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Marriage or Fantasy- Is There a Difference?


Srishti Jha
“My marriage is suffocating and is worse than prison. I wish I could get all those wasted years back,” says Mala Kakkar, a yoga instructor based in New Delhi. Mala is not the only one whose marriage is falling part and her opinion about marriage being a source of emotional support, security and companionship is quite outdated as far as the current circumstances are concerned. “Last night when he caught me by the neck and smashed my head against the wall, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that the man who once loved me could get down to treating me like an animal,” observed Sonali, a victim of domestic abuse.
   
According to Mamta Johar, Delhi beauty czar, men should never resort to using violence because it is never acceptable. “No matter how ugly things get or how right it may seem, it’s not. You may think it’s just one slap but it never ends there.”
 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

“If we ask our grandparents for ‘their story’, they look at us like we’re mad and tell us to stop watching too much television.” says Samakshi Bhalla, a freelance writer. “Why? Because their marriage was not based on love, it was just another task to cross off the list. It started with the boy’s parents coming to the girl’s parents to ‘talk’ and it ended with identical rocking chairs. The middle portion was about cooperation and negotiations and it was all about working together as a unit.”
   

I Do (Maybe)

Today couples get married as and when they please- if their parents are not okay with it, it doesn’t matter in the least because apparently, life is short and we must live it the way we please.

Aditya Ghai, a young entrepreneur agrees wholeheartedly- “Marriage is not a big deal. You get married because you want to live with the person and if it doesn’t work out, you leave. It’s not rocket science. If I got married to my girlfriend and she didn’t like my family or had too many demands, I’d tell her that she’s free to go back home and never come back”.

Now that’s what you get for asking a man for his opinion! So does everybody feel this way?

“Marriage is a beautiful institution and it needs to be respected in all its glory- it is entered into with loud celebrations but it also has certain laws attached to it. It’s not a fairytale so kids today need to wake up and realize that” says Anjali Goel, owner of La Sorogeeka, a luxury décor company. “Couples should understand that and take it seriously. People are too intolerant which is why the differences crop up and if they are asked why they got married in the first place, they say that it was the next logical step in their relationship”

 
”When my boyfriend of two years proposed to me, I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world but sadly, I was wrong.” says Shivangi Taneja, a home-maker in Delhi “He completely changed after the first few months. Gone were the days of surprises and excitement, he started snapping at me and I found myself getting more and more depressed”

The general consensus is that the scenario that exists today has come about because people feel that the entire institution dwells on flexibility.

Shireen Arora, an accountant, is perfectly happy with this change. “My husband and I realized that we’d be happier if we lived our own separate lives under one roof. There was no way that our marriage could work so we came to an agreement and it’s been working well till now. This way, everybody’s happy- the society thinks we’re a happy married couple and we couldn’t be more comfortable”

Unfortunately, not everybody is that lucky. “If only our society was not this rigid in its thinking” says Mitali Mukherjee, a receptionist at an Inn. “I got married to the man my parents chose. It wasn’t my fault that it ended- why should I keep up a charade when I’m not happy?”

When asked whether this makes sense, Devika Kapoor, an aspiring writer gets angry-
 “If you can’t handle the entire package, why get married at all? Nobody can force anybody these days so you’re obviously going ahead with it because you want to. But of course, when it ends, you blame the whole world and make yourself the victim. How is that fair? I for one, never want to get married because in my opinion, it’s a joke. Marriage never works so why walk into a world of pain knowingly? I’m smarter than that.”

It really makes one wonder- if the situation is already so dismal, what will happen in the future? If people are taking the entire concept of marriage so lightly today, it may cease to exist altogether within a few short years.

“The foundation of marriage needs to be strong from the very beginning which is why I offer pre-marriage counseling and make use of a number of modern techniques to ensure that everything goes as planned” says Dr.Kamal Khurana, a Delhi-based Marriage Counselor. “Couples need to be open with each other and discuss their problems instead of assuming that the other is a mind-reader. Making a marriage work may not be cake walk but it does require a great deal of effort and a strong sense of perspective. Even though things have changed, it doesn’t mean that the sanctity of marriage cannot be recreated.”
   
   

Whatever Will Be, Will Be

As we can see, marriage has come a long way- from a concept that deserved all the respect in the world, it has transformed into a choice or an impulsive decision between couples. We may want to speak about it in hushed tones but let’s just be open about it- marriage as an institution has failed mainly because it comes along with a rigid rulebook that leaves no room for flexibility in any way. The worst part is that both spouses garner certain expectations along the way and it becomes difficult to make sure that each is met with in the best possible manner. Needless to say, a marriage cannot work if it is scripted, so to say. Sure, it’s easy to pretend that things will work out for a while but how long can one live in a dream world? It gets tiring and overwhelming and there is no other choice but to sign divorce papers.

 

We can blame this change on a myriad of factors but it is important to remember that nothing remains constant. However, that is no reason to give up on a relationship altogether. Couples need to be more understanding of each other and work within the new atmosphere. They also need to realize that it may sound romantic, but one cannot live on love and if they feel that they are the only exception to this rule- they should probably think again and be slightly more practical about it because honestly, no matter what anybody says, marriage is no joke.

 
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