As the courts start winding down towards the end of the year, I look forward to my Christmas vacation and the year-end ruminations that I engage in almost as a religion - a stock-taking of all the things that I set about to accomplish at the beginning of the year and how much I actually accomplished.
What strikes me as noticeably different this year is the number of legal enquiries that I've had about divorce around Christmas. In fact I ended up pacifying clients even on Christmas Day, along with wishing them holiday cheer. Picture this: "Merry Christmas and, yes, don't worry I'll send your spouse the legal notice for initiating divorce proceedings."Or: "Yes, I know you would like to file for divorce immediately, but the courts are closed, so we'll wait till the vacations are over." Not a very happy scene, this one.
These times of festivities bring into relief the apparent perfection of others' life, be it blissful matrimony or merry singledom.
I'm bewildered by the animosity that spouses can feel towards each other even during the season of cheer. The jingling bells, the bright red stockings that are symbolic of gifts exchanged or the stars atop the Christmas tree do nothing to obscure the deep hatred that couples feel towards each other in a divorce. Everything else takes a backseat except the hurt that they have experienced during the marriage and the motto seems to be, holiday season be damned, let's just end this marriage as soon as possible.
Festivals, with their expansive symbolism of joy and good tidings seem to exacerbate the painfulness of their existing marriage .What's more, these times of festivities bring into relief the apparent perfection of others' life, be it blissful matrimony or merry singledom. They feel like they are the only miserable people in the world and that the root cause is the spouse. The solution then seems very simple: to get rid of the spouse by divorcing him or her.(It's still better than other "solutions" that involve a more final ridding according to media reports!)
But the unhappiness is really from within as the constant striving for a perfect partner and by extension a perfect life continues. Yes, a bad marriage can be a source of extreme unhappiness, as many of us have experienced, but does it mean that it is the end of the world? Does it mean that no other joy exists beyond the cloistered walls of a bad marriage?
As I ask these rhetorical questions the answers become obvious that there is life beyond a bad marriage, and surely all of life's moments of happiness can't be outnumbered by the sad ones in a difficult relationship.
Let's not turn our face away from the good tidings that the festive season brings, although we can always send a heartfelt wish to Santa Claus to speed up our divorce.
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