The Fountain Of Bakhchisarai

The Mariinsky Theatre, the home of the Mariinsky Ballet, was a fertile birth place for world premieres of great works by Russian legends such as Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. A highlight of my visit to St Petersburg, I managed to score a free ticket to the Fountain Of Bakhchisarai, a ballet inspired by the poet, Alexander Pushkin. Act 1: The story starts with the abduction of Maria, a beautiful Polish noblewoman whose handsome bridegroom was killed by a band of Tatars led by Khan Ghirei. Act 2: The Khan falls in love with Maria, mesmerised by her beauty, but she spurns his love. Act 3: His favourite concubine, Zarema kills Maria in a rage upon finding the Khan’s hat in her bedroom. Act 4: The mournful Khan orders his guards to throw Zarema off the palace balcony. The end.

Love triangles always end in a mess. Yet, extra-marital affairs are as common as the common cold. As infectious as a winter flu. As irresistible as a plate of Penang Char Koay Teow. Why can’t urghhlings inhibit this urge? Do we feel lucky? That we can get away with it? The newfound lover too attractive to deny, and excitement of a fresh relationship too invigorating to refuse? A new body too stimulating to resist? To lust for something more lasting?

Despite the high price that has to be paid, yes, divorces are expensive, statistics show about 60% of Italian men and almost 50% of British men cheat on their partners at least once.

1. It isn’t always about sex, but well, it will always lead to sex. Other causes that lead to extramarital affairs are:

2. People fall in love with the fantasy about the other person. Someone they imagine will meet their every need.

3. People fall in love with a new image of themselves. An image that’s receiving praise and validation from the other person. They satisfy an otherwise emotional void.

4. People get intoxicated by the feeling when they are with the other person. Three chemicals are released when we are in love: dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin, all these chemicals make us feel happy and excited. Which is why we love to be in love.

5. Boredom. People nowadays are more adventurous, more confident of themselves and enjoy financial independence. They are more easily bored and do not hesitate to satisfy their curiosity about another person.

6. There’s also revenge sex, people seeking an affair are wanting to exact revenge on their cheating partner.

But, as in the Fountain Of Bakhchisarai, the story doesn’t end well for most love triangles. Affairs usually bring about anxiety over being caught, fear of abandonment by the spouse and kids, jealousy, stress and depression. There are cases of deaths from murder-suicides by jealous ex’s, but mainly the deaths are those of marriages. Divorce rates are frighteningly high in modern societies. Divorces are costly both in terms of our health and finances. Failed marriages usually result in feelings of anger, resentment, guilt, despair, depression and emotional breakdowns. The breakup of the family is perhaps the biggest price paid. Unlike the breakup of the marital assets, the agony and trauma their children experience cannot be priced in monetary terms. Yet, urghhlings continue in real life to act out the Fountain Of Bakhchisarai.

The Khan falls in love with Maria
Fighting the Tatars

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