Monday, March 26, 2012

The Small Trick

Time- 9:30 AM Monday 26th July 2011
Place –Recon Service Ltd, Uday Park, New Delhi.
‘Chocolates from Singapore at my desk’ a new mail popped up in Urmila’s inbox. She took a deep breath and started zombie-walking towards Anita’s desk. For a moment she felt a sense of jealousy. Anita and Mukesh are married for 10 years now, have a kid and still they manage to take time for such holidays. Whereas Urmila and Ajay haven’t went out for holidays since their honeymoon 6 year back. The only place they go is either Ajay’s home town or Urmila’s home town. Urmila reaches Anita’s desk and says usual ‘Hi-Hello’ before diving into the pile of chocolates. Picks 2 dark chocolates, 2 milk chocolates; that are the ones she likes most. Then she sees butterscotch chocolates and thinks of picking them for Ajay but then drops the idea. Why should she care for him? He never brings anything for her.
Urmila turns towards Anita and casually asks to share the photographs, out of courtesy. Although she herself doesn’t want to see the photos because it will remind her that something is missing in her own life.
“Yes sure I will share once Mukesh transfers them to his laptop” says Anita. “Hey want to come for coffee”?
“Umm okay” says Urmila, still lost in the misery of her life.
They spent good 15 minutes while sipping coffee, discussing how amazing was Anita’s Singapore trip. The more Anita narrated about the trip, the more Urmila hated her own life. By the time they finished coffee, it was lunch time already. They decided to meet for lunch after checking their mails.
The topic during lunch wasn’t different either. Finally Urmila broke down. She started sobbing and then got conscious of the surroundings then she controlled herself. But her face said everything. Anita put her hand on Urmila’s shoulder and asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” “No thanks, I am fine” Urmila lied. After a minute of silence she got up saying, she is not in right mood and left the lunch table.
Anita asked Urmila to come over home for chat. Being old friend Anita knew that something is wrong with Urmila and she is not comfortable talking about it in workplace. Urmila accepted the offer. They left office early that day and reached Anita’s home by 5:30. Anita prepared tea and they started chatting. It didn’t take long for Urmila to reach at the point she wanted to talk.
“The problem is that he doesn’t listen, and because of that he doesn’t understand either. In fact he doesn’t care to sort out any mess that’s happening between us. For example last Friday we decided that we will go to Bank in the evening after office. There are things pending to be done for long time. We have to open FD’s so that we can save more and more for our future. It was all decided, but in the evening at 6, he calls me and says he has some work and can’t leave office without finishing it. Now tell me, will the bank wait for him to finish his work till midnight? If he could have just spared 15 minutes and visited the bank, this whole issue would not have arisen” said Urmila.
“And these days he pretends as if he is the busiest person in the world. Finally I end up doing all house chores. Don’t I get tired? I too want some rest when I come home in the evening. As soon as we reach home he straightaway starts working. When I finish cooking and everything, then he comes to the kitchen offering for help. That kills me. First he pretends he is busy, then he pretends that he want to help. If he doesn’t want to help, then why he does the drama of offering help?”
Anita knew that Urmila will go on and on if allowed to do. As clock ticked past 6:30, Anita tried to break the momentum.
Anita: I am not the right person to judge but if situation is that bad, I would really suggest you both to see a marriage counselor.
Urmila: Huh, as if it helps. Institution of Marriage is a business ecosystem in itself these days. First they make money while matchmaking, then one needs to spend fortune on marriage shopping, makeup etc; and then at marriage there are agencies ready to extract money in the name of event management. It doesn’t stop there. After marriage, couples are emotionally fooled to shell out bombs in the name of honeymoon. If you see, at every step they pretend to be helping you but actually they are making money from you. Now see the irony, if marriage doesn’t work, you go to marriage counselor (spend time and money on them). If that too doesn’t work then someone will surely recommend you a divorce lawyer. You see, from matchmaking to divorce you end up paying everybody thinking you are finally going to get happy, but neither you get happiness nor the money.
Anita didn’t know how to stop Urmila’s train of thoughts. Urmila was in full flow today. Anita gathered the courage again and said, “Urmila listen to me at least. Give it a thought. Think over it calmly. Talk to Ajay about it, see if he agrees.”
Urmila: “Are you kidding me? If I ask him to come, Ajay will never come.”
Before Urmila could start again, Anita pressed the point “Give it a try, it is worth. What’s the point of living under a roof like enemies? I can see that the confusion is grown so much that neither of you trust each other. You must listen to a third neutral person to sort things out. You guys can’t drag the situation for whole life. If you guys are not compatible then accept it and move on, but for god’s sake do something. Don’t just sit like that, hoping for some miracle that will suddenly make things good for you. It’s your life, take control of it.” Urmila was stunned after listening all this. It felt as if somebody had suddenly put a mirror in front of her. She became quite. She couldn’t think of any reply. Anita seized the opportunity and wrote the address and phone number of Dr. Mehta’s office and gave it to Urmila. Urmila put it in her purse and left for home.
After reaching home, Urmila threw herself on the bed and tried hard to hold down the tears. She failed. Anita was harsh on her but she was telling the truth. Sometimes truth can be too bitter to swallow. She composed herself and started preparing for dinner. When Ajay came home he immediately sensed the vibes. He calmly went near her and thought of starting a conversation. It felt very awkward to him as what to say. Ajay is not great with the words. So he took a safe approach. “So how was your day?” asked Ajay. No response. He knew that he had to break this silence. The quiet and calm home was a big sign that some disturbance is brewing. “Mom called today” he gave another try to start the dialogue. This time he was successful in getting a glare. The angry glare felt better than silence of ignorance. “So what should I do?” asked Urmila. “Nothing, just telling you” replied Ajay. “Did I ask?” asked Urmila. Silence followed. Ajay decided to open the laptop and check his mails. He thought that he had tried what he could to make things normal, and he could not help much until Urmila comes out of such hostile mood. On the other hand Urmila was thinking “He does everything for formality. Why he did not try to talk further. He did just enough to ensure that one can’t blame him for not doing anything. He never really intended to talk.”
Urmila came to the bedroom and got angry when she saw that Ajay was busy on Facebook. “So you don’t have time to talk to me but you have ample time to spend on Facebook.” Ajay was speechless for a moment then he tried to answer “What are you saying? I don’t have time? I asked you twice.” “You could have asked third time also” replied Urmila. Ajay always fail to comprehend this logic. What is the point in asking 3rd time if somebody doesn’t respond first 2 times? “This is going to be a long night” thought Ajay. When Urmila had come to home today, she thought she will talk to Ajay, but she didn’t realize when things got out of control and another long argument looked a certainty. They kept arguing over unimportant issues and made a mess of the evening.
Next morning both got up with the shrill sound of morning alarm. Their eyes were puffy. Both felt sorry for yesterday night’s behavior. Urmila asked, “Ajay, do you Love me”. Ajay was not sure what to respond. It’s been long since he hasn’t listened to his heart. He was too honest to lie and at the same time too nice to say the truth. He tried to divert the discussion. “Why are you asking this suddenly?” Urmila sensed the discomfort in Ajay’s voice. She got her answer. She then said, “I think we need to talk to somebody to get the things sorted out.” Ajay was releived to know that Urmila had not yet given up the hope about the relationship. Both of them wanted to give it another try. Ajay agreed happily. Urmila couldn’t believe this. Whole night she was thinking that Ajay’s ego will stop him from following her advice, especially if the matter is as sensitive as this one. She knew it’s very difficult to convince people that they need help. First step towards solving a problem is accepting that there is a problem. That’s where status quo remains maintained in marriages. People don’t accept that their relationship is having trouble. And if they accept it, they do not agree to take the blame or even share it with the partner. Now that Ajay has agreed to meet the marriage counselor, half of the problem is gone. She felt very relieved and told Ajay that she will take an appointment and tell him when and where to come.
Time- 6:30 PM Monday 02nd Aug 2011
Place – Dr. Mehta’s office, South Extn-II, New Delhi.
Ajay had picked Urmila from her office and they reached Dr. Mehta’s clinic in time. Assistant called them in when their turn arrived.
Dr Mehta: Welcome Mr and Mrs Ajay. I must appreciate both of you for mutually agreeing to seek out help. In most of the cases I have seen that if husband suggests the counseling, wife shots it down, and if wife initiates the talk, husband rejects the idea. Their ego supersedes their love, which is not the case here. It’s evident that things are not that bad between you. You two have some basic understanding, some desire to be with each other. And that is one thing that makes my job easy. Believe me I can see in your body languages that the fire is not lost yet. All you need is to understand each other more. If you really want to make it work, I would suggest few ground rules that both of you would follow in coming 1 month. So may I know if both of you are OK?
Ajay: Thanks Doctor. We really want it to work. We will follow your rules like Bible.
Urmila: Doctor, I can ensure honesty from my side. I hope Ajay also maintains his side of honesty.
Dr. Mehta: (Smiling at Urmila’s reply) ‘Trust each other’. That is the first rule I want both of you to follow. The other rule is ‘Never breach each other’s trust’. If second rule is religiously followed, rule#1 will be a cake walk.
This statement made a lot of sense to both of them. They thanked doctor and left for home. This appointment was followed by 15 more sessions over next 6 months and at the end of it Ajay and Urmila were on friendlier terms, a stark difference from the scenario 6 months back, when they could not even see eye to eye. The foundation of their marriage was re-laid and this time they both trusted each other to make it stronger.
Time- 6:30 PM Monday 8th July 2011
Place – Dr. Mehta’s office, South Extn-II, New Delhi.
Dr. Mehta is noted marriage counselor and psychotherapist in NCR region. In the age of fast paced life, where institution of marriage is losing its meaning, Dr. Mehta’s counseling sessions have helped hundreds of couples rebuild their relationship.
Ajay is waiting for his turn outside the office, while Dr. Mehta is busy with another client.
Mrs. Kulkarni, these days people are so impatient that they want the solution of all their problems in a minute. They don’t realize that some things take time. No matter what you do, a tree cannot grow in a month. It will take its own time. If you over feed it with water or fertilizer, it will only get worse.
Thanks Dr. Mehta. I hope your words come good; else I have lost all the hopes. I am running out of patience.
Take it easy Mrs. Kulkarni, give him some time. Things will be fine.
Assistant calls for Ajay’s name. Ajay takes a deep breath and enters the room. Dr. Mehta welcomes him with smile and asks him to sit. Ajay sits on the chair uncomfortably. He clearly is not mentally present here. His mind is still trying too hard to solve some personal problems that are chasing him since few days.
“Hello Mr. Ajay” said Dr. Mehta.
“Good evening sir”
“So… how are you doing? Would you like to have some tea/coffee or cold drink?”
“No Thanks, I am good”
“OK… I can see that you are everything except being good” smiles Dr. Mehta. “Anyway, tell me what is bugging you”
So Ajay starts telling him everything that happened between him and Urmila from the time they got married (6 years back). Dr. Mehta listened patiently occasionally complimenting the talk with usual ‘Hmm…’, ‘I See’, ‘Well’. He was careful not to put too many interruptions that could derail Ajay’s chain of thoughts. He also made sure to make enough sounds so that Ajay is assured that he is being listened. After about an hour Ajay raises his eyes and sees Dr. Mehta in deep thought. It was the ego clash that was killing this relationship. If one says the glass is half-full, the other would correct it by calling it half-empty, just for the sake of it.
“So what do you suggest Dr. Mehta? Would you help us as a psychotherapist or a marriage counselor?”
“That I would decide after I have meet both of you. If both of you are willing to make it work, then there is hardly any need for counseling. In that case I would wear the hat of psychotherapist to help both of you see each other’s perspective. But the first problem is to convince her to come here for counseling. It’s very difficult to convince people that they need help. First step towards solving a problem is accepting that there is a problem. That’s where status quo remains maintained in marriages. People don’t accept that their relationship is having trouble. And if they accept it, they do not agree to take the blame or even share it with the partner. If she agrees to meet the marriage counselor, half of the problem is solved”.
“So how should I ask her to see a marriage counselor?” asked Ajay.
“If she thinks that there is problem with you, will she accompany you to my office for your treatment?”
“Yes… I am sure she will. In fact she thinks that I have some psychological problem which is responsible for all hell that is taking place between us”.
“Great. Now surely you cannot be the one suggesting her to visit me. Is there a relative or friend of her that you can take help from?” asked Dr. Mehta.
“Umm… let me think.” said Ajay. Suddenly he thought about Anita, Ajay and Urmila’s batch mate from college days. She works in the same office as Urmila.
“Anita can help, she should be the one. Yeah she can help” said Ajay.
“Then I guess we can go ahead with this plan.” said Dr. Mehta
Ajay comes out of clinic and calls Anita. Ajay asks her to meet him over lunch sometime next week, only 2 of them, not even Urmila. Anita hesitated in accepting the offer. Ajay sensed it and told her that there is something only she can help with, and it’s the question of his marriage being saved. Anita understood the situation and then agreed to meet on Wednesday (9th). She told him that she is going for a 10 days trip to Singapore on 10th, so if they don’t meet on Wednesday, they have to postpone it for 15 days. Ajay couldn’t afford to lose any time. He gladly booked a table for 2 in Moti-Mahal Delux South-Ex for 9th.


In the end, it was the small trick by Dr. Mehta made the reunion possible. He made sure that Ajay was thinking, he is taking Urmila to the doctor. On the other hand Urmila thought she was the one who is taking Ajay to the doctor. As a result Dr. Mehta commanded full co-operation from both of them.