They were college sweethearts who seemed happily married. Three years after they tied the knot, Mayuri says she felt all knotted up. Even her husband Rakesh, an architect, felt that the duo’s relationship was radically altered. As Mayuri felt that Rakesh was more attached to his laptop, the young man himself attributed the broken marriage to deadline pressures at work. Both, in their early 30s, feel they are mature enough to take their own decisions.
In fact, soon after filing for a divorce petition at one of the four family courts in Bangalore, the couple headed to the coffee joint Koshys on St. Marks Road to celebrate their separation over a quick south Indian kaapi. “It was separation by mutual consent,” says Rakesh, “we couldn’t make it as husband and wife, but will remain friends.”
Not all cases of marital problems dogging India’s Silicon Valley end in such civility. On August 13, the police arrested top Infosys executive Satish Gupta, 32, for killing his wife Priyanka, 28, who was a schoolteacher. The police claim that Satish, in jail now, told them they developed serious differences after she forced him to separate from his parents. When he told her he wanted a divorce, she threatened to drag him and his parents to jail with a dowry harassment case. That is allegedly when he decided to act in cold blood: strangling her first, and then slitting her throat with a kitchen knife.
Though extreme, it does reflect the kind of marital stress ambitious professionals are facing in their high-pressure jobs. As if the suicide-capital tag was not enough, officials are now grappling with ways to stamp out the new virus eating away at healthy homes. In the last two years alone, nearly 4,000 divorce petitions were filed-a huge jump over previous years: 1,200 in 2004 to a three-fold jump in 2008 and rising. The IT sector and it-enabled services like BPOs are the biggest employer of youth, aged between 20 and late 30.
The backlog continues to grow. Almost 25 to 30 petitions involving matrimonial disputes are filed in a day. Three more family courts are being planned in months to come to cope with the load. Karnataka Law Minister Suresh Kumar, shocked by the divorce statistics, is traveling to Chennai to study the evening courts that have lessened the number of pending cases. “Cases hanging fire only cause more damage to the already affected parties, elders and the children,” says Kumar. He is also planning to introduce weekend courts to address the problem.
Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy’s wife Sudha says: “Right in the beginning Murthy made it clear that one of us can work and the other had to run the family. Not that I was any less qualified but am glad I made the decision to stay at home. The choice was intentional.” Sudha is a qualified computer science engineer and the first woman to join the all-male Tata auto plant in Pune before she and her husband settled in Bangalore. With both men and women earning well, women sometimes earning more, pressures on marriage start early and often end in an early divorce.
A young globetrotting software executive says her marriage is on the rocks because she is unable to spend time with her husband. Both travel a lot and one of them has to cut down on work. And both are not sure who will do that-and that inevitably drives them to lawyers like P.B. Appiah, whose hands are full. “We simply have no clue how to deal with the rising number of disputes. Today’s generation faces a new kind of challenge both in terms of work schedules, relationships and life in general,” says Appiah.
Psychologists like Hannah Samuel feel stress kicks in during the early years of the marriage when couples in IT jobs have to confront the challenges of juggling two or three careers and balancing family and work. “There is simply no time to communicate. They just get married to their jobs; drag on till the D-word hits them.” Bangalore’s Family Welfare Centre Director Father Martin Anthony makes marriage classes compulsory for couples waiting to get married, where they are counseled on how to manage money, in-laws or work-life balance. District Judge and director of Bangalore Mediation Centre, Justice K.N. Phaneendra, whose centre has handled nearly 5,000 divorce cases since 2007, throws his hands up as couples have no qualms about divorce now.
India’s Silicon Valley may be the country’s showpiece sector but what’s not shown enough is the troubles of young married techies trying to juggle high pressure careers, deadlines and a normal marriage. Clearly, no software has been written yet to protect them from the marital virus.
“To cope with the increasing rush at the family courts we have decided to launch weekend courts, perhaps for the first time in India.”Suresh Kumar, Karnataka law minister.
I came across the above facts from TOI site and could not help myself from sharing with you.
Most of us are running a race… a blind, reckless race… a race to achieve and acquire. Our identity is defined by our professional success and material acquisitions.
Somewhere along the way, during this mad race, we tend to completely neglect the other aspects of our lives, which tend to fall apart. We develop into misbalanced humans. The worst part is that this is becoming the norm rather than an exception.
Is it possible to reverse the trend?
Is there anything wrong with our education and value system?
Can anything be done or are we fighting a lost cause?