I am sitting next to a middle-aged woman on a flight from Vienna to London
We are both returning from a common friend’s wedding and we are both Indian. Admittedly, this is reason enough for us to have a heart to heart exchange and share our family secrets with each other. The fact that Kavita is closer to my mother’s age than mine is by no means an impediment to our conversation, which is heartening.
Kavita’s husband is headed to the US directly from Austria while she intends to spend a few days with her daughter in London. Having arrived at the wedding two days later than scheduled, he left for the US the very next morning. Kavita is visibly upset about this. She tells me that she feels disconnected from him. I am not sure I want her to place such implicit faith in me and share her connubial problems with me, but she does. Kavita tells me that after her kids left for college, she began to leave her husband for long spells at a time when she traveled to see friends and family in distant places. This isn’t expected of a good wife or daughter-in- law from her community and her husband isn’t too pleased by her need for “space” as she puts it. “But I am in my fifties, I do not feel the need to conform. He travels for work and lives his life. I have to live mine,” she says unapologetically.