World marriage day
And Hera is goddess of marriage and family.
The second Sunday of the month of February is significant in the catholic calendar as it is the day world marriage day, before you conclude like I did, that is it is the day that the world gets married, well it is meant to create the family, the commemoration is about honouring the father and mother as the base unit of the family.
The fat Indian wedding is so focused on the wedding, and once the wedding is over, suddenly we realize holy matrimony is not about union, but about transforming a two thinking individuals, with identity, into this nebulous image of Husband and wife, everyone remotely connected become stake holders and begin to advice and manipulate the couple. The couple have no chance but to go their individual way.
In a way I really appreciate the Agha Khani’s and the Catholic Church that runs pre-marital counselling. The feminist in me might rebel at the patriarchal leaning of it all, but it is a difficult dialogue that has to be held.
It starts with simple understanding of what we are committing ourselves to that I think in the Indian scenario is the first thing parents ask. Life goals like what would you like to achieve in the future…involvement with the community… do you do it as a couple or separately?
I remember this friend of mine, who was a brilliant surgeon, she married another brilliant surgeon and every time a challenge came up, it she who was expected to compromise on her career, I have resented it that I am expected to put my work on the burner because something needs be done.
Most marriages are in a mess as the couples do not explicitly voice their expectations. Despite of what the extended family I have heard people get scandalous when couples are to talk money, well if you are going for a traditional Indian wedding then salaries, are we comfortable with the difference, how do we expect to be supported emotionally, financially, what are your concepts of fun and how much of space would we like to have for friends and other activities, these are things that need to be looked into.
When niece Soundarya got married, since her husband and she both have good jobs and it keeps them busy, they decided to hire a cook, it no doubt upset both the sets of parents but they were clear that they didn’t want additional stress, Soundarya hates cooking, so on Sunday’s her husband cooks.
Then there was the issue of where would they live. Like the eminent Bangalore lawyer Puthige Ramesh says in his experiences many marriage break because of the altered dynamics a marriage causes, when his son got married he suggested that the new couple stayed on their own but since his son and daughter-in-law decided that they wanted to stay together in the joint family being part of all the traditions that are followed, since the decision was made by the young couple they are quite happy making whatever adjustments have to be made.
The question of celebrating festivals, and taking holidays were very informally but definitely settled within the structure that way everybody is comfortable. Not that there are no arguments, or discussions, but the basic channel for dialogue is open and flowing.
Two years after Prerana and Manish got married Manish’s younger brother Dhanesh got married, the first thing Dhanesh’s mother told her new daughter-in-law was I hope you won’t have children before Prerana does, five years down the line, Dhanesh and his wife have a kid, while Prerana and Manish had decided not have children right before they were married. Again in the Indian scenario it is the elders who suggest when the couple should have kids, who should be the gynaecologist. Etc. but it is an essential conversation that should happen, do the couple want to have kids if so how many, what age difference etc. etc.
The Money talk… somehow we assume this is a dirty talk, Manish again gives his pay check to his wife, while Dhanish’s wife is clueless about his earning, well both are extremes, savings, investments, joint accounts all these are conversations that are essential to sustain a marriage.
Parents, parents-in-law how much time will the couple spend with them, most women of my generation do have the grouse that the husband does not spend time with her family, while she is expected to put his family first, having said that, I have noticed a shifting trend like my friend from Harmony builders in Bangalore she designed the senior citizen’s habitat for Bangalore city http://www.harmonyarchitects.com, well she had both her parents and her parents-in-law living with her. While my friend Sonia has relocated to Goa to be with her parents, and her husband is Calcutta with his parents. These are the challenges of today’s life.
Gender expectations, when B.V.Karnath got involved with the other actress and there was that fire episode, everyone blamed Prema for focusing on her career, but is it fair that Prema should give up? This is a conversation that has to be had, I still resent having to give up the project director’s post for IFA because Mr.D did not believe in relocating to Bangalore, or a long distance marriage. Yet most weekends I am alone, this brings me to next unspoken but the most important aspect of marriage that is the erotica. Hopefully today’s youngsters are more sensible, but our generation, we did not give time for ourselves even in the context of being parents, or being with in-laws it is essential that the couple do put a side gizmo free, people free time just for themselves. Else when the empty nest happens, there are just two flatmates cohabitating with legal sanction.
The man in the wedding sherwani and the man you try to make conversation with after a decade or two of marriage are totally different, and sometimes just not acceptable, that is when we land up connecting http://www.vandanashah.com/services.html or look at the nearest Guruji.
Then there are even more difficult dialogues, like spirituality, extramarital affairs, and conflict resolution… where we could probably take a logical decision, but when the moment arises we are totally illogical.
At the end of the day, it about the journey that begins with the wedding, we need to ensure that there are spaces in the togetherness, and letting the winds of heavens dance in between, love is essential but not a bondage, a sea between the shores of the soul is needed, we need to fill one another’s cup but not drink from the other’s, we could share the loaf, but not pounce on the same loaf, we need to walk together
It is not about surrender and blend, it is about covalence. Whether one changes ones name or not is irrelevant, but whether one finds a partner who is with us through thick and thin is relevant.
Phew I did what I hate the most I actually delivered a sermon…