Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why I wrote ‘In pursuit of Infidelity’ and other related questions?

This is an oft asked question by my readers, friends, acquaintances and even strangers claiming to be avid readers.  But mostly the above question is posed by people who either found the title of the book too strong for their taste or out of extreme curiosity bought the book and found themselves feeling upset, confused, alarmed by the story line to an extent to brand it as ‘Not -the- kind - of -book- they would- like- to - read.’ 

'Then why pick it up in the first place, my dear?' I would have liked to ask them. The blurb gives out more than a fair idea about its content.
Anyway, I obviously cannot do that without getting into an argument or a heated discussion. So mostly I give them a tolerant smile and say - 'I felt like writing about the topic.' Period.  Many a time, if the person is a close friend I give my reasoning. But they are never enough.
So here I am…trying to put an end to this ‘cat and mouse game’ and by writing a blog on it. Those who have a problem with the book may get their answers minus having to suffer my explanations – most of which might upset them further.
The main reason I chose to write my first book about the ‘under- the- carpet' topic of Infidelity was simple because– I felt strongly about the subject. It intrigued me. As a reader who loves to read the particular genre, I found it being explored and written about in the writings of some of the very popular and admired Indian writers like Vikram Seth’s – A suitable boy, Manju Kapur’s – Difficult daughters and the like. Also as a modern (married) woman and a social activist, I was surrounded by many such real - life stories. All these factors egged me enough to choose ‘Infidelity’ as the subject matter of my debut novel. The story was written from woman’s perspective for obvious reasons.
 I wanted to explore and attempt to get answers to questions like –
Why do extra marital affairs happen? (And the society is filled with stories of straying partners…of course, many pretend it is an alien thing happening to someone else).

Who is responsible for it – The wife? The husband? Both? Or can we simply blame it on our fast- forward lifestyles?
If a woman strays, are they for the same reasons as those of a man?
Can a person be branded as 'bad character' just because he has committed infidelity? 
Should a woman be blamed and called names if she after several attempts of trying to show her neglected feelings to her husband and yet not finding an appropriate response from her ‘ever busy’ partner seeks to fulfill her emotional needs outside marriage? 
In my story, I deliberately showed both partners cheating on each other. This was to get the reactions in each of their case. I found most people felt that Gaurav had been short handed. Just because Sheena did not divulge her own truth to him. But did not both commit the same misdemeanor? And each for flimsy reasons? For the sake of a marriage that was already shaken and almost destroyed by the discovery of Gaurav’s infidelity, was it not wise of Sheena to keep her painful truth to herself? (And maybe she really loved Nikhil. Nikhil on his part made a sacrifice because he loved Sheena. In fact,  he had the perfect reason and opportunity to destroy Sheena's married life. But he did not). Human relationships are complicated. Things are not always either white or black. One has to walk the grey line sometimes.

In real life though, especially in our society, it is mostly the woman who has to live with the knowledge that her partner has betrayed her trust. And she does. So what if a man has to do the same? Will the society be able to digest it? I believe, a person who loves his family, a person with broader outlook towards life, and a person who understands his own mistakes that might have led to the crack in the relationship, will not only be able to digest but also cope very well when faced with such a situation.

But the most important question that I wanted to study was – What happens after an 'infidelity' is discovered? Does life end?  Everyone make mistakes and then everyone has choices? People are responsible for the choices they make. The choices may be good or bad for them. It is not necessary that the choice a person makes has to be coloured by what the Society at large, thinks as the best.

The affected couple must know and make the best choice. If the straying partners were blinded for a moment and committed a mistake they deserve a second chance. But if the marriage is really marred beyond repair – It is better to end the unhappy marriage and move on. And I believe, such marriages end much before the actual act of infidelity is committed and brought to light.

But for others there is a new life that begins after both partners have gone through the painful experience of love and loss either individually or together. It teaches them to respect and value each other. It teaches them to not take everything for granted.It makes them understand that what is important is not that you have committed a mistake but how you have learnt and grown from that mistake.

Having given my thoughts on the subject and on my novel as above, I also wish to put on record that I am not justifying ‘infidelity’. In fact, it clearly comes out from my story that the misdemeanor has the potential to destroy several lives at one go. Also, for those who are still wondering about it, let me come to your rescue and reveal that my story was a complete figment of imagination. Of course, some of the characters and certain incidences in the story were taken from real life experiences. To make it an interesting read the story was spiced up. About my style of writing etc..etc…I would like to say,  I have miles to go and learn about form, style, et al. What makes me happy is the fact that my journey has begun well.

1 comment:

  1. A well balanced view, as always, from a well balanced author and poet.