Editor’s Note: Marriages happen. Many work out and some don’t. For those that don’t, what is the way out? Can an extra marital affair ever be justified? Our member Cheeniya muses and leaves us with an open ended question. What do you think? Share your thoughts with us here.

A few years back, the renowned movie maker of South, K Balachander produced a classic movie titled “Sindhu Bairavi”. It is about a carnatic musician who is the rage of the town. He receives rave reviews from every nook and corner of the country except at home. His wife is a kind of Aurangzeb reborn who has absolutely no ear for music. She earns her hubby’s wrath by running the mixie when he sits and listens to the lilting voice of Lata Mangeshkar singing Meera bhajans. For her, it is more important to finish cooking food for her husband than to waste time on music. Her love for her husband manifests itself in every other form except an appreciation for music. Barring a few skirmishes now and then, they get along well being basically good-hearted people. 

Sindhu is an orphaned girl who has a tremendous sense of music. She chances to meet the singer in one of his crowded concerts.She crosses sword with him on the question of why classical singers should confine themselves to singing of songs in an unintelligible language all the time when they should be reaching the masses through singing in a language known to them. The singer is initially irked by the idea but sees the sense of it in course of time. He is amazed by the depth of the girl’s knowledge of music. When he finds that she is also an ardent admirer of his, he loses his heart to her. The girl being a lonely person all her life accepts his love. Thereafter the story meanders through twists and turns and ends up in the usual cinematic climax. 

The Director’s reluctance to keep the pair tied for life was more out of social compulsions than of reason. When the film ended with the girl setting out once again on her long and lonely journey leaving her child born of her brief affair with the singer to be brought up by the first wife, many were upset by the unfairness of it all. 

A couple of years back, Ananda Vikatan, carried an interview with another famous film personality, Balu Mahendra, in which he has admitted to marrying a second time . His affair with his prime TV actress Mounika was almost twenty years’ old. He says that he lost his heart to her because of her passion for the nuances of good cinema. He could identify a kindred soul in her being himself a veteran Director who breathed cinema. Together they have made some fantastic TV shows. His first wife knew nothing more than serving her hubby well but drew blank on sharing his passion for cinema. He concludes that he tied the wedding knot after living with her for many years because he felt guilty about her being branded as his paramour. After reading that interview, many felt that if only he had shown the same maturity with regard to his relationship with the famous actress Shobha, she would not have committed suicide.

All this brings us to a grand question. Are these extra marital relationships justified? If a man gets wedded to a woman who is totally incompatible with his dreams and objectives, he has no choice but to stick around gamely for the rest of his life. It can be the other way too if a woman finds herself teamed up with a man who is not at all her idea of a husband. In most cases, they stick around and appear as happily married a couple as possible for several compelling reasons. They can not divorce because divorces are rare in our society. The void in their hearts can grow larger and larger and in many cases, the men and women compromise so much on their inner cravings that they cease to exist in course of time. It is like the famous case of ‘Operation success but the patient died’. They may save the marriage but at what cost? 

There are some who find the inner conflict too much to cope with and when they find a person who turns out to be a panacea for all their torments, they just lose their hearts to that person. There may be nothing physical in the resultant relationship which can at best be incidental. But the world tends to look at such relationships with a suspicious eye because the general thinking is that any relationship between a man and a woman has to be physical. In a society in which thousands of couples go through the motions of a successful marriage despite the most severe incompatibilities, a few rebels are difficult to understand. Are these rebels to be pitied, censured or accepted?