ON LOVE AND MARRIAGE

I have recently read, with interest, articles both by Scribblemarks (aka Mira Saraf), as well as Maggie, a fellow blogger, on the skewed facets of the institution of marriage in the context of today’s world. I have often wanted to write on this subject, but actually would like to start with the subject of what we blithely call love.

A caveat at first. I have been married to the same woman for 43 years. Although we have had our ups and downs, like all married couples do, I could never have wished for anyone else to have married, given that ours was a so called “Love Marriage”. In the Indian context that phrase itself implies something illicit and not normal. But then, who gives a rat’s ass. If it had not worked out between my wife and I, I would have only myself to blame for it.

But I digress……back to love and marriage. But let us look at this absurd and abused word called love.

Of course the word love covers a multitude of sins that can encompass a person’s love for food, his or her love for a particular chair, or a house, a street, a city or a country. It could be a dog or a cat, a friend (now we are getting warmer), and of course someone of the opposite sex whom one is attracted to.

Now the strange thing is that we all misunderstand love to be anything from a crush, or lust, to a “I want to marry you” love, and a zillion shades in between. But are any of these accurate descriptions of the word love in its purest form? Then there is the difference between loving someone or “being in love,” such a romantic concept, that it makes my toes curl in delight. But the variations do not end there.

How about love at first sight? Without knowing anything about the person in question, one glance is all it takes? I mean if I saw a piece of cheesecake I might fall in love at first sight, but a girl (sorry ladies, I use girl because I am a guy), who could be an axe murderer or a psycho of some other variety but has elfin beauty? How long does that love last? Till the second sight?

Not to be outdone is the result of adding the adjective “true” to the word love. Woo Hoo, this is true love. Yeah, yeah all other kinds of love are obviously false, aren’t they? But this is true love. So what does true love mean? Then sop artists add that true love happens only once in your lifetime. Huh? Why? Who wrote that in the rule books? Was it in the Bible? The Bhagwad Gita, the Torah, the Qura’an, or the Guru Granth Sahib? This only goes to show that if there is anything that is in oversupply it is bull-shit artists who come up with crap like this.

Why can you not experience true love a second time, a third time, and so on? Who decided that one is the limit? And who decided that you cannot love two girls (sorry again ladies. I could do a sex change operation and write about boys, but that seems a little extreme.) at the same time? Who writes all these rules? I think it is perfectly normal to have feelings for more than one person at the same time. I have seen many live examples of this, and reassured the “guilty parties” that there is nothing wrong with them, only society’s perception of right vs wrong.

And now before we go to marriage, how about another much abused word. RELATIONSHIPS!!!!! My status “In a relationship” (could have been “in a jail” or “in a coffee shop”, or “in England” for that matter). What exactly does this word relationship mean? Can 2 people in a relationship said to be in love? Or are they like husband and wife without the marriage license? Are they somehow tied to each other in a manner which I am unable to comprehend? Is there love, or is love not necessary?

Now, on to marriage, the ultimate goal of every civilized man, woman and people of other shades not covered above. A monogamous semi-legal “relationship” that declares that these two poor schmucks are tied for the rest of their natural lives to be devoted to each other “till death do them part”. According to most religions, monogamy has been dictated by God himself (er…herself?). Okay where was I when that circular came out? Then there are the embellishments added by church officials, such as “to have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others” (forsaking? why forsake others? what did they do?).

Monogamy in its original form was invented thousands of years ago. The book Sapiens would probably have a more accurate timeline. Much like institutions in those days, as well as the scriptures of that time, what relevance do things invented then have today? We make a simple concept like a Government of the people, for the people and by the people fail on all 3 counts, and that concept is not even thousands of years old. How does marriage remain sacrosanct?

In traditional Indian Hindu society a girl is prepped for marriage starting when the umbilical cord is cut. Or else, she may become a “kandhe ka bhoj” for the father (a burden on a father’s shoulders for you schmucks who don’t know “Indian”. Ha ha ha ha, sorry I mean Hindi). Once the boy has qualified in some field and is “earning”, he is then put on a weighing scale to see how much he is worth in the marriage market. Much like eBay or other auction sites a deal is struck eventually which may mean varying amounts of cash and kind.

The boy could be an asshole, the girl could have been totally involved with and in love with another guy, but the deal is struck. Another unhappy marriage is born. Kids may also follow making the marriage an even unhappier one, because the chains become stronger. Why is monogamy so important? You know why? I will tell you why at least in the Indian context.

Boy marries girl. Hopefully they beget lots of boys (potentially marketable) and very few girls (sigh! just think of the dowry). There are all kinds of earners in the family so that when the parents are old and infirm, there is money pouring in to support them “for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health”. If there is no marriage, that means the parents are basically fucked! The “vansh” (the family seed) disappears. And that is a tragedy?

How so? Once you are dead, do you give a rat’s ass who carries on your bloodline? So what does all this mean?

In today’s context, be it in traditional Indian society or in the so called “modern western world” marriage as an institution has lost its relevance totally. If I were 25 today, I would say no to marriage and spend time with girls, friends, dogs, adopt children who need a home, if I need to. If I wanted sex, it is much easier to do this without the other party claiming a headache isn’t it? Just find someone who needs it as much as you do, and bingo, you are done. Worse comes to worse, call on the Palm Sisters.

You want companionship? Live with a bunch of people or live with one. Spend time together, have a (sic!) relationship, if you want to give it a label. Why must you marry? Who benefits in this process?

1. Boy and girl – basically they are screwed for the rest of their lives

2. Parents – Spend tons of money, and hear a lot of complaints about the arrangements and food. Kill themselves saving for dowry, marriage expenses, keeping up with the Joneses (or the Patels, as in India).

3. Guests – Eat awful food, pretend like you are having fun, while inside you wish you were dead. Spend money on gifts and clothes and grooming.

Yes, everyone else does well. The priest or church or pandit make money. The caterer makes out like a bandit, the wedding organiser makes a killing, and so on and so forth.

Monogamy was not created by God. It was created by man, to control man. Man’s biological instinct is not of monogamy (sorry ladies, here man is like Homo Sapiens, not just the male). So monogamy is an unnatural act for man. It is almost doomed from day one. Yes it may not end in divorce. But rarely is it a happy ending. (Again, apologies to my dear wife of 43 years).

Urban India, along with the western world is marrying later and later, or not at all. Rural India and small town India, basically driven by a conspiracy between the patriarchs and the silently more powerful matriarchs, still drive marriage. The boy from a very young age is told by his “Mommy” that he is God’s gift to women, and by the time he is marriageable he believes it. Enter the bride who has been groomed to be a second class citizen ever since her umbilical cord was cut, becomes a perfect fit for him.

Inside her, she probably hates the system, and curses her luck in being born as a girl, but when she comes to the age when she is mother-in-law material, her thought is, “Screw this, if I had to put up with this shit, I am going to make some poor hapless girl pay for my bad days. And I will sit back and gloat when I see her squirm”. So the system is propagated.

Marriage is outdated. Period! It has little to offer today’s young people except pain. It needs to be discarded.

With due apologies to believers in the marriage system.

 

8 thoughts on “ON LOVE AND MARRIAGE

  1. Oh this is so so relatable. Thank you for writing it out. I remember I penned down few lines long back and they stuck:
    I’ve always believed relationships needed no labels; Untill they asked me..
    “You are his?”

    Love, marriage, relationships…the most used AND abused terms by our society. Love can happen many a times, cos each time it’s a different kind of feeling with a different individual. And well, being a woman, when I say that out loud..I can’t begin to tell the judgemental looks one gets, not from strangers but from your own friends and peers..but who cares. And yes, marriage is outdated. I know people who wanna walk out of their dead marriages but the only thing that stops them is parental pressure and society. What’s the point of a relationship when you’re unhappy but since there’s a legal label attached to it..you continue to live it? One must never stop seeking what he/she wants… irrespective of what our “society” tells us!

    Look forward to reading more of your thoughts Sir 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Maggie and I think the point is to live life on your own terms and be happy. We never know how long we have and there is too much good we can do to be stuck in ridiculous situations. Marriages are status symbols for many: “see somebody wanted me” where in my case being single I guess means “a lot of weird people wanted me”!!! Anyway in all seriousness labels are meaningless substance is more important

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this piece and will definitely share it 🙂

    Love, in my opinion, is one of the most over-used words of the English language. It’s fine if we are talking about pizza or chocolate but when it comes to relationships, particularly in our own socio-cultural context, people don’t truly understand what it is. Even love between friends is taken as a general assumption for one person that the other will be there at beck and call, while not really giving a damn what’s going on in the other persons life. It’s a “me” first approach and if you’re only bothered about yourself, how can you love? And in terms of romantic love I only have one word: ugh. In people’s minds I find it’s this Bollywood version of reality, not quite at the point of the 90s that dancing around a tree begets love but not altogether much closer to reality. They don’t understand that to love someone they have to love them for their flaws also and that judgement has no place in that feeling. Their egos are too fragile to commit to the vulnerability that is required for love and social media hasn’t helped this.
    In terms of marriage I’ve never understood the fuss. We have elevated marriage as more important than a relationship between husband and wife. While companionship is a normal desire and truly it doesn’t have to be the same person for an eternity, marriage is a way of telling society that you’re normal and you’re following the “plan.” The closest I got to marriage was ten years ago – but if I look back at my life of not being married, I would not change a thing. I still find myself wanting companionship and fine if marriage comes with it and I feel it’s something I want to do I’ll consider it. Also because it’s easier to live with someone else and while you don’t need marriage to do that, it makes dealing with sleazy society members easier haha! But we are too obsessed with it as a status symbol so much so that people hysterically cling on to bad life situations because they don’t want the tag of divorced or single. It’s really frustrating to watch!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I couldn’t agree more to your thoughts. And what makes me more happy to see this coming from a person who has been married for 43 years. Wish each generation grows in their thought process with the changing times like you did.
    Thank you for writing this. Would be sharing. 😊

    Like

  4. Hi Neha. Glad you liked it. Being happily married does not mean you cannot see flaws in the system. The world in which I was married was a very different one than the one we live in today. The problem with the institutions we live with, in today’s world, is that conceptually they do not change with the times, much like scriptures in most religions.

    Like

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