Marriages are made in heaven, they say. It's better if it stays there, I think.
I do not have a problem with people getting married or the concept of marriage per se. My problem is with the way it is construed as. Marriage has acquired the nature of being 'universally applicable', i.e., every one must getting married, the society thinks. At least, the society that I have seen and am a part of. I do not convince people to not get married. But I will appreciate if some one is not forced to get married either. It’s like my religious practices. I do not try and stop people I know from going to temples. But why are eyebrows raised when I tell people that I do not believe in temples? Worse, people think I am an atheist. So much from an educated set of people!
I have had umpteen number of discussions with friends and relatives, who have asked me to get ‘settled down’ in life. GOD knows what settling down means. If settling down means getting married, then why is it a function of age and not financial standing? Mallu guys are supposed to get married at about 28 years, irrespective of at what juncture of life they are at. How strange! The family of a 25+ unmarried girl is surely in a state of panic most of the times. Sad, sulky moods will characterize the girl’s parents’. Surely, in at least 80 out of 100 cases. I have personally seen quite a few.
To my mind, marriage is an over-hyped concept. Probably the most over-hyped. So over-hyped that people are literally obsessed when a person reaches ‘marriageable’ age. All discussions in that household surrounds around alliances. That is, assuming it’s a case of arranged marriage. The entire world seems so concerned when someone is not able to get a proper alliance. At social functions, the conversations are overshadowed by networking details of eligible prospects. The stares and questions of the society become so difficult to handle that the person in case even stops attending social functions in few cases. I can go on with the ordeals faced by such ‘victims’. Victims, in my eyes that is.
Let me now go one step ahead. Thinking and hyper-active minds (and believe me, they are rare) should not get married at all for their own sake and more importantly, for others’ sake. Marriage surely ties one down to a large extent. Married people deny this always, but do they have a choice? The worst argument I get is – you got to get married to talk about it. My left foot...
Why can’t marriage be treated as a choice? Like which stream of education/career we take. Like which organization we join. Like which trouser we buy. Like which car we drive. So, either I get married or do not get married. A simple choice! But so difficult to ‘survive’ if the choice is the latter. There are more choices if one needs – live-ins, flings, etc etc.
I like asking married people few questions. It has been one of my favorite rituals over the last couple of years. I ask every married person whether they are happy to be married. I have asked this to friends, professors, relatives, bosses, colleagues. Some had married just recently and some for more than 25 years. To be fair, the consensus answer has been YES. I smile, as I am doing now. My second question has always been – when and why did you decide that you had to get married? On getting a surprised face, I clarify. Why did you join this organization where you are working? I get a detailed answer. Similarly, why did you get married? Hmm.. uhhh.. well.... what an irrelevant question it is, I hear. I smile again. On insisting for an answer, the conversation broadly runs like this:
Need for a companion, you know. You mean, suddenly at the age of 27/28 you needed a companion? Out of the blue? Who were your companions till then? What happened to them? All of them went out of your lives? At the same time?
No you don’t understand. Need for a life partner. To share every thing with some one. To feel cared. To care for some one. When I come home after a hard day’s job, I need some one to care about me. I keep staring at them, smiling all the way. Typically, at 27/28 one must have got settled, after years of real struggle and slogging. At the most volatile times, one did not need a ‘companion’, suddenly out of thin air where does the need arise from? At a time, when your life is relatively steady. Can someone please educate me on this point?
Exactly. One needs to move onto the next level of life. After being steady, you need to take on social responsibilities, you know. Good point. Very valid point. Social responsibilities – and how do you take care of it? By getting married! By closing out your life from the larger responsibilities? By being more inward looking?
But who says you cannot help the society after marriage? True. But not more than if you were single, if time and money is what we are talking about here.
Things get heated up by now. This is ridiculous yaar. You can’t force your views on me. Agreed. I am just asking about the feelings that led you to marriage and how it helped you in being happy.
Well, I did not want to bring this point up. But since you are pushing me to the wall, I have to. Physical satisfaction is also important for human beings, you see. I am sure you understand what I mean. I do. You need a legitimate way of having sex. The most socially acceptable way. This is absurd. What a narrow minded and dirty view. Uh? What did I say! Was adding to your argument.
Any ways... The point is, if marriage is about companionship and/or physical pleasure, then the logical time to get married is when you are in your teens, when both these needs and urges are at the peak. Not when you are entering your mid-life.
This is your age talking. Let’s see when your time of getting married comes. I will ask about all of this on that day. Ha ha ha...
What a stupid way of running off a discussion.
I have seen a lot of married couples moving out from their parents’ homes. They then meet their parents very infrequently. Priorities change after marriage, they say. Parents need their children most when they are getting old. And we are out to seek happiness in marriage. How superficial!
The biggest irony in all this is parents are the most thrilled in getting their son/daughter married. And the same parents later whine and crib that their children do not take care of them or spend enough time with them. Wasn’t that supposed to happen? The ideal case is an exception.
I have not even started to talk about love and arranged marriages! Some other time, may be.
Just a question to end this with – In how many cases out of 100 do parents sit down with the son/daughter to discuss whether he/she wants to get married and related issues? 30, at best 40. For others, it is supposed to 'just happen' at an age. At 3, you go to play-school. At 16, join college. At 25, start earning. And at 28, get married. Simple... unfortunately.