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Love in the time of despair
Juhi Dua |
August 10, 2005
Relationships can be challenging, exciting, fulfilling and blissful, but during natural calamities such as earthquakes and floods, they are tested and can either be strengthened or scarred.
The rains that led to intense waterlogging in Mumbai on July 26 scripted engaging stories of romance and disillusionment, negligence and concern, togetherness and separation, longing and realisation for many couples in the city.
Some grew closer, some felt uncared for and read indifference in their partner's behaviour.
Some couples realised they were in love. Here were some of the reactions:
We became closer
Nami, 28, a jewellery designer, says, "It was heart-stirring to see my husband come all the way from our home in town (south Mumbai) to the suburbs (north Mumbai) to pick me up. He got badly drenched and had to wade through high water to reach me. Eventually we got stuck in my office for the whole night but he kept saying it was much better to be stuck together anywhere than be separate and worry about each other. I feel our relationship has grown overnight."
Aakaash, 31, a management consultant from a leading bank who is in a live-in relationship, says, "My girlfriend and I left for home together in the evening and got stuck on the way. We walked all night and waded through chest deep water to reach home only to realise our house was flooded and almost everything we owned was damaged.
"Trying to put the house back in order again is quite an ordeal but knowing you have this someone really special dong it with you makes it less stressful. So much stress, so much trauma, we managed to handle it all only because we knew we have each other to depend on.
"We feel emotionally stronger and so much closer post this traumatic experience."
We grew apart
Radha, 29, an editor in a production house, has been going steady for three years; she has a different story to tell.
"I was stranded in my office for two days and all I got was a call each day to figure if I was okay. He was happily drinking and chilling with his friends at home. I am upset because I know he could have picked me up the next morning if he really wanted to. Just saying nice things on the phone and having a good time together is fine but if there is no concern and caring, I don't know if this relationship is worth the effort."
Anurag, 26, a journalist, experienced a similar unconcern. "The floods have made me realise my partner is really quite selfish and self-centred. I am very hurt with her insensitive attitude and wonder if I will ever be able to rebuild that bond again," he says.
Post-floods, a reality check
Before playing the blame game and getting hurt about your partner's seeming unconcern, be sure to get your facts right.
~ Did they try to reach you?
The intensity of floods was high and it was next to impossible to reach anyone anywhere. Phone networks were affected, so were all other sources of communication.
For all you know, your partner might have tried desperately to get in touch with you and not succeeded. Believe him/ her if they say they care.
~ Did they miscalculate the intensity of the calamity?
Not everyone realised the seriousness of the situation in Mumbai. It's only later, when the water-logging intensified in many parts of the city, that the intensity of Nature's fury and the ineptitude of Mumbai's municipal corporation came through.
Maybe your partner did not realise the gravity of the situation in time. Give him/ her the benefit of doubt. After all, it may be worth it.
~ Did they have other responsibilities?
Your partner's parents, siblings or other dear ones may have needed him/ her more than you did.
If so, be understanding and do not overreact to the situation.
Mending the fences
A relationship is a beautiful bond and quitting it because of any one incident might be foolish and amateur. Besides, many such incidents can be damage-controlled.
i. Instead of arguing, discuss feelings of hurt, expectations and points of conflict openly and do not argue
Give the other person a fair chance to defend his/ her case. Sometimes, what seems like indifference can have unavoidable causes. Sorting out 'stuff' can prove to be a lifesaver for your relationship.
ii. Be optimistic and open-minded about taking steps to revive your bond
Agreed, you have been hurt and disillusioned. But do remember the next stage is either erasing the hurt and getting rid of the disillusionment or leaving the relationship scarred forever. Choose wisely and maturely.
iii. Once you have talked it out, do not repeatedly taunt your partner about it
This will just refresh pain in your mind and irritate your partner.
iv. Doing things together can be a great way to get back to normalcy
If your/ your partner's house has suffered damage, put it back in shape together. Be patient and generous with your time together on this occasion.
v. Try alternative healing methods
They can prove very effective in the process of re-bonding and getting over anguish and hurt.
"Reiki, meditation, yoga and pranic healing are often seen with scepticism but can contribute significantly in erasing hurt and cementing relationships," says psychiatrist Mansi Sharma.
"Many marriages have been saved through these healing methods as they discard negative energies and instil love and optimism. Meditation and yoga are especially effective and are relatively easy to learn and practise.
"Couples can attend these workshops together and then continue practising at home. It helps them to heal and connect with each other at a more intense, intimate level."
vi. Take a vacation together to heal and rejuvenate
Make it a bonding trip where just the two of you get to spend time together and do things you like doing.
vii. Go over your vows together
Mean it when you say you love the person. Show it in your actions and you will be back to where you were sooner than you think.
Natural calamities call for inner and emotional strength. Support each other. Hold hands and walk through the troubled phase with perseverance and all will not be lost.
Remember that love is difficult to find so do not lose it at the hands of circumstantial hurt. Hang in there and give your partner another chance. Make 'heal and reconnect' your mantra; it works!