Diary of a Feminist: When the Magic is Gone

Could marriage be the most boring end of a ro­mance? Once I thought it couldn’t be. And I used to be furious at those who mocked at love-birds when they took wedding vows. Now as I watch Seema and Umer, married for the last six months, I couldn’t help but yawn and say, “How boring!”

Since the days when I was an idealist and had a heady notion of love, I have ob­served some love marriages. And how did they turn out? Anywhere between sour, troubled, smooth or inspiring. Never before did I witness a love marriage that was boring.

For instance, Parveen and Sultan’s turned out to be a real tough one.

After marriage Parveen found out Sultan wasn’t am­bitious enough and he dis­covered she was too materialistic. And they both realised their likes and dis­likes weren’t the same.

And I watched them disag­ree at many a decision that has to be made jointly. And I wondered at the dimensions even seemingly trivial things can take when it comes to building a nest. I merely sighed and shook my head as they fought over the colour of the carpet they were planning to buy; and at naming their baby; and etc. etc.

Then there were marriages which turned out to be so ordi­nary, lack-lustre, run of the mill stuff that I soon forget th­ose were love marriages!

What saved me from turn­ing into an absolute cynic were a few marriages where love grew with time and blossomed into mutual respect, acceptance and care.

But why do I feel Seema and Umer’s is such a prosaic ending? Perhaps it was an over­play of my imagination. Perhaps I wove too baggy a halo around Umer’s love for Seema that doesn’t fit them now. Or perhaps the love it­self lay deflated with time.

I have known Umer for a long time. He is my friend’s brother. Seema is his child­hood sweetheart whom I met only once before their marriage. Umer’s folks were dead against this match for a strange reason: they didn’t like Seema’s mother! In his family only his sister (my friend) sided with him.

It   was a long, complicated story. Umer was forcibly engaged to his cousin. Then the engagement  broke  off b­cause of  Umer’s  continued attachment to that old flame. I think it was  Umer  himself  who played mischief!

All the while I kept lectur­ing my friend about why she didn’t convince her family that an adult has the right to choose his/her companion and that they must respect Umer’s decision, blah, blah.

There was many a scene in her family, the elders threatening never to see Umer’s face if he married that girl.

Years passed and somehow there was a change of heart and Umer was allowed to marry Seema. The marriage was solemnised with all its usual pomp.

As Umer’s folks live in the Punjab and he in Karachi, Seema is spared the “hassle” of the in-laws. They live all alone in a big house freshly painted, furnished with her dowry, dot­ted with potted plants, and a huge lawn where roll a cat and her two kittens.

Sounds like an ideal home. What else am I looking for? Well, somehow Umer and Seema look fed up with life, with the world, if not with each other. Umer who used to be so chirpy, is now silent whenever I visit them and nowadays I happen to visit them every day because my friend from the Punjab is here and staying with her brother, Umer, and sister-in-law, Seema.

When I asked Seema to show me her wedding album, she didn’t respond and kept on staring at nowhere. She seemed so lethargic, as if she had lost interest in every­thing. As a result she has be­come uninteresting herself and I wonder what Umer saw in her! Of course, she has a golden, unblemished skin and a seductive figure.

The other day I asked my friend to show me Umer’s al­bum and she asked Seema who got up sleepily, opened the wardrobe, took a brief­case and put it on the bed and walked out of the room as sleepily. And I looked at their wedding photographs, the bride and the bridegroom, and honeymoon snapshots in the mountains, amidst pine trees and snow, and wondered at their glowing faces, at their smiles and laughter frozen on the glossy paper.

Then I put all the photo­graphs back and closed the briefcase and gave it to Seema who locked it up again.

I didn’t see any sparkle in her eyes. Her face didn’t light up. And Umer drifted in and out of the room aimlessly and they had nothing to say to each other, each lost I don’t know where.

Something was amiss. The magic was gone.

Or was I just imagining it all?

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