Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So are you married?

in UnionI watched two very inspiring movies over the weekend. Both have inspired me to write about issues that I feel are important. The first was Mona Lisa Smile a movie set in the 1950s. It’s the story of one woman’s desire to enrich her female students lives by encouraging them to look beyond the image of how well you marry.

50 years later, we’ve just stepped into 2008 but has this image changed?

Hell no – I just turned 28 and everywhere I turn people ask me why I haven’t gotten myself married. I have to go through a quarrel every other day on this very issue with every busybody in the world. The latest line of argument seems to be “so you’re now officially in the spinster’s zone!”

What are these words spinster, unmarried, or the Tamil word which I utterly despise vazha vetti (it means women who were once married who have left or divorced their husbands)??

50 years down the line we’re still placing importance on how well a woman marries. Why isn’t she married? Maybe no one wants her? Maybe she’s difficult? She must be too picky! She’s probably got a huge ego!

I think I just sounded the alarms. I’m sure this post will have my anon readers who seem to suddenly pop out to tell how disappointed they are that I eat nonveg food, club and even travel alone - out in droves to ADVICE me on why single people should get married. Or this one line might push them back into their shells and read quietly and not come out in their hidden identities. They might however have a conversation about me. lol have fun. If you must know I really don’t give a damn what you or anyone else thinks about me.

Why should someone get married just because everyone expects them to? This same society will point fingers at them and call them names if the marriage ends in a divorce. So it’s ok to live unhappy lives for the sake of everyone and present fake smiles to society? What kind of life is that?

I believe in marriage, I believe in relationships but I think people should get married only because they want to and not because someone else wants it and only when they’re ready. I keep seeing marriages end all around me and it happens so fast. People were once taught to bite their lips and get on with life and never air their dirty laundry in public. So most of them lived with physical and verbal abuse from their spouses, families and in laws. When people finally broke away from marriages that were destroying them, they were termed misfits of society – it seems you’re no one without someone next to you.

There are two types of single people. There are people who choose to be single and there are the ones who ended up single. The ones who choose to remain single did so because they were happy as they are, their lives were happy and they didn’t need someone else to make them happier. Yes companionship is a wonderful thing, I truly agree but it isn’t the only thing. Life is meant to be full and it can only be so if you live your life to the fullest. Work is not life. No one should be married to their jobs – those are the single people most of us are afraid of. The ones who make others life hell because to them work is their life and they give 200 percent to ensure their life remains secured.

If you decide to remain single make sure you have a life beyond work, learn new hobbies, develop new passions and most importantly learn to make new friends. Your friends can never be always there for you, most of them will get married one day and that could push you into a lonely circle. So venture out and make new friends – life doesn’t end just coz your friends are married.

It’s also never too late to get married but there’s definitely a married too early age. You need maturity to handle marriage, the commitment and responsibility that comes with it. Marriage is the union of two families. Like it or not both spouses will want to remain in contact with their families and to do that both have to learn to compromise with each others families.

I’m a very difficult person to live with, very addictive but very difficult. I get bored easily, so how will it be possible for me to compromise and marry just anyone. I don’t look down on arranged marriages but no matter how good a judge of a person I am, I will never be able to know a person in 5 minutes or even a month. Perhaps I think too much, perhaps I’m picky but when you know yourself so well how can you compromise.

I will never be able to bite my lips and smile at abuse. I am quite capable of hitting or berating someone or perfect strangers for being rude or abusive in any manner to anyone. I’ve told off friends, family members and even strangers. Heck I can’t even stand bigotry remarks or any other social norms that hurt others even in my own flesh and blood so how will I be able to in a stranger?

Yes my standards are high but they’re not unreasonable. The most important thing to me is that I have lived my life to the fullest of my capacity and I will continue to push myself to live my life the best way possible without backstabbing, hurting or cheating anyone.

I’m sorry to disappoint you if you think I’m yearning for someone and just mumbling to defend my singleness. Actually my mom’s trying to arrange my younger brother’s marriage and I had to repeatedly tell my mom I had no problem with it. So somewhere this year my brother should be married. So will a few of my close friends. I can’t wait for their weddings actually. I can believe I’ll be seeing the nut in a veshti. He is trying to wriggle out of it, but we’ll make sure we get his mom and fiancĂ© to force him into one.

So what about children? Well my biological clock hasn’t ticked; neither has motherhood pangs set in since I’ve had the experience of bringing up children. I brought up my cousin who used to fondly call me amma (mom). That’s a story for another day. But yes I’d love to have children and if I can’t have my own I’ll adopt. Funny thing is about 7 years ago when my ex was talking about adoption it seemed foreign to me. You see society feeds you with words such as unless it’s your own they’re not yours – so anything other than that seems alien to you. Its taken years and maturity to break that. Thank god I’ve finally seen the light of that. There are so many children out there that deserve a better home and if you can financially and emotionally offer them that, nothing should stop you.

End of the day all I can say is get married only if you want to and never because of someone else. They’re not gonna live your life – you’ll be the one stuck with the mistake of marrying the wrong person and getting yourself tangled in a messy divorce not them. Don’t worry they’ll be right next to you to tell you how and why you went wrong!

When will we be rid of those words? When will society stop looking down on women who decide not to get married? I hope and pray that someone else doesn’t have to ask the same questions in another 50 years.


IBH said...

ok gal! you are tagged :)

Vinesh said...

it is bound to get easier as more people make life choices like you have. until then, it is a struggle for this generation.

i think if someone chooses not to marry, they must stay strong about it. i have seen people not wanting marriage but succumbing to pressure. that decision ruins two lives!

archana said...

Hmm yeah i've watched the movie monalisa's smile. I also like that movie a lot. Julia roberts is acted very well in that movie.
Ok coming to the topic since marriage being an inevitable face in everyones life, i feel they should enjoy that face of life rather than avoiding it for other reasons.

Aparna said...

You're not alone! I'm coming up to 30, work and live a single life in London and love it. But the pressure on me from my family & relatives is sometimes incredible! Marriage is a long term thing and I will do it only when I've found the right person. Fortunately for me, a lot of my friends (both english and indian) are still single and we live life on our terms.

Inder said...

the famous question...
to marry? or not to marry?

visithra said...

ibh : ok will try to do it ;)

vinesh : a lot of ppl get married for the wrong reasons and live miserable lives or end up getting divorced - 2 very painful procedures actually

archana : the question is why is it inevitable? why cant ppl decide otherwise?

aparna : tell me about it - i know exatly what you mean - i think u being away from ur family keeps u away from most of the pressure - its nuts when u live near to ur family n relatives ;)

inder : lol ;p

Harichandana said...

Brilliant post, I agree with you 100%. I am 28 too, single and in exactly the same situation as you including the younger brother part :) Fighting hard for my right to marry when and whom I choose , you put it perfectly.

visithra said...

hari : i won the first battle - now ive changed the battle to something else n thats becoming my moms main concern at the moment ;p don't fight just be devious ;p

Anonymous said...

Your comment on the word "Vazha vetti" , caught my attention. Such words give a bad name to a language itself. Tamil overflows with many similar words like this. You are on the dot about that.