This is part 2 of the dialogue. For part 1 go here.
“Love is not missing. It is just that its definition has changed while you still want it like before,” Sanjeev said in a composed tone.
She expected such an answer. And yet it was infuriating. It is just one of those trap sentences which are put into a discussion to delay the arrival of truth. And she knew it would be difficult for her to go around these polished but untrue arguments. But today she is going to try her best.
“Is no expression of love an acceptable form of expression?” she asked, regaining some confidence.
He noticed the change, shifted his legs, and looked into her eyes.
“I care for you above all else. And I slog 14 hours a day so that you and our children can have all possible comforts of life,” he said.
“Yet love is missing and for me that is the essential comfort. I am ready to bargain some material comforts for more of your time.” said Nandita.
“Your care is expressed only in the stuff you buy for us?” she asked
“What about time, words, intimacy? What about simple gestures like holding my hands and expressing love in as many words” she stated, the anger returning. She made a mental note to calm down.
“You sound like an eighteen year old teen. We are both twice that old.” Sanjeev replied.
“So?” she retorted.
“So, grow up and understand the difference between age groups,” he replied with a touch of sarcasm.
“From what I know, the form of expression can change but expression itself cannot disappear. While a child needs to be held against your chest, suckled, hugged, and kissed. An adult needs support, warmth, space, respect. Look at successful marriages. Invariably you will find the couple indulging in small gestures as frequently as permissible. Like holding hands, a gentle caress, looking into each other’s eyes and smiling, calling to say “I miss you”, buying spontaneous gifts however small in value, asking for advice on both trivial and critical issues. Sharing their dreams, aspirations, struggles. Asking for opinion. Showing respect. Never being rude. Never shouting.” she said, not stopping for breath.
She left lighter, as if a burden taken away.
“You mean to say I don’t do that,” he asked, sounding genuinely surprised.
“Do you?” she replied.
“This is how all marriages are. You have no idea of reality and I have no idea why we are having this discussion,” quipped Sanjeev
“If you do not acknowledge there is a problem, then there is no way we can find a solution,” she said, feeling lost again.
“And since I am feeling increasingly suffocated in this relationship, the only way I can continue is if we work on this together. Otherwise I think we should call it quits,” Nandita said, surprising herself with that statement.
“So, I ask you again Sanjeev, is there or is there not a problem?”
Sanjeev looked at her. For the first time feeling threatened and not just irritated. The idea of losing her had never occurred to him. Was it because he took her for granted? That thought made him uncomfortable. How can he be like that? He considered himself a loving person and that is what people around him say he is. Then why is his wife feeling otherwise?
He saw a woman completely in love with him. Ready to forsake all she had for his companionship. And that made him feel guilty for the crossroad their relationship had reached.
Continued as part 3 here.