Surya Kant Jha hailed from Patna, Bihar and Mehak Kohli from Ludhiana, Punjab, both arrived in Indian capital of Delhi in search for greener pastures. Suryakant underwent a long rigorous period of trials and tribulations, finally succeeded in entering the portals of Supreme Court as a junior lawyer.
Mehak on account of her proficient management skills landed directly as a junior executive in a multinational corporation, her office located at South extension. Both belonged to lower middle class families. They had a providential meeting at a Khan Market posh restaurant, resulting in a close intimate friendship.
A few meetings away the chemistry of magnetic attraction casting its captivating charm culminating into a ecstatic alignment of hearts. They both decided to tie the nuptial knot.Euphoric charm of their brand new marriage plus their busy work schedules kept them on their toes. Slowly the things began to settle down and the marital bliss started sliding into a secondary position.
Surya belonged to an orthodox family, who were extremely religious minded, strictly following traditional values, norms, customs, rituals, rules and regulations.They were strict vegetarians. Mehak on the other hand honored observance of religious festivals but not to a highly congenial level of conduct for a daily disciplined decorum.She relished eating non-veg foods, specially chicken in any cuisine being her sumptuous weakness.Casually visiting temple to pay obeisance, without having any deep devotional divine faith.
Both entered into a unwritten, ‘gentleman’s agreement’, before marriage that except for prohibition of cooking non-veg food at home, its consumption would not be a hurdle in any manner in their sacred marital alliance.For several years Surya lived in Model Town area of North Delhi, being well acquainted with the area and environment decided to continue staying there for the time being.
Shakuntla Devi, Surya’s mother who lived with her relatives in Bihar, expressed profound desire to join her son and daughter in law at Delhi. Surya and Mehak were overjoyed at the prospect of having the old lady among their midst.
They eagerly made necessary preparations for ensuring her stay as a comfortably enjoyable experience.Soon graceful lady arrived for joining her newly wedded children.She had a enthusiastic reception at New Delhi railway station, and thereafter being pleasantly accommodated in their home.She quickly well adjusted to her new surroundings, finding her daughter in law courteously compatible with her tastes and preferences.
Spending time was no problem for Shakuntla Devi, since she kept herself busy with various household chores, visiting the local temple and socializing with ladies in her neighborhood. After a few days the long celebration season, intervening the pious period of Dussehra-Diwali festivities arrived.
‘Navratri’ the relished nine days are celebrated with zealous religious fervor. Many Hindus follow a strict regimen of ritualistic rituals for appeasing gods during this period. In precincts of several households even the onions and garlic are declared out of bounds.
Mehak who occasionally brought home packed food, including relishing chicken preparations from Mcdonalds, KFC or Pizza-hut.During one of these pious holy days, she came home late after completing her pending tasks.She brought some chicken which as usual she consumed alone. Thereafter she casually dumped the chicken bones wrapped in aluminum foil into a garbage can lying in the kitchen.
Her mother in law, an early riser entered the kitchen next dawn, on smelling something fishy, decided to investigate. After searching here and there, she soon traced its source. On opening the garbage can unearthed the neatly wrapped chicken bones.
This was sufficient for Shankuntla to raise a alarm as though lightning had struck her unknowingly.The developing situation ensuing a scene no less than an aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. The graceful old lady traversing all boundaries of decency, thundered accompanied by powerful bolts of lightning,
“How dare you Mehak, by indulging in such act of sacrilege, defiled my lifetime’s treasured reverential beneficence.
My atonement by devotional prostrating at all the “sixty eight sacred shrines”, spread across the country, would be insufficient for my exoneration”.
In these combative circumstances there was no choice before the thunderstruck daughter in law, but to abdicate from her husband’s house. Her husband, clutching precariously on the horns of dilemma, failed to pacify the situation in any manner.
She lodged a police complaint against this perpetration of atrocious domestic violence. We had no choice but to register her complaint and launch investigations.
This bedlam continued unabated leading to the inevitable fait accompli, in the form of the ultimate divorce. Thus a few Chicken bones, not only became ‘ A Bone Of Contention ‘, between husband and his wife, but a pivotal triggering cause for an irreversible, unbridgeable fissure in their loving relations.
Habitual delicacy of relishing a chicken dish proved deadly for delicate human relationships, consequently proving a cause for divorce.
(Author is the former Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police. Names are altered, for protecting privacy of individuals. The article is based on a true anecdote, during his posting at SPU (women and children) in 2007-10.)