• Tuesday, March 03, 2015


Relational Myth and Reality

Shah Husain Imam

Relationship, kinship or friendship outside family, is a mosaic of human emotions cast in many hues. The bonding of kinship is often expressed as blood being thicker than water. Not always to be sure, given the complications in extended families and families divided between home-livers and Diasporas.
In typical Marxian perception, however, bonding is associative having little connection with blood. He once said, separate an infant from the mother, place it and rear it up in a different environment, you have a young man or woman detached from his/her origin. But potted plants can never grow into natural beings, they can only be simulated products without a root.
Of all the kinship ties, filial affection is the thickest and sibling relationship comes next in the pecking order of intimacy. But parents mollycoddling children often risk emotional blackmail by the latter aiming to extract a favour. Siblings have intimate bonding upto a certain age and then they are likely to transform as any pair of adults, competitive, self-comparing, somewhat insular and selfish.

Spousal relationship i.e. pairing of individuals coming from two different families under the same roof to make a home is a different kettle of fish. Understanding and mutual respect of each other are the bedrock of durable partnership in marriage. Immediately after my marriage I had met a friend who though had had his marriage on the rocks early into his nuptial ties, gave me a gem of an advice: "Remember, even a furrow on your forehead would be noticed by your wife. However involuntarily etched it might have been, she would read a hint of displeasure towards her." My sophisticated friend must have spoken from his own experience, but I go scrupulously by the adage, 'Don't try to understand a woman, just love her.'
An elderly gentleman had this to say though, 'Now that you are married you would know how much paddy boils into how much rice', meaning where your shoe pinches. But this may be true of the other side as well. Crude as his remark might have been, the tongue of a woman once on a lashing mode might just reel off past references like a spinning top. In this battle of sexes, 'The best way for one is to retreat from a dialogue and be a silent listener to a monologue,' advised a sage of bygone days.
Love and hate are said to be the two sides of the same coin. They say familiarity breeds contempt. But since relations are somewhat habit forming the element of familiarity is not necessarily a sign of negativity. It may be a glue to enduring friendship when one is predictable to the other and, therefore, intelligible to one another. It is only when you try to be something that you are not known for, or it is unlike you or not true to your grains, it will have startling effect on the person at the receiving end and you might evoke a subtle embarrassment.
Relational experts have also said, like natures repel each other, opposites attract one another. There's a caveat, too: What do you then make of likeminded people coming together? And what of the clannish temper that laces social behaviourism today like toxins?
The writer is Associate Editor, The Daily Star.

Published: 12:00 am Friday, April 25, 2014

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