There was no mention of the word 'divorce' during more than 41 years of my married life.
Satbir Singh Bedi | 24 Jul 2013

"Divorce", "Alimony", "Maintenance", etc. are very familiar words these days but to me somehow they look strange.  There was never a mention of the word "divorce" during more than 41 years of my marriage.


My marriage took place at Meerut on 19th November, 1972 on Id-ul-Fitar day if I remember correctly, according to Sanatani Hindu rites although I professed to be a Sikh and my wife was a Hindu.  I was non-vegetarian and she was a vegetarian.  The marriage was, of course, an arranged one but our customs differed as I belonged to Punjabi Sikh family and she belonged to a U.P. Hindu family.  My in-laws did not even eat onions or garlic.  However, she and I both adjusted with each other.  She remained a vegetarian but cooked non-vegetarian food for me.  I started idol worshiping and Hindu style of going to the temples reading Geeta and Ramayana while she started reading Sikh scriptures written in Devnagari script.  We celebrated every month of the Sikh Calendar and my wife prepared Prashad (Sweets offering to God) on those days.  We also started observing every Tuesday with a prayer to Lord Hanuman and distributing Prashad (Sweets Offering to Lord Hanuman) on those days.  We celebrated together all the Hindu and Sikh festivals.


I was a Govt. servant and got paid on the last day of the month. On that day, I handed over my entire salary, every penny of it, to my wife.  Since we both belonged to lower middle class families, we knew the value of the money.  My wife never wasted money on buying rich clothes or cosmetics and I on my part did not spend much money except on buying cigarettes for myself.  My wife, however, never objected to my smoking.  Every day, I would ask for money from my wife for the to and fro bus fare, for spending some money on tea and cigarettes.  At the end of the day, I gave over all the left over money, every penny of it, to my wife.


I had no house of my own.  We lived in a rented house and were often troubled by our landlords.  My wife who was more practical than me, asked me to apply for a DDA plot which would be allotted by lottery.  I told her that I need about four thousand rupees but had only two thousand rupees in my bank.  She made a great sacrifice and sold her jewelry so that I could apply for the DDA plot.  Fortunately for me, I got the plot in the lottery and took loan from the Government to build a house which I now proudly own but the credit for that goes to my wife.  


During our more than 41 years of married life, we fought over many issues many times but never ever uttered the word "divorce".  I, therefore, fail to understand that when we two people from vastly different backgrounds could live together, why present generation is so concerned with the words, "divorce", "alimony", "maintenance", etc.