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Thursday, January 29, 2015

‘Yeh Dosti!’ - Inspirations from the ‘dostana’ between Kamala-Laxman and Shabana-Javed

Friendship over marriage matters in a relationship. This is what will help you journey together with whoever you are in love with!  

Kamala and Laxman
Picture Courtesy: Mid-Day/Internet
I saw a beautiful story in the Times of India (TOI), written by Radha Rajadhyaksha, on the companionship between Kamala and R.K.Laxman, that ended, in a physical sense, with the eminent cartoonist’s passing away, earlier this week. Kamala, now 89, recounts to Radha that Laxman was the first person to see her in her family, when she was born, even ahead of her own mother. She said: “There was a cosmic ring to our relationship. It was meant to be.” “We chose each other,” she reiterated, adding that the friendship bloomed over many summer holidays in her grandfather's Mysore home, where Laxman lived. I am touched – and inspired – that Kamala used the word ‘friendship’ and not ‘relationship’ in describing the way she related to Laxman. 

Shabana and Javed
Picture Courtesy: Internet
In another story I read last week, again in TOI - Bombay Times, renowned lyricist Javed Akhtar told Priya Gupta that his “friendship” with actor Shabana Azmi is so strong that “even marriage could not break it”! “Shabana is basically my friend. We happen to be married. We got married as people thought that you have to be married,” he confessed. I concur with the view expressed by Akhtar here. He’s been married twice – like Laxman was – but feels that it is his friendship with Shabana that has kept their marriage of 30 years going despite the fact that there are times when they differ from each other. He says: “If we are totally similar, then you should not live with a person who is exactly like you as you are enough alone. And if you are totally different, then too, you can't function together. So I think there is a right kind of balance between similarity and dissimilarity between us.” And that balance, as I have learnt from Life, comes from a good, strong friendship with your companion or partner.

I consider my friendship with Vaani, my soulmate, the biggest blessing in my Life. I have talked about how meaningful this friendship has been in a chapter titled ‘Rise In Love’ in my Book “Fall Like A Rose Petal – A father’s lessons on how to be happy and content while learning to live without money” (Westland, August 2014). I have understood that marriage is but a label, an unnecessary and avoidable sense of social security, a crutch that you cling on to. Over time, the crutch cripples you more than it enables or empowers you – especially when two people in a relationship are no longer relating to each other. My question is fairly simple – why do people who can’t relate to each other anymore continue to suffer in a relationship? Is it only to please a decadent society?

There will be so many more happier couples in this world if people simply chose to be with their best friends instead of getting married to people for the sake of family or society or both. Almost everyone has or has had a best friend – someone who you can trust, someone who is a critic, who holds a mirror, someone who you can fall back on, someone who is always there for you. If this person can be your companion for Life, as Vaani is to me, great. But if this has not happened, and you believe it can now happen, just go for it. Don’t think too much. Don’t hesitate. It is important, no matter what, to be happy in Life. If someone can contribute to your happiness, choose that person over everyone else. Because as you grow older, you will not just need someone to hold your hand, you will yearn for someone who can hold your heart. You will believe in wanting to create memories and not just assets. You will want to have inspiring, meaningful conversations and not just sex. You will want to celebrate each moment being with each other and not just an anniversary or birthday gifting each other some “thing”. For all these reasons and more don’t you think it makes more sense being with a friend than just a “legally acceptable” spouse? 

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