable, I think one must strive to forever delay the inevitable. Just the thought of this possibility makes me want to believe – to believe that my disappointment is in fact only temporal in nature. I do not blame anyone but myself for my condition. The world says that it takes two people to sustain a relationship, but this is only half the truth. It also takes initiation to run a relationship – a will to break out of everyday routines – routines that threaten the discoverer inside each one of us.
It is funny how mankind is blind to routines. I am not using the word ‘blind’ in its literal sense. Of course, I am always aware that I am part of a routine and vice versa. Being educated, I not only seem to understand the logistics of life but also realize that I am losing out on few things because of the choices I make. We have all spent our ‘free’ weekends lamenting about the ‘confined’ weekdays, haven’t we? We acknowledge all of this and yet we are blind – how? How can we be entrapped by invisible chains when they are not really invisible? How – and more importantly – why? I have been thinking about this for some time now. My blindness seems to be a function of rationality, of justification, and of causality. I justify my actions by trying to prove their imminency through the causality of my everyday – this is only normal because it was bound to happen once that was done and that, of course, had to be done because it was the normal thing to do back then. Chains – they have a way of surprising you, don’t they?
We both have spent these four years of our marriage as a perfect couple. We have good jobs and we have a good social life. But in trying to be a good husband, I somehow forgot what it means to be a lover. When I had less time for her or when home operated as a synonym for sleeping – I never gave it a second thought. A well paid job was necessary to keep my wife happy – and a well paid job meant that I had to devote my time for it. Somewhere down the rabbit hole the line between happiness and work vanished. I feel disappointed in myself. Spending time was the only thing that used to make us happy and now that’s the only thing we do not have. Something has to change. I have to change.
It is late at night now and she has already gone to bed. Tomorrow is our ninth anniversary as well as our third marriage anniversary. Both of us always take a day off on this day, staying indoors and watching a movie or something. We also have a private dinner with our friends and family and I did book a table at The Crown two months in advance. She will be expecting this, of course. The only difference is – this time there will be no dinner at The Crown. There will be no staying home. This time it will be a big surprise for her. It will be France, it will be us, and it will be perfect.