To Be Or Not Be

Lavanya By Lavanya, 16th May 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3qi44xf_/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

A conflict between my conscience and the standards set up by the society

My Marriage, My Choice

The other day I was having a conversation with a lady who is our family friend. She is about the same age as my mother and like my mother, she too is blessed with two children - a son and a daughter. Both her children are professionally well-settled and are married.

As we talked, she asked, "So, your age is 30 now, right?"

I replied with a warm smile, "Yes Aunty! Happy Thirty!!"

She probably did not like the tone in which I responded. I was happy and comfortable to be open about my age. She continued, "Don't you think it is getting late? To be married and settled in life?"

It did not take me a second to ask her back, "For what is it getting late?"

Aunty, "You know, you have more options to choose from for your guy when you are young. The older you get, the lesser the choices you get. And then, it will be difficult to conceive and have kids. Also, think about your mother, she must be feeling worried about your future."

I glanced at my mother and continued to listen patiently what my aunty was telling. My smile grew wider as she listed out her reasons. I even considered her thoughts.

She continued, “In our society, first the daughter gets married and then the son. But look, your brother is also married now and here you are, still single and yet to settle. What if his wife brings any differences between the three of you? What if your brother goes her way and distances himself from mother and you?”

My smile began to fade and I looked straight into her eyes as she spoke. But I guess, aunty was not in a mood to give up. She went on, “I think you should get your horoscope checked. I know an astrologer who can tell you why your marriage is getting delayed and what the possible remedies are.”

My heart yelled out, “Wow!! Does he also tell when you’re going to shut up?”

I controlled all my emotions and waited patiently for her to finish, with a smile that was fading with each passing moment. And finally, she finished and looked at me triumphantly, as if she conquered my mind and heart, as if she successfully cast her magic spell on me. She waited restlessly for my response.

I gathered all my thoughts and swore to myself, that I will be calm and not lose my temper at any moment.

I got back my smile the moment I swore and I asked aunty, “So I must get married as soon as possible for all the reasons that you gave, right? Well, I never denied to get married. But that does not mean that I will marry for any of the reasons that you listed out. In all the reasons that you mentioned, where are my choices being considered? I too have dreams and desires which I want to live.”

“You tell me I have the freedom to choose when I am young. But at the same time, you tell me that the guy must belong to a specific religion, community, language, etc. You tell me to adjust and compromise to marry an unknown guy if he is of our community and religion. But you refuse to even consider if I choose a guy whom I know thoroughly, who is educated and belongs to a respectable family, with whom my adjustments and compromises would be sensible and minimum. Where is the freedom that you are talking about?”

Aunty had a reply to this, “Well, there is a reason why we are particular about the community or the religion to which the guy belongs. We prefer someone from our community so that the life-style, the rituals and the eating habits are the same and there is no communication gap. Also, it is easy for the families to gel with each other.”

She had a valid point. And I had my doubt- “Then why do you send us to the school where there are kids from all communities and religion? Why do you teach us the lessons of equality and tell us that all are equal? I can grow up with children from all communities, I can have friends who follow different religions, I can travel with people who belong to different caste, and I can work and share my lunch with colleagues who speak different languages… But, I can’t share my life with someone who is perfect for me and for my family but is from a different community and speaks a different language. Then I guess we must change the way we educate our children about equality and bring them up as equals!”

“You tell me that it easy for the families to gel if they belong to the same community and religion. Each time we meet, you tell me what kind of troubled times you had when you married and came into this family. You narrate in the most dramatic way, how you suffered to adjust in your new home. You never hesitated to tell that uncle never supported you and always asked you to adjust and get used to this life style. Grandma even today complains that your parents did not give enough respect and dowry during your wedding to Uncle. And do I need to tell you about the dreams and desires that you sacrificed to gel with this family? So, to what extent do religion, community and language affect the bonding between families? You just display to the world that you are a part of one happy family while the inside story is altogether different! Isn’t that hypocrisy? One should either love their family as much as they portray in front of the society, or else, stop the false portrayal at least. You need not go about telling the troubles, but you also need not go about telling that life with your in-laws is simply a bed of roses, if it is not!”

There was silence in the room. I waited for her to share her opinion, she had none!
So, now it was my turn to continue.

“You are right, as a woman grows older, the probability of conceiving and having a delivery without complications, reduces. The health can be taken care of and maintained with balance in daily activities and the food we take. And, if a woman is craving for motherhood, nothing can stop her. God forbid, but not even her inability to conceive can stop her. There are so many kids out there waiting for the touch of a mother’s love, for the acceptance into a family that needs the child as much as the child needs parents. A mother is just a mother; it should not matter whether she is the one who is bringing the child to this world or whether she is giving the world to a child! Adopting a child does not prove that a woman or a man has failed. It only proves the strength of their love for a child, even if their blood does not flow in the veins of the child, even if their DNA does not match!”

“My mother is worried about my future. Who knows that better than me? I see her desperation when she pleads in front of God every day. I observe the way she feels uncomfortable when everyone around her questions her about my marriage. I cannot ignore noticing her when she requests you all to convince me to marry as soon as possible. I do feel concerned for her each time she feels vulnerable to the pressure that people put on her. But still, I will not marry for her momentary happiness. I will not marry just so that she too can feel one among you all who got their children married at the ‘right age’ and to the ‘right person’. I am happy for your children and I am glad that they are happily settled in their respective lives. But that does not mean, what worked for your children, will definitely work for me. I am not a super woman, nor am I drop-dead gorgeous. I am totally aware of my appearance and my personality. I grew up as an independent girl, who was not only allowed to take decisions of her life, but fate also provided her the opportunity to take the decisions for her family when life got tough for all of us. I did not grow up discussing colors of the nail paint or the hottest guy in the locality. I was never treated any less than my brother. My parents brought me up in a way that prepared me for the toughest times in life. I can handle the responsibilities of a son in the family with the same ease with which I can carry out the daily-chores of the house. From carrying heavy luggage, fitting a blown-up fuse, working in one of the top IT organization, earning, paying my bills and driving around in my car to making rotis and cooking a delicious meal for a family, cleaning the house, looking after mother’s emotional and physical health, caring for my brother, bonding with my sister-in-law to ensure she is happy and comfortable with us and connecting with the other family members and finally, dressing up like a lady… I handle it all. And I am proud of it.

I need someone who understands all this about me and accepts me the way I am. And I can wait for such a person. I am willing to compromise and adjust after my marriage, but I refuse to compromise and make adjustments to get married. That too, for an unknown person, about whom I know nothing except his name, age, job, salary and the number of family members! How do I know if that person is worth my sacrifices and the effort I will be required to put to become a part of his life and his family?

I would rather see my mother suffer for a while as long as I am single, than let her regret all her life for pushing me into a family in which I feel unhappy.”

Once again I stopped to allow my aunt to share her views. She did not seem happy for sure. But she neither had anything to say. I took it as a permission to continue.

“Yes, my brother got married before me and fortunately my sister-in-law is as wonderful as we all always hoped for. Or maybe, I should say she is much more wonderful than what we hoped for. She is a part of our family and as long as no one from outside plays foul, we will always be one happy family. Don’t try to drift us apart by sowing the seeds of doubt. We trust each other completely. Let us leave this topic here.”

Aunt finally uttered, “You are being too optimistic!”

“Were you also not being just too optimistic when you got your daughter married into another family?” I snapped.

“Or were you hoping that she would also provoke her husband and drift him away from his family? Whether you are sending your girl into another family, or bringing a girl into your family, belief should be the same!”

“Horoscope…! Astrology is a science and I do not question its credibility. Some astrologers are truly learned people. But an astrologer once told me that there is a ‘dosha’ in my horoscope for which some ritual needs to be performed. Well, considering his popularity among the people in the city, I believed him for that moment. What he told me next, made me want to kick myself hard for believing even for that one moment. He told, if the ritual is performed solo, it would cost me whopping Rs. 16000 and the same ritual, if performed in a group, would cost me Rs. 4000. Where does it leave my belief? There are thousands of men and women getting married without any knowledge about the horoscope of each other and yet, living a happy life together. On the other hand, there are parents who got the horoscopes of their children matched by more than one astrologer, spent thousands of rupees to alleviate the dosha, and yet the marriages of their children failed! I do not doubt astrology and the astrologers who are genuine, but I find it really hard to believe in these astrologers who have commercialized this science, making a mockery out of it.”

As I completed my last sentence, I once again looked at my mother. Her eyes were filled. I am not sure if she approves of my thoughts and beliefs, but at least she is aware of what I think and believe. Some people might feel I am stubborn and arrogant. But I beg your pardon. I want a happy future. Whether it is shared with someone or it is not, it does not matter.

I refuse to get married just because all my friends and the cousins of my age have got married.
I refuse to get married just because I am ageing.
I refuse to get married just because my mother is being subjected to the pressure from the society.
I refuse to get married for the fear of not being able to deliver baby.

I will marry when I meet a man with whom I can bond naturally, not just because my family feels he is the most eligible bachelor.
I will marry someone who can give wings to my dreams and desires, without a “*” .
I will marry someone with whom I feel secure, my dreams feel secure.
If anyone feels that I am asking for impossible, then I guess I am much more happy being single.

Marriage is a life changing event and it will not happen when I meet a person I can live with.
It will only happen when I meet a person I cannot live without!!

Tags

Atheism, Atheist, Life, Life Changing, Life Experiences, Life-Style, Marriage, Religion, Religion And Spirituality, Religious Cults, Religious Points Of View, Wedding

Meet the author

author avatar Lavanya
I am an emotional, creative and expressive person and I express my emotions in the form of poems and articles. I write in Hindi and English.

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Comments

author avatar Sriram
20th May 2016 (#)

It is wonderful that you have shared your intensely personal thoughts, in a deep and mature way. There are many in this world facing similar situations - I do hope they derive strength and comfort from your very generous gesture of sharing your wisdom and experience.

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author avatar Lavanya
21st May 2016 (#)

@sriram: Thanks a lot for taking time to share your opinion. I too really hope this helps. Sometimes personal experience of one becomes the expression for another one who is at a loss of words to express.

Have a happy day. :)

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author avatar Sumeet Singh
22nd May 2016 (#)

This a common condition of many. It's just that most of them comes under parents emotional pressure and accepts what comes. It's just that we should be happy in a relationship. Its a nice article lavanya. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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author avatar Lavanya
23rd May 2016 (#)

@Sumeet, thank you for sharing your views.

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author avatar SaigonDeManila
23rd May 2016 (#)

agrees..

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author avatar Lavanya
23rd May 2016 (#)

@Saigon: Thanks :)

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
24th May 2016 (#)

It's the generation gap, very common in India now. Education has empowered women and they are questioning the old traditional methods.

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