Long Distance Relationships

Since childhood, I starkly recall the tears and goodbyes each time my father left to defend the borders of our country. Sure we missed him, but other than that, what it really entailed– including bringing up the children or managing a home alone– those repercussions never really impacted us much. So, even though the concept of long-distance relationships is not new or alien to me, the impact of the trials and tribulations of day-to-day living without your partner only hit me when I stood face to face with them in my own marriage.

Oblivious to the outside world, we lived a sheltered life in a small backward town in Uttar Pradesh, where my husband ran his industry. All seemed manageable and well till my daughter turned five and was ready for school. After a rather traumatic hit-and-miss attempt at boarding school, I had no choice but to shift to the serene and picturesque hill station we’d chosen for her school. Usually, I would’ve been ecstatic at being away from a joint family, amidst so much beauty, except that that meant living alone with my five-year-old.

Never had I ever lived on my own and taken care of anyone else – my mom always did that for us. I didn’t even know the names of dals, leave aside learning how to cook – for the staff always did that. It was a nightmare! There were no mobile phones back then, and calls had to be booked through telephone operators to be able to talk to one another, with a maximum talking time of six minutes. There was no television to speak of, with Krishi Darshan and movie songs being the only popular telecasts. Dropping in at the neighbours was a 15-minute walk through the hills. I did all of that from when I was just 25, starry-eyed and filled with Mills and Boon ideas of romance, for the next ten years, till my elder daughter finished schooling, and I not only survived but learned to live.

There is a saying that goes,

“If you want to live together, you first need to learn how to live apart”

Despite times being simpler with gadgets, machines and other lifestyle conveniences, life today is much more complicated. Mobile phones are great to have, but we have round-the-clock access to each other– video calls and texting so that one can’t escape minute-by-minute tracking of one another. To many, it may be the most significant measure and the epitome of love, but with time it gets intrusive and stressful. In all of this, what only matters is not how many times one calls the other, but the fact that are you or will you be there for me when I need you?

Being together in the same home doesn’t always mean the relationship is beautiful. We lived in the same house together but could not even sit next to each other or exchange words in front of our family. There is much more anticipation, excitement and mystery in a long-distance relationship. For when you meet, all the distance fades, and you both are in the moment, together, giving your best to each other. Just holding hands, going for a walk together, or simply talking and listening to each other way into the night; these moments make for the shared, glee-filled lasting memories.

Together or apart, each relationship continues to grow and change as each one of us evolves over time. Of course, there are jealousies, insecurities, and doubts, especially when we’re away from each other. The trick is to constantly reassure one another of our love, commitment and loyalty. We need to find things to do ‘together’, although apart – through dialogue, reading the same books, watching the same movies and then discussing them later.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder and is not just a cliched quote repeated into oblivion. It’s a conscious choice made daily– a feeling of being so connected that the miles in between cease to matter. You are so secure in each other and yet free to follow your individual passions and pursuits. It is utterly essential to be in a committed relationship and still continue to remain true to ourselves.

But then, these are just my musings.
~Angels’ Musings