BHOPAL: The week four of lockdown approached. Families and children were trapped together within the four walls of their homes.
Being trapped creates tensions between couples leading to separation and unexpected consequences.
Many warring couples visited mediation centres in those days. Senior advocate and head of the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Dr Rajesh Sharma, had barely had any time to rest.
On an evening in May last year, as he was sitting in his office, his mobile phone rang.
Rajeev Trivedi (not his real name), a 45-year-old executive of a multinational company, rang up seeking legal advice for separation from his wife.
Sharma gave a patient hearing to Trivedi. But, instead of giving legal opinion for separation, Sharma wanted to talk to Trivedi’s wife. He called up the couple separately.
He advised them against going for divorce and urged them to live together, as separation will affect their minor children. The counselling continued.
The advice cut ice. Both agreed to live together. The Trivedi couple was not alone. Sharma united hundreds of about-to-break families in the lockdown.
His efforts prevented many couples from going to police stations.
Sharma says the lockdown gave an opportunity to many couples to stay together. But there was a darker side of it. The women caught their hubbies chatting with their female colleagues or men caught their wives chewing fat with their male coworkers.
Two mobile phones were used. As the one partner came to know about the deeds of the other all hell broke loose.
They checked each other’s calls and messages. Both the man and his wife suspected that each had an extra-marital relation.
Many such couples sought legal advice. Sharma says he spoke to the warring couples and advised them to remain calm and positive.
He cleared any suspicion. Sharma says he also met the children of those couples to bolster the familial ties.
He says the hostility between the couples came to an end. Extra-marital relations always ruin families as well as harm the children. His duty is to end sourness between the fighting couples.
In many cases, even official conversations were branded as love talks. Therefore, it was difficult to handle such cases.
He says the couples, who went to grocery shops, milk booths and took morning and evening promenades together, suddenly became hostile to each other.
The level of misunderstanding was such that they began to feel suffocated staying together.
The couples working in the multi-national companies (MNCs) hardly get time to live together.
In the lockdown, they got that opportunity, which made them face some ugly facts of life.
The strained husband-wife relations made the children suffer. Such families rushed to mediation centres, either for separation or for counselling.
Sharma says he received many phone calls about family disputes. Parents complained that the children were upset and not having food.
He enquired about the reasons behind the abnormal children’s behavior. Sad stories cropped up.
Such couples fought regularly. That affected the children, who gave up on food and other activities, since they were helpless.
Sharma says when the couples came to the mediation centre, he suggested them not to go to police stations.
A few meetings were organised between the couples. Doubts between them were cleared.
Gradually, realisation dawned upon them that the divorce was no solution.
Sharma says, “If anything has gone wrong, it is better to admit mistakes, and, instead of fighting over a few messages or phone calls, a couple should appreciate each other.”
Sharma says, “I tell them life has its roses and thorns. Then why should one be afraid of the thorns? Each couple should enjoy the beauty of a rose. Here lies the real bliss!”