Marriages are made for Men!

Story of Urban India..

There was a generation where women were not allowed to be educated. Marriages really worked well then, because the rules were set by the men. Women were completely dependent on their man for money, so in turn they took care of all other responsibilities. There was a balance. It did not mean that work distribution was based on ability. Marriage just followed set rules & it worked. Women were accepting & the Men were a happy lot.

Then came a generation where education was provided to all, but preference of higher/better education was reserved for the men in the house. So we saw women who passed school or college but could never do more. The women of this generation realised that the rules didn’t favour them. They realised the value of financial independence. Marriages still worked, but there was an unrest. Both men & women were confused.

After this came our generation. We were raised as equals. Studied as much, worked & earned the same as the men. Now we expect roles to be defined as per capabilities and not pre-set rules. We don’t depend on men for money. We need them in our lives, but they don’t have a specific role to play. Marriage now, is more of a collaboration. Women have their source of income, friends & a neat list of ‘what I want from life & my man’. While the men are still confused!

This is the generation that has seen maximum divorces. The generation that is raising children who are questioning the system of marriage itself. In the generation to come, many would choose to remain single.

So when we look back, we see that marriages worked perfectly as long as we followed the men’s rules. And started getting shaky as soon as women began questioning them. I have seen several marriages break in the recent time. What I found common was that, while most women chose to live alone, in almost all cases, the men chose to remarry. This is just a general observation. But it also got me wondering whether Marriages are made for men?

Love, Sex Aur Dhoka

It was the year of the millennium. Everybody had their plans for the big evening. The person she loved was not a party animal & she was sure he wouldn’t ask her out. They were still just good friends, she was still hoping he loved her back the way she did. So when a casual conversation with another friend resulted in a date for New years, she didn’t think twice before saying yes. She knew he was just a friend and had planned to spend the evening together as two single people with no better plans. It was a fun night and after several drinks, she talked to him about the man she loved and desired to spend her life with.

Sixteen years later they were still in touch. In these years, both had settled respectively into marriage & family & had moved to different cities for their career. He called her occasionally to talk to her. And they met not more than 6 times over the years. They didn’t need to be constantly in touch & instantly connected from where they left the previous time. It was a friendship they shared at a different level. As soon as he got to know about the problems her marriage, he flew down to her city to meet her. That was the last time they met. Six months later, today she got a message, ‘in your city for work, call when free’. She liked meeting him, it always ended up in them doing something very different, something that they would always remember & talk about. He believed in creating such special moments. They never had a photo together, but each time they met was etched in their memories forever.

She looked forward to meeting him today. It was the first time they would meet for dinner. Another first as always. They met up early for a drink, at the five star room where he was put up & were to leave for a popular club later for dinner. Conversations flowed freely with the drinks. The laughter & chatting continued through the evening as they caught up on the six months gone by.

He always made her feel special & subtly flirted with her. But she was too preoccupied to ever notice what she meant to him. Today, for the first time she had heard him out as he spoke about his feelings for her & was really moved. He had never touched her in these years, but tonight when he kissed her, it seemed like the most natural thing to do. He held her close & kissed her gently. She had been too strong for too long & was really exhausted with life. And here was a guy whom she had known so well and been such good friends with, who longed for her. She was too numb to think about right or wrong & just wanted to be held close the way he did. Sixteen years of waiting poured out in the most passionate way for him. And for the first time she felt what it was to be loved. He kissed her on her lips, caressed her neck and nibbled on her ear while talking to her. He held her close and then kissed her over & over again, never crossing the line or making her uncomfortable. She didn’t know whether it was the loneliness or the feeling of silent revenge (towards the stranger she had married) or a latent desire in her that she never even knew existed or just plain acceptance of this platonic relationship. But she enjoyed herself like never before. She was high but not drunk. Everything seemed right & she just wanted to live & enjoy the moment as it unfolded upon her. As always, another memory had been created with him tonight.

Later that night when she went back home & quietly slipped into bed right next to the stranger she had married, she knew her life had changed, yet again!

When my emotions got Misdirected

The biggest current blockbuster is probably Bajrangi Bhaijaan. I had heard so much about this movie that I wanted to watch it at any cost. Most people confessed to have walked out teary eyed, girls and boys, men & women alike. So when I did not cry, I wondered if I was emotionally dead. I did like the movie though. The movie is about a little 6 year old girl who is yet to start to speak (delayed speech). She gets left behind in a different country just as her train chugs across the border, separating her from her mother. Unable to speak, she ends up following a man who is forced to care of her much against his religious beliefs. Her charm & innocent ways transforms him slowly as he accepts her for who she is & reaches her back home safely to her parents. The movie is about this journey & is high on emotion, drama, action, comedy & everything else that one could ask for. It very subtly teaches us to be tolerant towards all religions without being too preachy. But still there were two things that distracted me from what I had gone to watch & left me more emotional than the movie itself.

One

I happen to be a movie buff & believe that this is not something that you do alone. I love watching & then discussing about the movie. Knowing exactly how much this means to me, the stranger I married, NEVER took me for a movie for about 10 years of our marriage. He was never short of excuses & blamed me for expecting him to accompany me. He expected me to go & watch it alone knowing how much I feel against it. Sometimes I would go with friends, but soon I gave up the effort. Then for the past 2-3 years he started to take me out, but then made sure not to utter a single word throughout, right from when we would leave the house till when we got back or the next morning. Making it seem to be a punishment or favour rather than a form of entertainment. The silence was so killing during these many weekends that we went out together, that I finally felt it was better to be alone than with a stranger I know sit beside me.

This friendship day i decided to spend it alone with myself. Not because i dont have friends, but i chose to have it this way. Yesterday, for the first time, I went alone to watch a movie. It was my little step towards a life that I now know I have to lead alone. It was really liberating. I was as expressive as I wished to be, without being judged. Slowly, he has won another small battle. With his passive aggressive ways, he has managed to push me to do what he really wanted all along. Another victory for him & learning for me. This left me highly emotional, as I was reminded of what my future might be like from now on.

Two

There was an elderly couple seated beside me. They were as old as my parents & very well dressed. During the interval, I went & bought myself some popcorn. As I sat munching on & waiting for the movie to resume, I heard the lady tell her husband that even she wished to have some. So the elderly gentleman went to buy a tub, but returned in couple of minutes empty handed. He then told her softly, that the cost of a small tub was Rs 170/- There was an awkward silence followed by what seemed like acceptance and then more silence. The movie had started by then, but my focus was on the couple. Should I offer them mine? Should I just go and buy them one tub? Would it appear rude? Would it hurt them more? They were well dressed & appeared affluent. Were they dressed in their best? Were they living off their children’s income & on a tight budget? Or did they have their own pension, but not enough to spend too much? Maybe the husband was just miserly & the lady had to put up with his ways. I could never tell & felt intrusive to do something myself. It felt sad that even at this age they had to sacrifice their little pleasures of life. Now, that left me more emotional than the movie.

But the movie is worth watching atleast once.

5 Things My Marriage Taught Me

  1. Trust

I am the kind of person who trusts anyone very easily. I am extremely honest & expressive. Since I always communicate my feelings to those around me, be it my friends, family or even bosses /colleagues at work, I assume they would do the same in return. It is but natural that I had maximum faith in the family I got married into.

My marriage taught me to differentiate between different kinds of people. It showed me that just because I trust everyone does not mean that they live up to it. No one can change their basic nature, so while I continue to trust, I don’t get hurt anymore when I am let down.

This journey in the wrong road has made me more self-reliant.

  1. Loneliness

My biggest fear in life was that I would end up lonely. I saw marriage as an investment purely for companionship for my later years. Today I realise that I have put my crucial years in a place where I can expect no returns.

These years have taught me that it is better to be alone than be lonely in a house full of people. I have learned to live alone. Have pursued so many interests that can keep me busy till I die. I don’t really need people anymore, definitely not the ones who don’t like to have me around. I have conquered my biggest fear.

I have learnt to enjoy my own company.

  1. Abuse

An abuse is an abuse no matter in which form. Silent treatment is not acceptable behaviour. Emotional manipulation cannot be determined or controlled. During my CA days we had a subject on audit where they taught us the difference between fraud and error. Error is a mistake that happens unknowingly, it can be rectified & improved. But Fraud on the other hand is intentional. It is very difficult to detect unless someone is really looking out for it. Emotional abuse/manipulation is as good as fraud. As long as you trust, you have no reason to believe that you are being manipulated and a subject of abuse. Only when you look with the intention of finding out the reason for your frustrations do you realise that you are being abused. This neither makes you stupid or the abuse acceptable.

It has taken me a really long time, but finally I have learnt to respect myself & my feelings. If something makes me uncomfortable, it is not my fault. The person causing the discomfort is to be blamed equally. Shifting of part blame on your partner relieves you of a lot of burden. After all, forgiveness is an inside job of accepting an apology you never received.

I have learnt to let go.

  1. Parents

Parents are forever. No matter what changes in your life, how many relationship status’ you go through, your parents remain your parents. They are your creators & always mean you good. (Many might disagree here) My parents were never thrilled with my choice of husband, but they stood by me through my decision. Blame my upbringing or naivety, I always had more faith in the family I got married into. So whenever they pointed my mistakes (it happened all the time no matter what I did), I believed they were right & tried to make amends. It took me almost 13 years of married life to realise that they were not always right. But even today, it’s my parents who stand by me. I choose to not go back to them, but to either stay in this relationship & survive or move on independently.

This marriage has taught me that nothing is more precious than your relationship with your parents. They are always right & you are never really alone as long as you have them.

Love & trust your parents. Many times they understand you more than you expect them to.

  1. Never give up

Not everything in life turns out the way we intend. Many times what happens in our life, depends on other people & not all situations are in our control. It’s ok to change our course and start afresh or with a different perspective. That is not giving up, it is moving on. There is no failure until we have actually given up. If saving my marriage was the objective, then yes, I might have failed. But if being happy was my objective & I chose marriage as a means to do so, then no, I haven’t failed yet. I will just choose another means to get what I want.

Marriage has taught me to accept bad situations also as a part of life & not take it too personally. It never is always your fault.

Marriage has taught me to value myself more.