Family Is Marriage an Outdated Institution?

Cover Story: Till death do us apart or No strings attached?

Till death do us apart or No strings attached?

“Marriage is like agreeing to have dal chaval everyday of your life. Monotonous and boring. I like to taste different foods and cuisines. I will choose whom to live with, sleep with and when… I do not want to be tied down. Can you imagine spending the rest of the life with one person? …Yuck!”

Tara expounded her views to friends who were in awe of her. She chose to live by her rules while they succumbed to societal pressures. She enjoyed every pleasure the city could offer. Her high life was the talk of the college. Her parents too were ‘awesome’. She stayed in hostel most of her life, but so what? They let her do all that she wanted and financed everything with no questions asked…Life ho to aisi!

Satya and Tara were best friends but their lives and views were worlds apart. Satya lived a simple (‘boring’ in Tara’s language) life. Satya’s pleasures were a good book and coffee, an outing into natures lap, good music, hanging out with friends at home or in a coffee shop or just journaling and writing. Her parents were conservative and she had to fight her way to live out her choices of career, independence and being accepted as equal to men. She refused to be her Mom’s prototype and accept ‘men are a superior race and you better obey them’ philosophy. It angered her to see women mistreated in any way. Patriarchy was something she was not going to take lying down and she was ready to tear it down brick by brick as long as she lived.

Years had passed by, Tara and Satya had gone in search of their careers and goals and kept in touch occasionally. Finally they were meeting again. Staya was getting married!

Satya had finally found her match and was ready to get married. She had turned down many interested men as she wanted a man who could see her as an equal, respect her and her choices. Marriage for the sake of pleasing family and society and getting the ‘married’ tag she had resisted. Marriage for the sake of greener pastures or security in life she had refused. Now she had found what she was looking for- companionship, mutual respect and love, giving freedom and support to each other to be all that they were designed to be. Ritesh was no Mr. Perfect; they had their share of differences but they shared common ground of faith and beliefs and loved each other. They also wanted to make a loving home where gender stereotypes were broken and their children would grow up respecting every person as equal.

Satya took one look at Tara after the hugs and kisses and felt Tara had not changed. She still took centre stage wherever she was and lived life to the full. She added colour and music to Satya’s simple wedding celebrations and they both danced and enjoyed themselves just like old times. The night before the wedding they were huddled together exchanging notes of the years gone by. While enquiring after Tara’s parents, Satya saw the colour drain from Tara’s face. She had hit a sore spot.

After college Tara had returned home to live with her parents for a while and slowly found out that her parents had an ‘open marriage’ and that her mother’s companion was not her biological father. She was appalled. How could they do this to her! When her parents pointed out that her lifestyle was not very different from theirs and they did not stop her, she blew her top. ‘You are parents; you need to behave yourself. I respected you so much. Now I want nothing to do with you.’ She walked out but they continued to support her financially until she made it big. She even tried to search for her biological father somehow thinking meeting him would bring closure. But she found that he wanted nothing of her. ‘No strings to tie me down, I want freedom not family’, he explained.

This was a sore spot in her otherwise happening life…

She was sure she did not want to be like her parents to the child she wanted to have. Looking back she realized that though her friends thought of her folks as ‘awesome’, actually they did not have much time for her and she was tossed around in their whirlwind lives. True they offered her every comfort and never disciplined her, but is that what a child needs, mused Tara. Often she had wished her parents would ‘be there’ to celebrate her small joys and cry over her small disappointments and that she had someone to come home to, to trust. She had never let it show, but she missed having them around when she grew up.

‘I would be there for my child,’ she promised herself. She loved children and wanted to be a parent. ‘My child should grow up with me in a loving, stable home. Would I like her to come home to the different men in my life and wondering who her Daddy is?’ thought Tara. The emotional upheaval she had gone through she would not want anyone to go through, least of all her child. For it still hurt that ‘they’ had not thought of her when they made their choices. “How can I offer a life of instability to my child when I craved for stability for myself all through my childhood?” she wondered.

May be she even wanted more than sporadic affairs for herself, may be companionship, love, respect and a home where the healing would finally set in. Satya’s wedding went on fine. It was time to say goodbyes and Tara and Satya lingered savoring the moment of friendship. They had reached their destinations and now the journey began.

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