Too close for comfort

| NISHA JAMVWAL
Published Jun 10, 2015, 4:12 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 10:36 pm IST
In an age where space is a need, where do we draw the line and not push people away?
Still from Knocked Up
 Still from Knocked Up

A love story that culminates in marriage is a beautiful thing. But some love stories, the kind that society touts as “made in heaven”, often make me sceptical. There was once this couple who were a much-discussed social affair. Their being a match made in heaven was surely, I thought, an exaggeration. When I attended a do in this pair’s presence, I saw that the husband was suave, handsome and intellectual, while the wife was beautiful, stylish and affable. My scepticism was swept away by their charm and the husband’s attentive courtesies when he spoke to me.

A year or so later, at another gathering, I received from the same man a mere cursory greeting, as though he barely knew me, despite us having spent delightful time over conversations before. Though the wife somewhat assuaged matters with her friendly greeting, I was decidedly offended. This was a sign that the cracks in the “ideal” match were now beginning to show. I was later told by a friend that the wife was always hovering over her spouse whenever he spoke to an attractive lady. “She’s a hover-craft wife in overdrive,” my friend had said and predicted that the marriage wouldn’t last long. The wife’s problem was not simply jealousy, she wanted in(trusion) on everything concerning the husband — work, business, family, friends and acquaintances. As predicted, he left her soon enough.

 

This is an age where space is an emotional need. But what does it constitute exactly? And why is it now such a basic need like food or clothing? Lovers, spouses, siblings, parents... no one wants to be encroached upon in the slightest, and physical space is only one side of the coin. Kangana Ranaut ran away from home because she felt oppressed by the expectations of her parents for her to study medicine. She was 16 or 17-years-old when she broke free, and it is safe to say that she was one of the lucky ones. Eight out of ten cases might have culminated otherwise and wasted away their precious make-or-break years with irreparable losses.

 

The Dalai Lama says that all sentient beings are connected. It follows, then, that I cannot cry for space to the extent that I push away valuable relationships. I  need to remind myself that my over-emphasis on space may be a tangible encroachment on someone’s rightful place in my life.

As I see it, space is not about secrecy or even privacy. It is about the freedom to think for oneself, something that has been inculcated in our generation since we were children. We all want the right to think and the freedom to express and choose. It is important that I am able to be who I am without someone at my shoulder telling me who to be. Of course, all extreme stances have their own serious downsides, so enlightened modifications are needed to every call for space too. After all, what is the edge where one should stop for human and humane coexistence? That is food for thought, for another time.

The author is a luxury consultant. Mail her at nishajamvwal@gmail.com

 

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