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New Year is always perceived as the dawn of new expectations for many people, ranging from the bad endings associated with the previous years to the New Year resolutions. Last year had been devastating for every family member; the magnitude of the devastation was evident by the notable effects on family unity and cohesion, things that are core towards a unified existence of any family and the larger society. Because of this, the bright anticipations associated with the dawn of 2012 were almost limitless. Despite the apocalyptic nature associated with 2012, desolations were least expected during this New Year. The least expected during the New Year celebrations on 3 January 2012 was a shocking occurrence, especially during the positive and high expectations of a happy family unit during the coming days of 2012. One would not expect the delivery of bad news during such a time; in addition, delivering of bad news when it is least expected poses devastating effects than if it is delivered in anticipation. One can only picture the extent of distress and perplexity when Uncle Jack delivered the news of his divorce after the New Year Celebration on 3 January 2012.

The least one would anticipate from a close-knit Indian family, which had esteemed values that were always high among the family members and the larger community, is the instance of a divorce. My uncle’s family has been an inspiration to me, and usually idolized the way the family conducted itself and its unity. Nobody could believe the realm behind the tragic news of my uncle’s divorce, and I took it as a personal initiative to assess the scenario at the family set up prior to coming to terms with the news of divorce.

“Hey people, I got an announcement to make!”

Uncle Jack interrupted the celebrations. This is a normal incident during happy celebrations and we were expecting commentary on the unity and strength of the family. My uncle was always in a jolly mood and carried himself with full confidence and composure, and this case was no different. Then the shocking news of the divorce followed.

“My wife Patricia and I are getting divorced!”

Everybody was silent; the New Year celebrations were no longer significant. I could not figure out the reason for the divorce; according to me, that was the happiest family I have ever witnessed. It could not just worsen the statistics relating to the increasing cases of divorce in the country.

“Why?”

I interrupted in a rather desolate tone, expressing the dissatisfaction with the divorce and perhaps suggesting ways that could be used to mend the torn marriage and family.

My uncle and his wife Patricia have been married for 10 years, reasonably enough to conclude that a marriage is happy. Every person thought that the marriage was a fairly tale wedding, perhaps they were wrong at that moment, and right 10 years later. Uncle Jack and Patricia met while in Stanford when on an internship together. Their relationship ended in marriage, and they were blessed with two children, Eve and Smith. From a personal outlook, the family was obviously happy, and symptoms of family break-ups could not be observed. Patricia was always adherent to her duties as mother, and had a caring and welcoming heart.

“Hey Natasha, how is the New Year coming along?”

Patricia posed in her jovial tone as usual, depicting his care and concern as a parent. I lacked a precise answer to the question, possibly because of the pending divorce with my uncle.

It makes it difficult to conclude what constitutes a happy marriage, especially when a family that I idolized is in the verge of collapse. I had to review my viewpoints regarding the recipe for a happy marriage and family, with the main objective of avoiding cases of divorce. Perhaps, there are greater and intrinsic factors at play beyond the jovial outlook, which determines the happiness of a family. 

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