The Onion Peel
by Kritika Ajmani
Flashback (January 2009) - Sitting in the amphitheater of my college on a beautiful winter evening over a cup of tea, I sat with a person very dear to me talking about relationships in general when he said, “No matter what relationship two people are in, there should always be a distance of an onion peel between them.” I looked at him and with a confused expression, I let the conversation hang there. Honestly, I did not get his point back then. We are at different intellectual levels altogether; I was, still am and will always be dumb when compared to him.
Present (September 2015) - Sitting with a book in hand on a recliner in my uncle’s backyard in US, his words brewed a vision in my mind; the peel was what protected the onion from rotting. Do relationships too need an onion peel to stop them from decaying? Or is it just a person’s way to break free from the responsibilities of a commitment? Is it really that simple?
Paper thin, translucent and delicate - these are the first few words that come to my mind when I think about the object in question - an onion peel. These are the first few words that I can also associate with a relationship between two people - be it friends, lovers, husband and wife, parents and children or siblings.
This has nothing to do with being commitment phobic or that someone loves you halfheartedly. This is about that cocoon that a person retires to at the end of
the day which when stepped into can shatter the walls because more often than not the space is too less. This is about that circle that a pearl makes when it falls in the calm lake which when broken can cause a lot of commotion in the still waters.
More often than not, we tend to step into someone else’s cocoon in the name of love and end up crammed in a space originally meant for one. Result is a tug of war for space between once “very happy to be together” people. The bed of roses gives way to a path of thorns that really is a pain to the people who are walking on it because most of the time they love each other way too much to just break away.
What makes us go berserk for some else’s space? Why do we suddenly need to poke our noses and smell everything in the other person’s closet? When do we start disrespecting the other person’s boundaries? The final question - why does it sting so bad when someone asks for space?
When it comes to this issue, being a commitment phobic does not help. You are vouching for concepts like personal space, freedom and no strings attached; while in the hindsight you are full aware of the fact that you are an emotional fool - the problem that made you commitment phobic in the first place. That being another concern altogether, it still forces one to make a biased opinion, which I have sincerely tried to avoid. ***