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PATRALIKA CHATTOPADHYAY

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 7/15/2015 |



Songsoptok: ‘Marriage is a lifelong symphony with one central theme but the music is played in anew everyday’ – this is a rough translation of a line from a short story by Rabindranath Tagore. Do you feel that this comment, made in a period dominated by Victorian romanticism, is true today?
PATRALIKA:  Yes

Songsoptok: What, in your opinion, is the real chemistry of an intimate relationship? Do you think that the social institution of marriage is based on that chemistry?
PATRALIKA: Trust & understanding. Yes

Songsoptok: What according to you are the main factors for keeping marital relationship alive and healthy?
PATRALIKA: Sharing of common interests & open & honest communication.

Songsoptok: Very often we see that a happy marital relationship results when one of the partners surrender to the other’s ego. Do you think this is how it should be? Especially since it is most often the woman that surrenders to the man, or more generally to the patriarchal system?
PATRALIKA: Partially correct in today’s society but not completely. Success lies in creating a balance where both get importance without constant clashing of egos.

Songsoptok: Tolstoy said in his story THE KREUTZER SONATA “... a marriage without love is no marriage at all, that only love sanctifies marriage, and that the only true marriage is that sanctified by love”. We all agree that this is how it should be. That there should not be a tragic end to any marriage. What is the reason then for the increasing number of divorces in all societies?
PATRALIKA: Partners are not ready for any kind of adjustments. Many are afraid of the responsibilities & committments that a true marraige demands.

Songsoptok: By the word ‘marriage’ we generally think of a well defined relationship built on the tenet of spending the entire life together. Do you think that this in itself creates a type of suffocation which leads to break-ups and divorces?
PATRALIKA: If the relationship is strong & healthy feeling of suffocation should not be there.

Songsoptok: In a very general way, marriage is understood as the cohabitation of man and woman with a view to reproduction. Can this narrow and very physical dimension be the essence of marriage? Doesn’t the success of marriage depends also on a communion between the personality, psychology and above all the soul of the married couple? What is your opinion? Do you think that in modern society such a definition of marriage is relevant and realistic?
PATRALIKA:   It is not only the physical dimension, though it does play an important role but it is actually a harmonious & balanced communion between two people in question.

Songsoptok: It seems that in today’s society the clash of personalities, especially within marriage, is an unpleasant reality. Almost 100 years back, D.H.Lawrence said in Lady Chatterley's Lover “The modern cult of personality is excellent for friendship between sexes, and fatal for marriage”. In other words, he thought that the development of woman’s personality is actually a hindrance to successful marriage. What is your opinion? Do you think that it is the inability of the patriarchal society to tolerate the independence of women the main reason for the marital conflicts in today’s society?
PATRALIKA:  To a certain extent yes but not fully. The woman herself has an immensely important role to play in creating a niche for herself in the society in general & in her partner’s life in particular.

Songsoptok: Do you think that society perceives a divorced man and woman in the same way? Most of the time we see that the woman is blamed for not making the necessary compromises. So the implicit assumption is that the success of a marriage is directly related to the woman’s capacity to compromise. What is you view?
PATRALIKA:  No.In our patriarchal society generally the blame is on the woman, though I feel it is changing.

Songsoptok: Do you think that divorce affects the conscious and the subconscious of the children? What, according to you, could be the effect of a divorce in their adult lives, positive or negative?
PATRALIKA: I feel it does affect a child most of the time negatively. I strongly feel for a perfect upbringing of a child, presence & involvement of both parents are extremely important. With very few exceptions generally parental divorce has a negative effect on a childs adult lives. But this also depends at what age of the child the parents decide to part ways. If the child is mature enough he or she may be able to handle it better.

Songsoptok: Generally it is the mother who takes care of the children following a divorce. Although children need their mother more while growing up, what kind of impact can the absence of a father figure have on a growing child? So what according to you should be the role of the mother?
PATRALIKA: Like I said both parents are equally important. I have seen father taking care of their 3 daughters & 1 son when their mom left. So it really depends on the family, situation & the people in question.

Songsoptok: What according to you could be the impact of the growing number of divorces on the next generations? Or do you think this is the way tomorrow’s society will evolve?
PATRALIKA: Today’s younger generation is truely afraid to take the plunge not only because of the increasing number of divorces but also they are scared to make the committment & take responsibilities.


Dr. PATRALIKA CHATTOPADHYAY: RESEARCH SCIENTIST: THE DEPARTMENT OF GENETICS. UNIVERSITY OF DELHI.



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