Toil & Trouble
Even a seemingly innocent tendency to be devoted to one’s career can actually prove a threat to a marriage when taken to extremes. Shah Rukh Khan is a classic example of workaholism, which is often seen as a very desirable trait in our achievement-obsessed times. The star and film producer is known to get by with a mere four hours of sleep each night, as his brilliant mind goes into overdrive, constantly ticking and thinking of ways to push the envelope further. Why, he has even boasted about “a strange sense of accomplishment” that he experiences, working on holidays! While SRK is still the quintessential family man, devoted to his kids, it cannot be too healthy for a marriage that needs time and togetherness to avoid drying up.
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What the doc says…
“I don’t really see the workaholism in films being very different from that associated with someone in advertising, medicine or accounts. By and large, unless you are in a 9 to 5 job, which anyway no longer exists because it has become 9 to 9 now, you are working the whole day. The only difference is that when you are on an outdoor shoot, you are away from your spouse and your hometown. The usual rules that you follow don’t exist. Problem is, everyone in the film industry is very good looking; there’s a lot of positivity associated with it and then you are shooting intimate scenes… No matter how detached you might want to be and no matter how many people are around you filming you and shouting instructions, it is human nature to some extent to find a certain amount of attraction. If on top of that you are having a bad day with your spouse, then the chances of a dalliance occurring is not very surprising. Unless you are extremely strong, sensible and don’t want that something like this should happen, people do tend to stray.”
Dealing with it…
“Anybody who doesn’t seem to have a balance between work and play and family, needs to strike a balance. The most important thing anyway would be for Shah Rukh to cut down because at the rate he keeps, he would burn out. It cannot possibly be physically good for him and over a period of time, it could have a psychological impact as well. Here the spouse would also need to adjust in terms of spending time with her husband. She would have to do more than be at home and just be available to him when he wants. She would have to make herself available even if he doesn’t want it.”
Aamir Khan’s very high and exacting standards of excellence have engraved his name among cinema’s most brilliant stars. His meticulous attention to detail, his refusal to settle for anything less, his constant endeavour to improve his game and grow exponentially… these very traits could prove hazardous applied to personal equations. A spouse who is under pressure to be perfect? Not a happy place to be in, indeed.
What the doc says…
“We are always a little wary of a so-called perfectionist because he generally only seeks perfection in others and very often cannot cope when imperfections are pointed out in himself. I’m sure that a lot of the reports you read about Aamir Khan are exaggerated but I’m also sure that a lot of them are not. If, for example, you are going to spend 30 days trying to find the exact right colour for your shirt, that is really not perfectionism – that is almost an obsessive tendency. Over a period of time, that would actually be considered to be psychologically inappropriate; though I’m not suggesting that everything he is perfectionist about is inappropriate. Perfectionism can actually go into a disorder which we call Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. And they are the most difficult people to live with! Even though everything is spic and span and perfect, it is terrible because it’s like you are in school all the time, a naughty kid who is being monitored by a very angry Principal. And no person can live like that.”
Dealing with it…
“I’m suggesting that he ease off, and allow for normal imperfections – if you call them imperfections – to be part and parcel of life. One cannot demand that things be done exactly the way you want them, because who are you to decide that what you are saying and doing is correct? A different point of view is not necessarily a wrong one, is something that all who have this so-called perfectionist streak must understand. Ease off and enjoy the ‘imperfections’ of life.
What normally happens is that the spouse of a perfectionist would tend to adjust to suit his so-called standards of perfectionism. But then a time could come when the spouse is told that s/he doesn’t even breathe properly! The best approach is for the spouse to live her own life, laugh at the person, find humour in the situation rather than get angry and upset with him. Change to some extent; obviously if you’re very messy and so on, it is nice to learn from your perfectionist spouse to bring some order into your life. But you cannot change to a huge extent because you will become a different person. Aamir had married Reena knowing the kind of person she was; and then later trying to change her doesn’t make sense at all.”