It is really tough to be a single, peace loving soul in your mid to late twenties. Apart from your own expectations from yourself there are a host of highly irrational, insensitive and unrealistic societal and parental expectations that will make you doubt the existence of your guardian angel. With respect to my guardian angel, he has been taking it really easy for quite sometime now. There are just 3 possible scenarios: first, my guardian angel is long dead. Second, he has decided to go on a vacation. Third, the blessed soul indulges in sadistic pleasure. Nothing else can explain the repeated emergence of issues surrounding my marriage. But then again, I’m not alone.
I recently met a school friend after 16 years. The common topic of discussion: our parents driving us nuts about getting married. I have given this topic a lot of thought since it has been added to the menu of daily update topics in my mother’s calls. From how was your day, did you have your meals, are you eating sufficient fruits, and other such factual hence simple questions, somewhere down the line there was a qualitative change. Probably somewhere down the line I grew up. Or well, I was supposed to grow up.
I am faced with philosophical questions like do you think you are taking your life seriously? This 26 you’re turning 26; have you thought about your future? Why aren’t you getting married?
Well, for starters, I need a man. If only I could marry myself! Most of the reasons I’m given to get married are either bizarre or irrelevant in our generation. Let me deal with a few common ones.
“You will need a companion. All your friends will be married in a while. Who will be with you in your old age?” This is the most hopelessly optimistic argument you will ever come across. Not only does this assume that you are going to survive till eternity but more importantly it has absolute faith in the notion that marriages are made in heaven. Well sure, they might be. But they are broken in courts. The number of divorces granted by the family courts increased by 350 per cent between 2003 and 2011 in Kolkata, and doubled in Mumbai between 2010 and 2014. Meanwhile, thousands of divorce petitions have piled up in family courts across the country. Agreed that the overall divorce rates are low compared to UK or US, but the societal acceptance of divorces in urban India make it that much easier to end a marriage and so the whole The Notebook inspired argument doesn’t work. If companionship is the goal get a dog, get ten of them, adopt kids, build yourself a library. You don’t have to get married simply for that.
“You only think about yourself. Your traveling, your fun. What about your parents. They want to enjoy in your wedding. They want to fulfill their duty.” Now this is a highly nonsensical but high on emotional atyachar argument. But having lived through such trash of trying to make the people around you happy with your boards exams, then the second board exams, then some more exams, then some jobs, I gave up on this long ago. When people expected me to prepare for IIT I decided to chill. When they expected me to do a job, I decided to teach and travel. The list goes on. For something as sacred and important as a marriage two souls need to realize that a life together is what they want. There’s no surer way of failure than getting married for the sake of it or simply because that is what is expected of you.
“Give me one good reason why you don’t want to get married”. This one is the burden-of-proof-is-on-you-approach. And I have made it a point to never flounder on this one. Forget one good reason. I could write a ten act play on it, one act for each reason. Since the institution of marriage requires two parties, there is a lack on that front. Since two parties are involved there will be issues around trust, compatibility and the like which need time to be figured out. Marriage according to me is a logical next step to a relationship. For me the pressure to get married can’t be the basis of a relationship. I’m still figuring out what I want to figure out in life. With so much uncertainty around my own decision making I don’t see how I can take on the responsibility of a marriage and do justice to it. For some its a we will figure out along the way approach. Not me.
“Your biological clock is ticking.” This one is reserved for girls. This one has science backing it but not common sense. This one is implicitly telling you to not only get married for the sake of it but also to have kids because you’re expected to have them; because time is running out. Absurd. Given that we are all on this planet for a finite time, by its very nature and definition time will run out, whether for having kids or otherwise. In a country with more than 1.2 billion people I don’t see the pressing need for having kids. As for taking the family lineage forward, for god’s sake, we aren’t the Mughals!
Rationality demands that every choice you make in life makes you at least as well of as you are right now. I don’t see why marriage should be an exception. I live by myself, enjoy my own company, fulfill my dreams with my resources. I understand the significance of the institution of marriage. The day I meet an equal, a man I can respect, a man whose company I enjoy that would be it. Till then I simply forward the link of this post to every blessed soul who asks me about my marriage plans!