So recently, my girl friend and I were sharing stories on how our parents want us married off and soon get a chance to play “grandparents” to our kids. To them, we’re two girls, in their late 20s, unmarried, and no prospects of getting married soon. What is it with Indian parents and marriage? – we thought. At the age of 23, just after graduating with masters, and maybe a job in hand, parents look for suitable matches for their daughters. Why?
We agreed- my friend and me, that we need some time for ourselves. After studying for about 17 years, and finally getting the freedom to earn our own money (not rely on pocket money), we don’t want to be restricted in the responsibilities of home management, husband management, coming home to cook, cleaning, and the extended family called in-laws. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing faulty with this picture, just that in 20s, this is not what I want to do. I want to spend my money lavishly, keep no savings, shop every weekend, ensure that latest fashion is in my closet, and fulfill my dreams. Travel, meet new people, and get drunk till pass out- all that too!! Yea… live the wild life! Obviously our parents didn’t think that way. They have lived the Indian system of life to grow up to get married, have kids and finally find time for themselves at the age of 40.
The discussion escalated from not just us, but with our mothers too. You see, her mother and mine are best friends. So are our fathers! The discussion was as if we were being cornered for doing something bad. I felt so criminal. The questions were tough, and essay type. But the expected answers to win this jury were restricted to 1 word, preferably Yes or No! Remember the movie, A Few Good Men? Ok… remember that tension in the courtroom when Col. Nathan. R. Jessep (Jack Nicolson) was being prosecuted by a smart young lawyer from Harvard, Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise)??? I was the Jessep here!
I compare myself to Jessep here, because Jessep thought it was absolutely right in what he did. It was in the best interest. So did I! In my view, it was in my best interest to not be married because I wasn’t up for it! I couldn’t imagine that my 1st year’s salary could be bound in an EMI for a car loan. No way!! I could surely see a huge fight with the man I married. For the sake of the sanity of that man, I shouldn’t be married.
Ah, the discussion had now turned into a heated argument. Words flaring, mothers trying their best to emotionally blackmail, the to and fro of blames, and finally some shedding of mommy tears (have you noticed, mommies do that when they want to get their way out?… and they say we’re the brats!). Amidst this squabble, something was spoken! A statement! It will remain a fresh in my mind forever. It will remind me every time I go to attend a girlfriend’s bachelorette party, wedding, and reception. It will raise my curiosity when I attend her baby showers, kid’s 1st birthday, and even her 10th marriage anniversary.
I was told: “It is best for girls to be married young, because it is when they are flexible to change. If you end up with a pathetic husband or bad mother-in-law, at least you will be in a frame of mind to adjust. Experiencing the world being single will only rigid your attitude, and then adjusting to your husband and his family will be difficult. And, men are not meant to adjust. What do you want to experience? Going abroad? Fine dining? Drinking every weekend? You can do all that with your husband also, na!”
I couldn’t believe my ears. My own biological mother and my supposed mother (friend’s mom) thought the same way. I would want to brush it off as a generational gap, but this is not it! What took me aback was the concept that women can only think after they’re married. I would agree to such an idea if it was the 80s or 70s, but this is today- 2010! Women are getting out there, proving their equality to men at intelligence, hard-work, and successful promotions! Some are even exceeding the ‘=’ and going on to be super-women, successfully handling household and work! Yet, when it comes to being a wife, she has to be flexible.
Looking back at the statement and my girlfriend’s married life- well, my friend was independent. Such an independent woman, I have never seen. A true super woman! If she didn’t want babies through legitimacy, she wouldn’t require being married. And then when I saw her at her wedding reception, I thought to myself, she has got to learn to be dependant. She’s expected to do so (No offence guys- but the reality is that you like it if your woman was dependant on ya. That is one of the few ways to keep your testosterone pumped!!). What a shame that her man cannot appreciate the superwoman that she is!
Another girlfriend of mine was to get married. So, she drank crazy that nite- her bachelorette party of course! She loves alcohol! Vodka and rum are her favorite. She had them both that night. Sloshed! Why? Because her husband to be does not appreciate women drinking alcohol! Obvious reaction: “WTF!!! Why would you want to be married to him?” Reply: “Cos he’s a nice guy.” Ah, adjustments! Well, I could go on, but you get the picture… right?
Don’t get me wrong… I am not saying men don’t adjust. In fact there are many out there who are extremely sensitive to their woman’s needs. Many others sinfully respect their women, and adore her, and dote on her. But there are large numbers out there who don’t. As a precaution, parents prefer to marry off their daughters before they’ve tasted the waters of the world, and basked in an assortment of experiences. Apparently less experienced women make better wives. If this is how it will be, I will never be married!
[if you ladies are reading this blog, and if you agree with me, do share your experiences]