Tag Archives: Marriage

The Killer ‘C’.. Are You A Victim?

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande.

“I have no life. I depend upon comedy shows to laugh, I don’t remember when I was truly happy anymore. There’s no connection with anyone. Inspite of working a lot and achieving too much, life seems complicated and meaningless at the same time. I have even started forgetting things now”: the 32 year old man was quite distressed when he spoke:

“Can you take a break?” I asked.

He laughed sarcastically.

“Doc, there’s so much competition in my field, that I cannot afford to take a break. They depend upon me for things to be done well. If something goes wrong, it reflects upon my career. If I am not available, I will be replaced”. He replied.

“What are your work hours?” I asked.

“I start from home at about 9 in the morning” he said. I waited for the remaining part of the reply but he didn’t speak. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“When do you return?” I knew the answer in his silence. I had heard it one too many times.

“There’s no fixed time” his wife replied, “Mostly after 9 at night, sometimes past midnight. But even after coming home his calls and online work continues.”

“That’s because I have to deal with the Western clients, their timezones differ” he snapped.

“May I speak with the doctor?” the wife asked him, a little insistent.

He nodded, looking down.

“Doc, we had a love marriage. He was not like this at all. He was full of life and vigor. He made everyone smile and had hundreds of friends. Now he has no friends, but even with me and our daughter, he gets hardly five minutes every day. On weekends he is so exhausted mentally to interact that the schedule is almost set: visiting mall, watching a movie, eating out and coming home tired again, immediately to sleep. He gets irritated without any reason. He was so attached to our daughter, she was his life, but now even she avoids playing with him. Even enjoyment has become mechanical” both of them became tearful.

Then, lowering her voice, she continued “Dr. Rajas, this is embarrassing, but who else can I tell this to? You are like family to us, so I will say it. We had a great sex life earlier. Now he seems to have lost all interest in me. We have lost our physical bonding just because of lack of time. And now we are losing the mental connection too, as he has started becoming quite forgetful” she completed. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

They were the second couple today with similar problems.

Excessive work hours, traveling long distances, continuous multitasking without resting the brain and body and eating junk have become the lifestyle for not only most software engineers, but almost every doctor, sales and marketing person, and most other careers in India.

The concept of “minimal salary” and “maximum work hours”, so vehemently fought for by the human rights organizations around the world, seem quite unrelatable and impractical in India: not only competition, voluntary overwork, unrealistic financial expectations and unemployment, but a social tendency to “shove this phenomenon under the carpet” has led to a country of human robots who cannot connect with other humans.

India is an exploitation hub since decades. Cheap manpower is our famous boast. And the worst part is that they are thrown away instantly the moment their productivity is less than excess, or when someone cheaper can replace them. Years of loyalty, honesty, hard word had zero meaning in corporate world. You are just another table with an assigned process. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande. Be it secretaries, clerks, employees, students, teachers, or labourers, the message by the employer is loud and clear: work as told or go. We have many others to replace you. Eight hours of work with two hours of travel every day is itself very taxing, add two more hours of work and on is misusing body and brain both. Health is not on the cards here.

5-6 hours of sleep has become a norm with most of the above categories. For a normal brain, 7-8 hours of sleep is essential. Whatever one may hear about geniuses sleeping less, chronic lack of sleep does cause damage in the brain, that manifests as irritability, personality changes, forgetfulness and less mental efficiency.

Years ago, gymming at the Athletic Club in London ON Canada, I met an old man in the locker room. After the initial ‘Hi’, he asked me what I did. I replied that I was a postgraduate doctor, now a specialty fellow at the University. He said “Oh I did my career in health too”.

“Were you a doctor too?” I asked.

“No. I did many jobs, whatever gave me happiness and satisfaction, but I made my career in my own health. For decades now, I have eaten only healthy food, cooked for myself, taken good sleep, read a lot, traveled the world, played with kids and of course gymmed: not to show off my muscles, but to keep fit. I am ninety two now, healthy, and most importantly, happy”. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

I told him I envied that lifestyle.

“It’s a choice, doc, and a sacrifice too. If you want health, you must give up anything that is against it. I had great job offers, but they did not go with my choice of a healthy life. Now I think I was right. I don’t have too much money, but I am happy and healthy. I had many friends with millions in their bank accounts, but they are either dead or can barely walk”.

I told that couple this short story. They appeared to understand.

“I will start working upon this, doc” said the husband.

One aspect of human evolution should be good mental and physical health. However we are going backwards. People have developed funny concepts: that muscles and physical stamina alone is health, that less weight is the best health etc. We meet many who diet excessively but piss of everyone they meet as they are continuously irritable due to hunger. Mental and physical health shows upon a person’s face: peace and happiness are its prime components. These are impossible without bonding with your family, ensuring adequate sleep and rest, and opting for stress-free career choices.

As for now, the ‘Killer C’ called career is turning out to be the biggest life- killer at least in India.

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

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The Angry Husband Pandemic

The Angry Husband Pandemic

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“She can’t tell properly. I will tell” said the husband when I asked the patient what were her complaints. Right from the name, it was him who had answered all the questions for her.

“Does she have a speech problem?” I asked him.

“No” he replied, then the wife started telling her complaints.

The list was typical of stress related complaints: chronic aches and pains, sleep problems, lack of interest, tiredness, giddiness: a picture also frighteningly common among the youth today.

“What do you think is the main reason for your stress?” I asked, after I found that her examination was normal. The husband offered to wait outside, and she said yes.

Once he was out, the lady regained her composure, took in a deep breath, and folded her hands. “Doc, please don’t tell all this to him. I am terrified. My husband is a very angry person, and reacts very aggressively to small mistakes or whatever is against his wish. He was not this angry earlier, but he is under a lot of work pressure himself, so whenever he comes home, I think I have to accept this anger because he has no other place to vent his feelings. Even when he calls, he snaps at the smallest of things, scolds and insults me. On weekends he wants to be left alone and if at all I try to interact he has outbursts of anger. Earlier I thought that this was the beginning phase of his career, so I tolerated. But now my whole life revolves around this fear of his reactions. He treats other women very formally and mannerfully, but treats me like dirt”. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

She wasn’t alone. The phenomenon of wife being intimidated by anger of her husband is one of the most common relationship statuses in India. Even when 70 or 80 year old couples visit, the wife usually requests the doctor to advise her life partner of over 50 years to control his anger. Superiority and validity of anger of a man over a woman is so commonly accepted in India, that if some husband treats his wife equal, questions are raised as to his being “man-enough”. Paradox: I know of a wife who told her husband in their terminal fight before divorce: “May be you didn’t know how to handle a woman. Maybe you should have slapped and kicked me and treated me like my father treated my mom. They never had fights, because he knew how to shut her up”.

The implications of applying the Global western culture to an orthodox society are many, and mostly disastrous where human relationships are concerned. While some women proudly boast about the anger and domination of their husbands, and how ‘secure’ they feel about this ‘manliness’ that controls them, only a few realise how far away from true gender equality we all are. Growing up with “Princesses and Damsels in Distress” being rescued by “Knights In Shining Armours”, we have probably conditioned our minds too much to notice whether the Knight treated the Princess well in the “Happily Ever After”.

Let us not even talk about the “he-works-and-earns-so-naturally-tired-and-angry” type, or the “Highly-praises-his-wife-in-public-but-treats-her-like-dirt-at-home” type. The blind acceptance of what earlier generations considered normalcy and words in lieu of actions are both crimes we are all equally guilty of. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Implications of this angry husband? A woman who spends her life never growing up being herself, stays a slave to his whimsical outbursts of love playing a hide-and seek with humiliation and anger. Some do this while working and raising children, while some others do it sacrificing the high education and training they have taken, in the name of making a family.

Making a family also means happiness and freedom of thought, speech and action for a woman, responsibility sharing and respect towards the feelings of each other, but this is yet to dawn in many societies, where the bread winner automatically becomes the master and the remaining family members his slave. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

To be just, one must also mention that there indeed are women counterparts of this phenomenon, where the anger outbursts of a woman hold the entire family for an emotional ransom, where the husband and kids never can feel ‘at home’ in the one where she dwells. But fortunately this is rare.

There also are rare pleasures of meeting some brilliant couples who have mannerful and respectful attitude towards each other (not a show). They hold hands, stay together, and laugh genuinely, whether in public or at home. Those are the definitions of love. An occasional tiff may be unavoidable, but there’s rarely anything that cannot be resolved when the two in a relationship know the correct balance between words and silence. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Sometimes some diplomatic men boast with too many chests about their success and achievements, while mentioning in their speeches how their wife was their strength and how she is an ‘equal partner’ in their success, how they could succeed because ‘she looked after the family and kids’, just looking at the wife’s face tells volumes about the reality. My stupid mind is sometimes tempted to ask “Did she choose that or was her duty taken for granted?”.

As I counselled the couple, I realised that so many times we cannot fight deep rooted socio-cultural notions of gender inequality. In the age of rabid egos where there are more break ups than patch ups, where we know more words than feelings, where winning verbal argument is considered a superior ability to healing actions, it is becoming perpetually difficult to imagine that marital relationships will evolve any further unless immediate steps are taken to educate children right from school about the correct interpretation of gender equality and the incorrectness of what is being accepted as normalcy: “Anger Outbursts” under the pretext of being stressed or busy.

For anger or the presumption that it is justified against one’s life partner as a ‘soul venting’ mechanism are both unhealthy for everyone involved: a disease that has now become a pandemic.

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

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Sex? Shut Up!

Sex? Shut up!
They married in love, both highly placed software professionals. Their families didn’t agree, so they chose to stay away from parents in a different city, and had a sweet daughter soon. Ties with parents resumed to formalities.
She developed a neurological problem and became almost crippled at an early age of 28. Also lost bladder and bowel control, became diaper dependant. He now takes care of her and the daughter, struggling to cope up with his job responsibilities. To save, he cooks at home often. Parents on both sides refused to assist in any way. He is thus tied up 24/7 since last five years, and I witnessed the downfall of a normal, happy man alongside the medical tragedy that unfolded upon his wife. “She would also have cared the same for me if this had happened to me” he says.

They cannot have sex due to her medical condition. He does not want to deceive her. 

Last time, he broke down, talking alone to me. “Sir, people give weird suggestions. I want to have normal sex. I am starving since last 6 years. I don’t know what to do. Is it abnormal if I want to feel physical love? I can’t divorce her as even her parents have given her up, and I cannot even talk about this to her, it will hurt her. Saints, Law, society all advise so many things but don’t guide in my situation. It is very easy to advise celibacy to others. It was never my wish so I cannot accept that lifestyle. I was so full of life once, I am all suffocated now. There is no solution. Even talking about sex is a taboo in our country”.

I was used to the “relationship” concept in developed world, where it was common to see couples “break-up” far more easily after diagnosis of an incurable disease than in India, and sex is not “looked down upon” when others have it by choice. But any suggestions offered in this case would classify as “Immoral or Illegal” in India. A recent high-court judgement even equated one time sex with marriage and the compulsion thereof.
“One must find personal solace” is all that I could tell him, besides comforting him with kind words. 
This affects many women and men in our country, due to physical or mental illness, superstition (guilt about having sexual feelings) or accidents. Some realise “impotence” or incorrectable “sexual abnormalities” of their partner only after the marriage, and are doomed to an almost sexless life. There are many clinics / specialists who can help some, but this mostly goes on as an inevitable relentless suffering. Their cross is the perpetual answer “Shut Up and kill your desire” from almost everyone. Many Indian parents look down upon their married children who even discuss sex. Most merchants of morals disappear from this scene. Law has no answers, it is only judgmental about this. Intellectuals use wise philosophical wordplays but don’t dare to answer straight.
Any valid / practical / intellectual suggestions for such cases?

(c)Rajas Deshpande

“Wealth is Health”

“Wealth is Health”

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“Please don’t tell my wife Doctor”, requested the young husband who had had convulsions and was better now, “She does not know about my convulsions. Her sister also has convulsions, but we told nobody in our family has any such illness.”
Why? For superiority / Upper hand that he will always have over her, inducing a complex in her to get things his way.

_______________________

“I am getting married, Doctor” said this girl with a beaming smile.
“Great! Congratulations!!…Does your fiancé know you had a young stroke and are taking steroids?” I ask.
The Mother interrupts:
“No doctor.. we tried telling some because we wanted to be truthful… but then no one agreed to marry her.. I can’t afford not to marry her.. she is 26 now, and has recovered completely and this prospect is very good, well settled”.
“But you will have to disclose that she has an autoimmune disease that can cause blood clots, abortions, paralysis, paralysis etc…. She will face problems in future otherwise”.
“We will handle those problems later doctor. Her uncle is in Police. Once she is married, I don’t think her in-laws can do anything to her”.
________________________

“Doctor my Fiance’s family is coming to see you to ask about my illness… Please tell them everything is all right.. Tell them that this was a one time illness and I will not have blindness again”
“But you may have it again, it is not something one can predict or prevent”
“Do you plan to break a family doctor?” Asks an angry aunt.
“No, I want to help, but a doctor must not lie or falsely reassure”
“Ok then, we will go to our family doctor”
________________________

“Doc please don’t tell my father that he has a cancer… he will be scared to death”
________
“Doc Please don’t write there about my real illness, but I need atleast a week’s leave”
________
“Doc please don’t mention about my past illness, smoking, alcohol intake, drunk accident, diabetes, blood pressure etc. in my insurance papers”

So many illnesses that should not be hidden when you fix a match are hidden, lied about, and couples are happily married away until the “Honeymoon of Trust” ends and the “Hell of Allegations” reigns forever thereafter.

An illness is NOT always a patient’s fault, and everyone deserves dignity, support and best treatment. But with all this also comes the responsibility of sharing the truth that may affect any other person’s life. There are rare true lovers who marry knowing completely about partner’s illnesses, some where one partner is completely healthy. God bless their courage and love. But there are also many cases that once the wife develops any major health problem, she is sent back to her parents / brother to be taken care of, both medically and financially. I must also mention here that when the opposite happens, when the husband gets disability, mostly wife keeps working AND attending the husband’s health issues, looking after the family, and neglecting her own life, doomed to slavery.

But many Psychiatric issues, Neurological problems, Major childhood illnesses that can affect future health are hidden by most. Ongoing treatments are often not disclosed. Most educated people now know about common infections like HIV, HBsAg, MDR Tuberculosis etc. as diseases which need attention, but beyond these there are many other health conditions that need revealing and understanding when a prospective match is being made.

Habitual lying, temper tantrums, severe panic disorder, mood disorders form one end of this problem, while seizures /convulsions, cardiac rhythm disorders, liver and kidney problems, Sexual / Genital / Skin diseases, bleeding / clotting disorders, autoimmune diseases are the other. Head injuries and surgeries in the past, abortions, antipsychotics or some other drugs may increase the risk of future health problems in some.

While love marriages are encouraged, they are also confused with “Lust Marriages”, “Money Marriages” and “Family Marriages”, which will never survive health storms. In a country where in most cases a prospective couple does not interact with each other for more than a few “Heavily Guarded by 100 eyes” seconds, there is hardly any question of looking beyond a face much hidden behind gold. No wonder, considering that there are more associations denouncing and violently attacking Love rather than Terrorism in our country!

There are less examples of acceptance after disclosure of a health / psychiatric issue after marriage. Mostly divorce ensues. While the “Chill” people happily quote laws that allow divorces in such cases, nobody thinks of the scars that are being carved upon two hearts forever, scars that extend upon the face of our society! And the horror of such a marriage, if it does not end in separation but in perpetual quarrels and domestic violence, damages the futures of offsprings of this unfortunate union.

The next generation suffers in many ways when health issues are bypassed in a marriage: from genetic diseases to heavy quarrels and divorce among parents affecting the kids’ psyche permanently, from continuous health problems of one partner imprisoning the whole family and exploiting them directly or indirectly, to complete neglect of necessary healthcare, and so on.

No disease is bad, no patient is guilty, no doctor should lie.
In a “Health-Unconscious” Society, we not only need good support groups, we desperately need premarital counseling and screening.

The society should become better health conscious and more open about truth especially when health is concerned. A doctor has to respect both the patient and his / her privacy, but if someone else’s health is at risk because of a patient’s health condition, the role of a doctor is not well defined. Unless sought the doctor cannot reveal health facts, that too only with the permission of the patient. It is wise to discuss with your own doctor and accept reality.

For trust is the oxygen of any relationship based upon love.

©Dr. Rajas Deshpande

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