Disclaimer: This article is strictly for the girls who are single, of marriageable age (whatever that is) and are more likely to go into an arranged marriage, although harboring the hope of finding love. To the girls, who are in love, lucky you and congratulations! I do not have anything against arranged marriage or marriage, for that matter.
Recently I came across an article of Suhasini Mulay, theatre artist, marrying at 60. The way she broke a stereotype garnered my immense respect for her determination and perseverance. She did not marry because she is of age, not because if she crosses a certain age, she won’t be able to bear children and obviously not because of what society will say. She married because of the right reasons, love and compatibility and because she WANTED to get married.
In our country, people get married for umpteen numbers of reasons but love is seldom one of them. Shouldn’t marriage be a union of two people, not only physically and socially, but also mentally and intellectually? Many factors rule marriage in India but companionship is not one of them and hence, to some it becomes an obligation, something to be-get-done-with so that everyone would just stop nagging and leave us in peace. The most prevailing factor here, for the girls at least, is age. I did not realize that we, women, come with an expiry date, 30. If you are not married by then or at least engaged, Heaven help you. People will behave as if you have contracted some disease. Wherever you go, to some family function or public gathering, people will whisper behind you, some will doubt your character, some other will pity you while some will taunt your parents. And you, my dear girls, somehow conditioned from childhood to believe that marriage is the ultimate goal of a girl, will start feeling guilty and consent to marry just so that society does not ridicule your beloved Ma and Deuta.
Sometimes I feel like girls are born just to get married and carry on the family name. We do not have any other identity. I mean, in my late twenties, where on one hand, my male friends are planning to take their career to the next level, maybe go for higher education, we are waging a war with our family, trying to explain marriage may not be the top priority for us, too. The ones getting married left, right and center, some of them are genuinely happy of course. But most, they are compromising, all the time bickering in front of us, the friends, how frustrated they actually are.
Why are we Indians so judgmental? I become a bad girl if I don’t behave docilely and agree to marry according to the age-old system of marrying in our twenties. I am, of course, influenced by the many Western movies and books that I go through which have messed up my head and made me illogical. Compatibility, I am looking for compatibility, how more ridiculous can I get! If the guy has a steady job, a good family background, doesn’t drink or smoke, that is the perfect guy. What am I looking for more, right? Wrong!
Every Tom, Dick and Sally (or Harry) lectures me on my high expectations and advises me to come out of my fantasy dreams. Reality check everyone, I and the likes of me, do not want a prince! We do not want someone outrageously good looking. We want someone compatible, someone we are comfortable with, someone we don’t have to hide ourselves from. Is it so hard to understand? Or is it such an impossible thing to want?
When I read or watch those silly romances, I don’t expect happy-ever-after for myself. Yes, I drool over the guy, go “awww” at the sweet moments, sigh wistfully at the kisses but at the end of the day, it’s just a story, a fantasy of someone’s mind and I do not forget that. But, yeah, I do want something from them. The click, I want that click, that perfect fit of two puzzle pieces. And don’t tell me it does not exist. Because it does! I have seen it with my parents, with some of my friends, and between many others.
You can put forth the argument that all of them have made compromises and adjustments. Of course they have. A relationship is never easy, it needs loads of work. And there, compatibility again creeps in. If you care for the person, genuinely love the person, the compromises and adjustments wouldn’t weigh you down. You will have fierce disagreements but immense respect too. You will not resent each other.
So, ladies if you are gloomy because you are causing pain to your parents, remember that it is just temporary. Think that if you are compromising, bowing to social pressure and stigmas, you will be inviting unhappiness for your lifetime and pain for your parents’ lifetime, because no matter what, parents always want our happiness. Yeah, sometimes you might need to fight a little harder to convince them where your happiness lies. I just saw one of my close friends agreeing to marry just because everyone expects her to. And now witnessing her daily inner struggle, her frustrations, saddens me.
Compromise, adjust but in the relation, not in the choice of your partner.