Monday, March 21, 2011


I remember that when I was a child I would often hear my parents and their friends discussing the ruling Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. This was after the Emergency in 1977 and they'd witnessed the atrocities of the era. They said, power can corrupt anyone. When it comes to power, gender is incidental.

Recently I have witnessed that closely in a completely different context.

In the last few years I have watched a few friends go through separations and divorces, some nasty, some not. But all these friends so far have been women. I've participated in the occasional (ex) husband bashing, name calling, offering support as needed and when possible, given the patient ear, cried with them, lent moral support etc

It is only recently that I have been witness to a power struggle between a couple where my friend is the "he".

In understanding his struggles I have come to understand a few things very very clearly:

1. Yes. Hell hath no fury like a woman. Period. She can be all-consuming in her vengeance and anger

2. There are no boundaries - no lines she can't cross, in words and actions. Decency and dignity become alien words.

3. Children are used as pawns to score brownie points over the spouse

4. Tears are also used as pawns. She can shed them at will, anywhere, anytime turning the spouse into the instant villain (yes, like the Maggi two minute noodles)

5. Unmentionable horror is implied to others about the spouse's behaviour/conduct/attitude etc.

6. She is, at all times, believable. She is the victim. She is the destitute (her gender works in her favour)

7. She can get away with it all because traditionally its the man who is the perpetrator of such heinousness.

If I replace the "she" with "he", I will be able to substitute many of my girlfriend's spouses in the list (I could negate points 4, 6 and 7 but that would be a bias).

My learning from this:

Relationships are like jigsaw puzzles. They may be many ways to play the game, but in the end, the result is the same - a complete picture.

Gender biases are in our heads. When two people fall out of love, there are no wrongs or rights, no blacks or whites, it is only upbringing and values that determine how each one reacts or restrains.

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