Monday, 18 February 2013

Oh you've got my goat!

I was sitting in a doctor's clinic waiting for my turn, my head burrowed in a book as always when I heard divorce being said on the television I'd been ignoring. You don't usually hear the word divorce on Indian television and so my head snapped up.  By the time the advertisement was over, very different things were snapping within.

Let me tell you a bit about me here for a moment. I'm someone who's very hard on herself. I find it difficult to give myself permission to be sad, to feel pain, to take it easy if I'm exhausted. I feel the need to keep going. To say 'hey look at me I'm so strong'. And so when I got divorced I said ' hey look at me, I ain't crying all day. No drinking myself senseless. It's not such a big deal. I'm being responsible and taking control of my life and my son.' Aren't I so cool?

No. I'm not. It hits me again and again. I feel I've put it behind me and then WHAM! I'm struggling with it all over again. And being hard on myself all over again. I don't talk about it because I feel my friends don't want to listen, will get bored, will judge me as weak.

But you know what? Divorce is hard. It's a deep, lacerating pain. It never quite fills. It leaves you with no sense of self. No confidence, no self-esteem. It's hard because no matter how much you keep telling yourself it's the right thing to do, it's good for you, still it's one of the toughest decisions you make. You go back and forth, try to reconcile yourselves to staying in the marriage, try therapy, try role-playing, try everything under the sun. And when it still doesn't work, you say enough. It is not a decision made or unmade in an instant.

It is not a decision taken casually or lightly. There is no amicable divorce. You can't be friends with your ex, at least for a while. And that first time you hear he's with someone else, it hurts. You don't love him anymore, you're not jealous, but it hurts. There is no easy divorce.

So back to the television. There's an ad playing out for a well known laminates company. The woman strolls in, gruffly demands the signed divorce papers. Man looks sad, questions her need for speed. While he goes to fetch them woman strolls around and sees the new laminates in the house, comments on how things have changed. When presented with the papers she repeats his question about being in a rush to get divorced. Both laugh. Ad ends. VO says 'Ek jhalak mein badle dil.' A 35 second ad and there you are. That's the understanding they have of divorce. Seriously? Divorce? That's what you use to sell laminates?

The state of advertising in our country, and most others, is pathetic to say the least. All day we are told that if we don't buy a new tv, fridge, washing machine, laptop our lives will not be complete. Beautiful women sell everything from cement to deodrant. But for me this hits a new personal low.

Please Mr.Advertisor! Grow up and treat yourself and the audience as responsible, intelligent adults!

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