Marriage... A dark phenomenon that I fear would eventually happen in my life ever since I turned 18. Back in the safe years of my early teenage life, during an occasion as such as my cousin’s wedding, I remember all the aunties pulling my leg by saying, “In a couple of years it’ll be your turn to get married beta”.. And I would be mortified as if those aunties have declared a date for my death sentence. Yet I would be cheeky enough to retort “Please aunty, I’m still 16 and I’ve got a good 10 years before me to LIVE. Let us not remind one another of the suffocations of marriage”. Saying so, I would pat the auntie’s hand sympathetically, purposefully making her feel like she is suffering through her nose ever since she got married. This was a cool technique to escape the “marriage” questions from over whelming aunties during my post-teen years.
But now, things are starting to change and I’m not at all happy about it. In a couple of weeks I’ll be 23 and according to the big Indian ritualistic society, this is the “right/ripe” time and age for a girl to get married and sail the sinking ship of family, in-laws, kids, and other burdensome responsibilities.
Last year, in one of our lively family discussions at home, the marriage topic started to crop up (yet again). Let me tell you, before I reached 20, the marriage topic would rise up in my surroundings every once or twice a year max and that too by my dad just to see me go all resentful. It was a simple matter of dad having a good laugh by making me angry.
But now, even dad talks about the topic quite seriously and I have a strong suspicion on my mom who has a tendency to speak her words through my dad whenever she wants some info to sink into my mind. I barely listen to my mom’s constant chattering and hence my dad’s words has become her weapon to disrupt my lazy, headache-free life.
“This is the right time to get married, it’ll be difficult to find better (young!) Boys once you start crossing 25”, one of the most common dialogues spoken by my mom whenever the marriage topic arises. And I obviously would scoff at her, “Oh please mom, you got married when you were 26 or something, stop preaching something that even you have not done. It’s not like the moment I turn 25 I would become a grandma!!”
And she would sigh and explain slowly as if she is teaching basic math to a very slow person, “But our generation was very different form yours. Back then, especially in Brahmin community girls got married late and men usually married when they crossed 30 years of age. But now, even, boys are standing on their toes to get married at an age of 24 to 25. If you cross 25, you will have to look at men who are nearing 30 or above because, younger men would definitely be looking at girls who are 21 to 23 years of age”. (Even typing this is making my head hurt!!)
This would leave me shouting at the top of my voice, “it’s not my fault if all the men have suddenly turned womanish and sissy and wants to get married so soon” and that would make my mom shake her head and irritably sigh and say stuff like “I don’t know when you’ll start to think maturely” or “I hope god puts some sense in your head soon”.
According to me, marriage is like a drug with a lot of side-effects. At first it’ll be filled with all the goody-goody feelings which would arrive due to the intense camouflaged effects such as expensive gifts, many initial dates at expensive restaurants followed by even more gifts and jewellery. No girl would ever completely agree to live a life without any of afore mentioned materialistic life-style. Well, there are of course a lot of totally selfless women out there (my respect to them, Period.), but let’s just stick to the typical cosmopolitan Indian woman!
And let’s not forget all the wonderful sugar coating done by the groom to be. A simple “wow, you are making me spell-bound, you look simply wonderful” is enough to make a woman’s heart melt and in turn make her swoon over the guy.
But if I happen to think logically, this whole arrange marriage thing is like a stage, all getting set for some serious drama with a lot of fake dialogues. Come on, meeting up with a man you have never met before just because his family is rich and well to do and of course same caste as yours? And listening to the man’s hobbies and his career and his dream just because you have no other choice but to talk and know him coz your parents think it’s a good idea? Okay, in a way it’s not all that weird. But in a lot many other ways, isn’t that such a pain in the ass?
I feel that there are only two things why men go for arranged marriage: sex and parent’s happiness. Parent’s happiness may not be so mandatory, but sex is. May be that’s why many men today are standing on their feet to get married so soon? So that, they can end up having legal sex!! And what’s in an arranged marriage for a woman? S3- safety, security and sex. (I will be lying if I state only men go for arranged marriage for the sake of sex!!).
Yeah, talk about safety and security. An unmarried man can lead a very safe and secure life throughout his existence, but can an unmarried woman live in the same way in our so called Indian society? NO. The society treats an unmarried woman with deprived respect. It goes to the lengths of calling her a prostitute or even a black witch for that matter. It’s just totally disgusting and ugly but this is the kind of society we are currently living in. We may be all technically forward but ethically, especially when it comes to treating a woman right, our society sucks even today.
|A scene from the movie Monster-in-law|
So when once the initial drug effects of this so called arrange marriage wears off, the side effects start to creep in. At first a woman would be like, “wow, I’m marrying this wonderful man, his rich house and his cool English accent” and once the initial honeymoon effects wear off, the woman gets pregnant, followed by one, two, three or more kids’ (count in all the labour pain the woman has to go through!!).The woman would wake up one day and while she is in one of her daily process of changing her son’s diaper along with cooking breakfast and fighting with her other son to eat up his veggies and forcing him into his school uniform and to add to the baggage, she has to endure all the fuss thrown in from her dearest mother-in-law who is a superior being when it comes to house-hold and looking after kids, and that’s when... that is when she will realize “wouldn’t life be much, much more peaceful had I lead a single life till now? God, what was I thinking?”
Okay, now before all the happily married women who are reading this would start arguing with me, let me just say, No, I’m not blind. I can see having a family with a good husband, nice kids and loving (yet, sometimes fussy) in-laws seem like a picture perfect moment in any woman’s life. I agree. But still, my feminist/ free-spirited/ independent side of me tends to disagree.
What about a woman’s dream? Her career? Her growth in the ladder called “success”?? Does a man quit his job to look after the new-born baby while the woman goes back to work? It’s always we women who have to sacrifice our dreams isn’t it? Ok, having kids is also a dream come true, but come on, all those years of attending classes, buttering up to the lecturers to get good marks, sucking up to our bosses at work to get an early promotion... you think only men do all this? Even we have done all these and one day when we get married, a whole package of new circumstances rise up in our lives and it’s us women who have to adjust and compromise in order to make ends meet at the ‘happily-ever- after-family-strategy’!!
This all sounds good for a woman who has seen early success in life. You know... that first bench girl who used score out of out in every test that people like you and I struggled so hard to scrape a pass. For such ambitious women, getting married early and having kids early is a piece of cake. They can always get back on the career wagon whenever they please as they will surely receive a red carpet welcome from the major IT industries.
But what about women like us? The last time I saw a “first class with distinction” on my marks card ended six years ago, on my tenth board exam!! Now all I see on my semester marks card is a mere pass on a second class level, which I don’t mind as long as I stay above water and a get a degree certificate. Yeah, I know how my near future is being drawn right now... I can see myself scouting in front of every IT companies just for an entrance test and IF I’m lucky, I’d land myself a JOB in about 2 years. Such is my fate for sporting second class marks cards on my resume.
Keeping this resume as a fly-swatter, mommy dearest and other aunties in my family dare to come to me with the abhorring dialogues, “So what if you can’t get a job. Get married and lead a head-ache free life. You don’t have to earn. We’ll make sure you are given to a well-to do family!!”
Arrgh!! Its dialogues like these that make my BP rise above my head. According to them, if a girl has scored averagely in her education, the simple solution is for her to get married and be a bionic mom or something.
“So what if you don’t have a career life;
Get married and become a house-wife!”
The other day, I was having the same conversation with my friend and he said, “You girls have no worries; regardless of the marks your score you can easily get married and settle down. But for us guys, we have to earn first to get married later”. For which I very rightly said, “Huh! Don’t act like all the women species get married coz they don’t have a job. In a couple of years, if I don’t land in any IT job, I’ve decided that I’d work in a coffee-shop rather than succumb to the poisonous ivy called marriage”. My friend sarcastically retorted, “Then I guess marriage is off the cards for you!!” making me retort (for some unknown reason) defensively, “I never said I never want to marry, I will only succumb to the inevitable once I’m happy with my career, which is still a long way for me.” Making my friend to roll his eyes and say, “let’s see how far you’ll go to keep your word!”
I don’t know what is going to happen in a couple of years, but right now, my independent integrity is pumping my blood from my heart and is pushing me in the right direction. Well away from the web of marriage that is!!
P.S: You might wonder why I’ve failed to mention the possibilities of the love marriage... Well that topic is a total path waverer and I simply don’t want to elongate this post with further ludicrous stuff!!