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Is Marriage a Mirage?

Indrani Medhi

“Hey Ma, want to tell you something, video call now?”, she texted her mother. “Yes sure,” pat came the reply. Video Calling Ma… “Hey beta, what happened to you?,” her mother answered the call with an astonishment seeing the bruises on her face. “He hit me today, Ma, and I couldn’t do anything”, she muttered with moist eyes. “This is entirely a case of domestic violence and we must protest it, beta. Don’t worry. We will find a solution to it. Marriage is not the mere goal of a woman’s life. Your career, your future awaits you.” She broke down into tears, “But I can’t live without him, Ma.” “No, beta, you have to learn to live alone, a woman has to be courageous and confident enough to struggle alone in this world at times. Even I too won’t be with you forever. But you have to. Don’t be a woman who needs a man, be a woman whom a man needs.” She sighed and wiped her rolling tear and never shed a tear after that. This incident may or may not be fictional. But relationships are never fictional.
Relationships are precarious. When two people with distinct personalities, desires and needs merge their lives, there’s bound to be some work ahead. But my mind always wondered then why is it always the woman who has to compromise? The so-called ‘weaker sex’ is expected to suffer all the hardships and not make the smallest of sounds. Is it out of helplessness, societal restrictions or the ideal illusions that are created for them. It is obvious that some compromises are crucial in order to to sustain loving and lasting relationships.
But the very first time a woman shows she is willing to compromise, she has just signed a death sentence to that relationship and pandered away her identity, family, friendships, morals, self-esteem, happiness and even individuality. Of course, a happy marriage can bring a lifetime of love, companionship and fulfilment – but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a laugh at the playful sarcasm that often surrounds the topic. Marriage is the bond between a person who never remembers anniversaries and another who never forgets them. Matrimony is a subject rich in wit. It is a divine institution, but who wants to live in an institution?
Off late I had read that love is a 4-letter word and marriage is an 8-letter word which means double the commitment and double the fun. Marriage is a gift of love – for which the girl takes loan and the boy takes dowry. It’s a holy union of two souls between a man and a woman’s compulsion. And there’s one thing that can spice up the most mundane of marriages like a thoughtful and hand-made gift like ‘divorce papers’.
One can sometimes even try a bit of role-play like ‘fake love’. You learn to be happy with what you have (however, with no sexual chemistry). But as they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade with your salty tears! Marriage is not a destination, it’s a journey, with ‘motion sickness’. Marriage is where you get to choose your life partner, just like Americans who choose their ‘joke’ (did you say ‘Donald’?). You should get married only when you find someone special, from your own caste, creed, religion, skin colour, race, socio-economic group, nationality, state, district and apartment complex. And if you don’t find someone special you have got to find someone and make them special. You’ll know when you are ready for marriage, when you are not ready for abortion. The foundation for the most long-lasting marriage is thinking – “What will people think?” and not communication or mutual understanding. Marriage can be the perfect way to get your parents to finally stop bothering you but that is until they want you to have a kid, because they are old and their lives are usually empty and they need something new for time-pass. Also by ‘kid’, they mean a ‘son’, because a daughter is just a cargo to be shipped off to another household and a ‘living commodity’ whose ownership is passed on from a father to a husband.
If people believe that success in marriage is eminent just because of a deep love for one another, then why have so many matrimonies failed at a rate that is disparaging to say the least? ‘Marriage’ is a word which should be pronounced ‘mirage’. Because marriage is a shimmering mirage indeed. Today, there’s no real sanctity in matrimony anymore. When we see celebrities and even the people that we personally know get hitched and tie the knot, we may not be outwardly objecting, but in the back of our minds we’re pessimistically thinking, “oh! that’s not going to work.” Most marriages come with an expiry date today. It is no more a ’till deat do us part’ affair. It’s not like the bygone days where our grandparents would stay together for the children or work through “it” for the long haul because they believed in “for better or for worse.” Nowadays when things get worse, we think of getting those papers ready, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ and worse could be a euphemism for a number of marital woes everyday. Hence, it is clear that, the secret of a perfect marriage is still a secret.

About the author

Ankur Kalita