I want someone to sit beside after the day’s pursuit and all its anguish, after its listening, and its waitings, and its suspicions. After quarrelling and reconciliation I need privacy – to be alone with you, to set this hubbub in order – Virginia Woolf
I realised the importance of privacy when I went to meet my partner for the second time and spent almost a fortnight with him. Though right to privacy is a fundamental right, society at large is still at infantile stage at showing respect to individuals’ right to privacy. Couples, married or otherwise needs privacy to bond. It’s one of the prerequisite for a healthy relationship. In many households across India, married couples were not given the kind of privacy that is so much needed.
Marriage is never a celebration of couples in India. It’s a celebration of rituals, pomp and show-offs. Being a social institution, marriage is about family and society. A week long honeymoon to exquisite places in globe is indeed a very small time to understand each other.
Lack of privacy is the reason that I came out of my marriage. The bond was never made. It was always ‘all of us together that is our in laws, sisters in law and their extended family. My bed is for everyone to sleep during daytime. Be it father-in-law or others. The Gujarati family that I was married into didn’t offer us space. Even during marital rift, other family members would intervene and take sides. It was never possible to talk to him in privacy at home. Once I did and the next day everyone is questioning me. We had to go out for a walk or something to talk to each other.
And sex oh! It would always happen at dead of night when am fast asleep. I would be awaken by his forced and rough touch. He would just finish off the task and sleep. There was no foreplay and afteplay. And I would be wide awake crying silently thinking that I never wanted this kind of life for myself.
The sexy crotchless lingerie that I had bought prior to my weeding had never been used. I gave it away to a friend when she was getting married. The bond was never created to understand and appreciate and being non- judgemental. People say a child create a bond but my argument is why not have a bond prior to having a child?
Meeting my current partner and getting to know him has been an amazing journey. He once told me ‘the more you know me the more I know myself and vice versa’. And yes the journey of self-discovery has been too cool.
We enjoyed our privacy thoroughly and this makes me reflect on the importance of it. Pecking at his cheeks, hugging him from behind, holding hands are instrumental in creating a bond. Even being naked in each other’s company just to spend time and not necessarily only to have sex is important where you accept and respect your partner’s body the way it is. The raw being is in front. There is no judgement, no body shaming just complete acceptance of one another. This comfort level between couples is so important. You know the person in an out. The way he/she is with all their idiosyncrasies.
We cooked together and being an amazing cook he showed me little tricks to make a boring dish interesting. I remember I was stirring Bhapa Chingri (a traditional Bengali dish of marinated prawns mixed in a spicy coconut, mustard and chilli sauce) and he came from behind and cupped me in his arms. What was different in that bond was; I was wearing only his t-shirt and a hipster panty and nothing else. The freedom I had to roam around in his house in negligee is unthinkable in a traditional house where parents or in-laws always raise a brow. Indeed, this sexual freedom to be part-naked not always on bed has made the bond between us stronger. If such bond is created, whatever bouncer life throws at you together you will emerge winners.
For a person like me, privacy is very important. So while I’m pondering I need privacy of space. I love to read, think and write. Philosophy, history, sociology, political science etc are some of the subjects of social sciences that give me food for thought. And there are times when I want complete aloneness to refuel; to recharge. Presence of someone in my physical space breaks my thought and I get irritated. Even sound irritates me. Staying always in the company of others; no matter how intelligent and wise they are is wearisome but most people decay intellectually and spiritually but won’t dare to demand privacy. Because privacy is considered as selfish-ness. But for me privacy is self-love.
My mom with whom I stay is apprehensive with my way of life. She would get angry if I close the door of my room. She would say is there any need for it? But she fails to understand that it breaks my chain of thoughts if there is someone around. Yes I detest intruders in my private space. I love to read, spend time at my terrace garden, love listening to ghazals; shedding tears when I get emotional. But all alone.