Mood swings and extreme emotional highs and lows, especially during the first trimester, is a very real thing. I was in a perpetually lousy mood and could fly off the handle at the slightest provocation.
I remember one particular incident. Two days before the start of Tanvi’s school, we went to Malpe beach. Enroute, Sathya and I got into an argument in the car regarding the music and the volume. And we fought.
One topic led to another. It’s true that women can bring up totally bizarre past records into a current fight. I did it too. I am beginning to think I am an expert in raking up past grievances. I have like a special storage space in my brain set aside for keeping track of all old humiliations.
Exasperated, he said “Let’s separate ya.” This was the first time ever that he had said it in the past 12 years. I say it every 6 months! (Well, make it every once a year!) That’s my most potent dhamki (threat) since I don’t have the luxury that other women have; of saying “Mei maike jaa rahi hoon.” (I am going to my mother’s house).
He had never ever uttered that word. And now he did. I was really shocked. I thought maybe I should delete or burn that storage space inside my damn brain. Out loud, I only said ‘OK’ (in bold and caps), turned around on the seat and pretended to sleep. This was end of May and I was already 3 weeks pregnant by then but of course I didn’t know it.
It is strange now to think of that fight and how even as we talked of going our separate ways, there was a new life growing within me to keep us together. At the Shimoga hotel where we stayed the night, Tanvi overheard us talking of separating. I hugged her as we slept and told her, “We will be living separately and from now on you will have 2 of everything – two houses, two birthdays and two gifts”.
She wrapped her arms and legs around me and started weeping. She just wouldn’t hear another word. She was inconsolable. She kept saying ‘NO! I want BOTH”. I thought I heard Sathya sobbing softly in the adjacent bed. He had uttered those words in anger and he couldn’t take them back now. He didn’t mean it but it was too late.
I never knew how physically strong Tanvi was and how deeply attached she was to the idea of the three of us as one family unit, until that night. She hugged me so tightly that it actually hurt me. All three of us cried ourselves to sleep that night. I think divorce affects children in ways that we adults can never imagine. They really want both mother and father together with them at all times.
I remember when Tan was conceived just 3 months after our wedding; I had just ended a long committed relationship, and had literally jumped into this marriage, Sathya was 25 years old, unemployed, reckless, and irresponsible, me at a new job, new relationship, new house and new locality, without the comfort of old friends or family. His parents didn’t even sleep in the direction of our house; such was his mother’s animosity towards me (reason, you ask? Well, because I wasn’t beautiful enough for her Star Son).
I contemplated many times to end the whole ordeal. It was a marriage that was giving heartache to everyone involved. It was pointless to waste precious human life, his and mine, in such a futile union.
But who knew that Tanvi, who was growing within me at the time, was coming to keep us together.