FOOT-DRAGGING DIVORCE SUITS: A CURSE!
India drags her foot in a lot of areas—much against what the people of India really want to see-and protracted marital litigations are just one among many.
John Masefield has sung in a poem –“Cargoes–about the “ Quinquereme of Nineveh from distant Ophir” bringing—with majestic slowness– “emeralds peacocks and gold moidores” over the high seas. India moves at quinquereme speed at times and in many crucial areas!
The government machinery is often too slow to react when a place like Pathankot or Mumbai falls under attack. The corruption cases get so hotly contested till all evidence is tabled that it takes many months to prove anything at all. A school year fails to meet its DTB (Desired terminal behavior) objective when three fourths of the year is lost in student unrest, processions and protest gestures. Even burglary takes more than 15 years to be presented in a court of law.
It’s as if Time stands still across India in some cases!
Why does this happen?
UNTOLD STORIES AND GLIB LIES:
A million subterranean truths and lies of the blackest kind may be hidden behind a divorce suit. None of them may come out unless it is a court of law. After all it’s not Mr. Perfect and Ms. Perfect that find themselves saying “I do!” in front of the altar! Each partner brings into the marital home his or her own oddities by the dozen, vices, USPs, complexes that have evolved and or reinforced, linguistic weaknesses, etiquette angularities and much more.
In those days when I used to visit a neighboring gymnasium in Chittur, Palakkad—a remote village with a stupid public college–, I was told that a male human must be able to see his own organ when he stands up at all times over his washboard stomach and that it alone measured up to perfect health. In many cases the man may take it easy and grow a generous belly and this affects his performance in bed. The women think of all ways to articulate what they sincerely feel- withering disgust- because he is enveloped within his ego capsule at all times. So they find no option but to file a case against him.
Or the women may have their own physiological issues and may expect the menfolk to take them to hospital. But the men glibly may have taken it for granted that their women are always on the ready and available to them. This typically male, boorish indifference is of course unforgivable by Western standards. It may invite a divorce suit!
The other day, in contrast, I got buttonholed by a middle aged man aged 43 and thus had to listen to a hubby whose 30 year old wife had fled him when his beer belly exceeded ordinary size and his gait resembled a pregnant woman’s waddling movement!
I understood his real unmentionable imponderable issue and then mildly suggested to him to take some daily workout. But to no avail. He asked me suddenly if I didn’t consider him handsome! The man lived within his Ego Capsule! His wife had been away from him for 48 months by now and not even once had she rung him up. And like any foolish man, he was still wearing his heels away in a court of law wasting his precious time!
The man-let’s call him Johnny- asked me for some assistance in getting his sons in that woman educated and then said that his divorce suit was still dragging on in the family court. I asked him to let go and let his wife have her way for having given up their sons without any protest. I advised him to focus his whole attention on empowering his sons from now on!
COURT ACTION SCENARIOS
Parentally-arranged weddings often result within days or weeks in a boom and crash and the young couple find themselves unable to pull along together. Jack files a divorce suit against Jill or vice versa when this happens.
But the filing of such a suit is overrun with all kinds of strange visitors to both their homes wherever these may be located in a metropolis -those storm petrel lawyers that deliberately give a twist to any simple trifling incident or behavior trait in the opponent person, or the pacifiers /peacemakers that resort to Destiny to underestimate the real pinching of the shoe.
”Sir, cant it be that Mary ignored your presence deliberately the other day when she was standing next to you at the neighboring bakery?” one would ask, or “Dear madam,
Think about where your Admirable Crichton hubby used to be from 5 pm till 11 pm on those days when you had your Sai Bhajan! Do give that some importance to this simple fact rather than remain fooled into the belief that he was worshipping some divine personage!”
The Pacifiers, usually men or women in their late sixties, would pat softly on the back of the depressed hubby in some hard liquor bar or temporarily infuriated woman and then say, “My dear, it’s all destiny and nothing else! Accepting it is the best way because you can’t fight against Destiny can you? It’s all written in some mysterious coded script on the top of your head Sir/madam!”
The court sessions are especially interesting when the case being heard is a marriage on the rocks.
The opposing lawyer would ask the woman in the case the most indecent and embarrassing queries and then look up into the heavens and reach conclusions that boomerang—in the minds of the listeners in the court at least– upon her temperament or character!
He might ask the woman, “Dear madam! Please take a second look at that man your opponent! Are you absolutely sure that that man is your own sworn hubby and no impostor? Couldn’t you be mistaken when you alleged that a man resembling him went into Ms. Anna’s house of ill repute? Was it this same person or someone else? ”.
Or he might raise a doubt about her honesty, ”Wasn’t it you dear madam that had thought of going away from your house with all your parental wealth as Jessica had done in Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice”? How come that you raised some doubt about his potency after you got a son? Is he from this same man or from a neighbor?”
What happens in most divorce litigations is action within the four walls of the court and nowhere else.
Both opposing lawyers take the same food from the same hotel counter and share a puff and even hug each other. Only the plaintiff and defendant are carefully coached to snarl and show their fangs at each other on all occasions without exception! The judge does his routine job, acceding to the requests of either one lawyer or the other in a generous spirit and then goes home!
WHY NOT SOME FAST-TRACK COURTS FOR DIVORCES PLEASE?
To prove your nationalism you need only to chant “Bharat mata ki Jai” if at all, dear reader, but how can your marital fidelity get convincingly proved in a court of law? In no way .The magistrate or judge is compelled to believe what you say unless you opponent partner has enough visible evidence to prove that you are unfaithful.
And take my word for it, so long as you are a man born and brought up in this country, national patriarchy is on your side and she can’t get that proof so long as you are one step ahead of her in intelligence and planning!
Fast track courts for instantaneous divorces are possible hypothetically but not in reality because the court tends to adopt a lenient viewpoint in favor of the woman. The lawyer exploits this loophole to extend and postpone a hearing or final trial. Both lawyers milk those that had till recently been nothing but close life partners as much as they possibly can and also give both of them mountains of agony.
At the end the woman is left in the lurch to be a single parent for the rest of her life with or without the kids and the man is given the freedom to marry again! She has no reputation to lose by that time. The man is never put behind bars for splurging the dowry amount except given a warning that he needs to pay her back over the next 20 years the amount in instalments!
Bah! What a horrible scenario!
No wonder this is a country where more married men and women endure life quietly and agonizingly- — a few decades of emotional malnutrition and downright starvation–and where incidence of marital rape is more common than real marital bliss—in 90% homes across the caste barriers!
No wonder the phrase “innocently divorced” (What a piquant pithy funny phrase at that!) is the most commonly seen expression in the Wanted Grooms” columns in Matrimonial Advertisements page!