Let’s talk about the elephant in the room

Usually, I never think before I post something on my blog. This time around, it was different. Perhaps because of the immense societal dogma and hype that surrounds this particular topic, I was reluctant to openly express my views about it. For the same reason, I won’t be sharing this post on any social media. But I had to put it out of my mind. Now that I have made my mind about it, I hope you read it with an open mind as I am certain that you will most definitely have some opinion about the matter.

Elephant in the room

When an Indian girl reaches the “ripe” age of 25, her parents naturally start freaking about her marriage. Needless to say, this post is about the institution of marriage and how I look at it. I want to mention right at the outset, that I do believe in it. I believe in finding a person with whom you can share your life through thick and thin, and who’d be brave enough to start a family with you in this godforsaken world. But as many would agree, no one wants to get married for the sake of it. It isn’t a checkpoint in life. It is just something that comes along the way and if done right, can make the ride smoother.

First, let’s get some context. I am open with my parents about my views, and more often than not, I try to make them understand my point of view by patiently explaining to them how things are different in our time than it were during theirs. I also respect their point of view because I know they are responding to the situation according to their upbringing and set of beliefs. So when they bring up the topic, even though it is massively awkward for me, I do not completely reject them and hear them out.

Arguments and discussion with parents

Argument 1:
According to my parents, there is a certain age by which a girl must get married. I have reasoned with them about this, and there was something to learn on both sides. My parents agreed that earlier, the academic life of a person usually ended at 20. Now that there is a lot of academic presence in our lives and even employers look out for people who have given a boost to their graduate degrees, it has almost become like a natural progression for the middle class at least, to opt for further studies. I had to agree that finding a companion during a time when you are also in the process of establishing your identity does make sense. It is easier to adapt, to change, to build a future together, to make important lifestyle choices. The struggle and the confusion are the parts which I do not want to miss out on especially. To give an analogy- I would not want a well presented, cooked meal which is ready to eat, but made single handedly by one person. I would rather prefer to handpick the ingredients, make mistakes along the way, and finally enjoy a meal that was cooked by both together.

Another reason which is not central but I couldn’t deny it when my mother presented it in front of me. There is a biological clock that we girls operate upon. And if you’d like to have healthy children, it is far easier if done before a certain age. I did some research about it and while there are many examples that negate my mother’s assumption, the general belief surrounding this idea affirms it.

Argument 2:
My parents fear I will be left all alone in this world if I do not marry.

“We will be gone in another 20-25 years. Whom will you call family then? Who will be there for you in times of need. Life is difficult anyway, make it easier by sharing it with someone.” they said one day.

“Well, that is not true! I will have my friends by my side”, I said.

“Will your friends live with you?”, pat came the reply.

D:”Why not? We can all be flatmates, it would be super cool.”

P: “Humans are social, they need someone constantly to share their day to day events with. The physical presence is underrated. Having someone literally by your side makes a whole lot of difference, beta.”

D: “I can do that even with a friend who is living with me, with whom I share my room with. Can’t I?”

P: “Will that friend always stay?”

D: “Will a husband always stay, what’s the guarantee?”

P: “Of course, that depends on how well you both want to make it work. The purpose of assigning a societal tag of a ‘husband’ or a ‘wife’ is so that when someone decides to leave, it is only done so as a last resort. It isn’t easy to break a marriage. Your husband won’t leave you because of an impulsive reaction to a fight. With friends and roommates, not much thought shall be put before making a career choice to another city, before moving out. Marriage is a responsible institution wherein it teaches you how to hold your ground when the going gets tough.”

D: “Yeah, I get what you’re saying. You will think many times before getting into it and even more before getting out of it. There is a certain amount of stability.”

P: “Also beta, what about children, don’t you want your child to grow up with a loving father?”

*silence*

Argument 3:
My parents feel the more mature and accomplished a woman is, the more difficult it is for her to find a man.

This one is absolute nonsense, a classic patriarchal upbringing as an example. I feel that the more mature and accomplished anyone is, the easier it is for them to make a wise choice, any life choice for that matter.

Argument 4:
Arranged marriage. For my parents it’s quite simple. They have given me the freedom to choose my own partner, albeit with certain non-negotiable conditions. If I cannot find one on my own, they will start looking for someone within their circles. *shudder*

The reason why arranged marriages worked in the past I believe is because people got married young. Like I already mentioned, it is easier to mold yourself to any situation in that age. Your bond becomes stronger as you cross one hurdle after another. Also, the ideas and thoughts floating around during our parent’s time were much more simpler, primary. I don’t believe it’s the same today.

The reason why love marriages don’t happen early because most of us have our noses buried under professional or academic commitments. The general opinion is also that we want to enjoy life and after marriage, that supposedly becomes impossible. That is what I try explaining my parents, and thankfully they understand. Which is why, Argument 4.

I don’t have a valid reason as to why I feel hesitant about arranged marriages. Logically speaking, it is like a gamble. But my parents urge me to be open about it and I do not like closing myself completely to any idea.

In conclusion

Let parents do their thing, and you do yours. If you do want to get married, don’t be apologetic about it because suddenly it is cool to reject the idea of marriage.

I am lucky that I have parents who support and understand. But it isn’t easy anymore, to wrap the idea of marriage around our heads. Marriage or no marriage, in the end, it’s a choice. So make a sensible one which suits you. And it’s sometimes good to let your parents know about your thoughts. They have been brought up with a certain framework of life, you need to help them update it.

That’s all. Like always, at the end of every post, I take a deep breath of satisfaction. It always feels good to reduce the load off your mind. This blog is like my pensieve, and I just performed the memory extraction spell.

 

 

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About Dhvani Parekh

A simple girl in a complicated world.
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