Wednesday, 3 November 2010

If Marriage wasn’t the way it is

I have, by now, seen at least a few dozen marriages, known double that number of couples. But I have known a few very closely. Take the one I was born out of and the one I am living in, for example.  
I am on Erich Segal’s Doctors – a few pages every night before I crash – since two months or more. It’s progressing at a snail’s pace, but that is because it’s making me mull over what I read every few pages.
Laura, the protagonist’s parents are well past their 50s and will be separating a few pages hence. Her deeply religious mother now wants to spend the rest of her life in the nunnery, while her father, a doctor, wants to devote the rest of his life to the service of humanity. Laura is barely in her mid-20s, is the only child (her younger sister died of malaria) and still graduating from Harvard med school. She feels betrayed and orphaned by this unanticipated decision made by the people who meant "home" to her. While my heart went out for our dear heroine, Erich Segal held me from chastising her apparently avant-garde parents. Instead I admired them for their courage. It needs enormous courage to walk out of matrimony and when couples at Laura's parents' age do it – you know it wasn’t a whimsical decision. They are “parents”, well past their heydays, yet want to make the best of whatever life is left in them. And that is exactly what I admire.
I am not slandering the institution of marriage in any way. Nor am I advocating divorces. What unsettles me is the way we live marriages...especially in our part of the world. 
Many a bride walks up to the mandap with this gut feeling that she should instead elope but “what will happen to the guests?” “My father’s reputation?”. And within minutes she’s married.
You realize you’ve made the hugest mistake of your life by landing yourself in that marriage, but you think “it might get better with time”, “now that we’re married….”.
Your husband is a wife basher / Your wife is in an extra-marital relationship and both have absolutely no mutual respect left. You crib, yell, beat one another up. But you still continue to coexist under that same roof. “What will happen to the kids”!
The marriage is a mess, but you still “reproduce” hoping to find an anchorage in your child. (HOW INSENSITIVE!)
All I ask is WHY?
The peaking graph of divorces do not depress me – what does is the recklessness of the couples when they tie the knot in the first place. Even marriages of convenience where the couples manage to strike an equation are fine. What infuriates me is when couples whine and whimper, download their excruciating traumas on others, expect them to make things better, give them hope when there is none. Why spend a lifetime in misery when you very well have a choice? Which brings me to my conclusion…if marriage wasn’t the way it is (say, in India), we would have known more people live happily ever after. Marriage is an extension, not an end. If you aren't happy - the people you think you are making a sacrifice for - will not be happy either! Get a life for gods sake!


Nilotpal Das said...

I have rarely seen you take sides in your blog. Usually you talk about both the sides of the story. And I perhaps expected you to talk about why Marriage is good just the way it is towards the end. I was a little disappointed.

The write up was good, don't get me wrong, but it gives a feeling that you are not happy with the strong commitment that the Indian Marriage system brings.

This system is based on the idea that it should not be 'too easy' for you to break the bond. The entire society and the culture is built around this idea that marriage is a lifetime commitment.

It brings sincerity. It makes you think really hard before you take the plunge (in or out of it).

Of course people make mistakes of falling for a colleague. Of course there are struggles in a marital system. But those are oddities and should not be considered during the construction of a social system.

The most visible downside of not having a strong commitment would be what if only one of the parties wants to walk out.

Commitment brings faith, contentment and so happiness. I will end this comment with just one question. How would you feel if you never knew for sure when your husband might walk out of your life?

Ann Dee said...

Are we together because it'd suck to go to the lawyer and get a divorce? If marriage wasn't the way it is, will couples not continue coexisting?

I agree I sound biased. But it wasn't disrespecting the institution of marriage - it was urging people to break free if something...even if it's the sacred bond of stifling them! To have courage to do what their hearts say is the right thing to do!

And yes, the next one will be about the beauty of matrimony! :)

Nilotpal Das said...

Marriage is inconvenient. Heck two people deciding to live under one roof is inconvenient. Best of friends end up in a fight when they decide to live under one roof.

We decide to compromise on all the things that we have learnt or have been used to since childhood and decide to live together. It is the commitment that keeps us going during those delicate / angry moments.

Every now and then we feel we were better off as bachelors. We reminisce the good ol' days. But we still go on.

The truth is too much freedom is not good. Just like parents bind us to studies as kids and schools have a mandatory attendance percentage. We don't mind being bound by our professional deliverables even though they get a little out of hand at times. But we get exasperated by our personal commitments.

And why not, we expect peace and quiet when we come back home don't we. And we should but we might not get all that we want all the time. But that shouldn't stop us from being committed to our personal responsibilities.

Not having both the parents is not as liberating as you think. Only someone who has experienced it can describe it. Having irritable parents is just a mild inconvenience when compared to that.

We should be thankful that we had both our parents throughout our childhood.

Kishor Barman said...

"If you aren't happy - the people you think you are making a sacrifice for - will not be happy either!"

So true.

yons said...

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