Before I start with the discussion & comparison between two completely different approaches towards the relationship between two consenting individual, I would like to share the incident that triggered the debate in my mind.
To safeguard the identity & respect for her privacy, I am not disclosing the name or any specific detail of the person concerned. Although I am eternally grateful to her for letting me bring this issue forward & help us understand the complexities of human relationships. I salute your courage !!
Let’s call her, Shakti. Hers was an arranged marriage with a guy who virtually looked perfect in terms of qualification, family background & profession. They had a nice Indian wedding with all razzmatazz. Within a month in her marriage her life was turned upside down. Her husband & in-laws forced her to change all her bank accounts from individual to joint.Either with husband or father in law. Her salary was snatched away from her leaving just a meager sum for her daily expenses & needs. She was forbidden from contacting her family when alone, not allowed to get pregnant for next 5 years ( in case she survived ) , maids were chucked out , husband hardly moved a thing in house, physically & mentally tortured on regular basis.
Looks like a simple case of bad marriage. What makes this case a little different is that this couple had a year from the day of engagement till marriage. They were living in different cities hence only contacted each other through emails or calls. They would have met a couple of times during this period in public places. The regular meeting-my-would-be -spouse-lets-be -at-best-behavior.
They separated after two years. A divorce case filed in court. Shakti is managing her job, court case, piercing eyes of neighbors & uncomfortable questions of relatives. While that guy is already married someone else, without proper divorce coming through and soon going to become a father.
SO, it leaves us with few questions ……..
1 . If they had a chance to know each other better, would the story have ended up differently?
2. Girls willingly or unwillingly give up their financial individuality after marriage.Is that required ? do they have any other choice?
3. She is getting sympathy & kind words from everyone who know her story.Still no one is out there to help her. She is on her own.What role does society play here if any? ( Ironically most of our decisions are affected by the fear of society )
Marriage, without a doubt, is the finest form of commitment between two individual. It merges two different ideologies, background & families. It would remain ‘The institution of cohabitation between two individuals not bound by blood’. I completely agree.
( Dilip Kumar & Saira Banu are enjoying the marital bliss since last 5 decades )
Nevertheless, the institution also has its flaws & limitations. Talking in the Indian context, marriage is preceded by the male & his family in a maximum number of cases ( irrespective of love or arranged marriage ). It does provide Social acceptance, recognition, support system & a permanent address.But it also comes with family pressure, social obligations, stress to hang onto the relationship even if it’s dying a slow death every single moment & messy separation procedure.
It also happens in some cases that the girl flatly refuses to adjust as per her new found family owing to her different lifestyle.Hence leaving no options for husband & his family but to bear the histrionics due to social norms. In both the cases, It’s torturous & non-adjustable.
Live -in, on the other hand, is another approach towards the relationship. Free, with mutual consent, equal accountability san any pressure and above all a chance to know the other person better before taking the final call. But it does come with its side effects. Instead of going over the whole list lets just say it’s still not acceptable in Indian society. ( Although it is been part of ancient Indian culture. STILL ? )
( Renowned singer Bhutan Hazarika & Kalpana Lazmi, writer & director, were companions for 4 decades )
In my personal opinion, Live -in does act as a reality check. It helps you to understand the person, likes- dislikes, way of living far better. When you start living with a person, at some point or other you will have to drop the act & expose your true self. Then it is up to the other person to either adjust accordingly or move on. Separation still is painful but not as messy & delayed as in the case of marriage. Mind you it takes lots of courage & strength to face the daily scrutinizing of people around you. Live -in or gay marriage, it’s neither easy to come out in open nor to live it every day. If we can’t respect their choices we must at least leave them alone. It is definitely a good option for…..
- Couple trying to know each other & evaluating the prospect of a future together
- Two highly career oriented people who love being together without any strings attached. ( including the no- child clause )
- Who recently come out of a relationship or divorce & trying to find love again.
- Who come from a liberal background.Thus have family support in case the things doesn’t work out.
Marriage is the final stage of a relationship. Its warmth & commitment is unmatched. If two individual, fully aware of each other flaws & strengths come together, the chances of its success increase tremendously. We, as a country, has always been accepting.Be it different religions, cultures or systems. It a time that we increase our circle of thoughts not only for people from other countries & cultures but our own lot. Give them space to decide about their future, take personal decisions and let them take responsibility for their actions. As a society, we can help them by being more tolerant towards people with a different outlook and rooting for effective laws to safeguard individuals.
Marriage or Live-in doesn’t come with a rule book or an instruction manual. These are personal choices that two like-minded people make.Both should be respected & treated with equality.After all, there are two lives involved. As long as two adults are happy together how does it matter whether they are bound by the law or by will? Law & society must help individuals to grow rather than force them to cling on to a relation in which none of the partners is happy. Rather than treating it as a sin and /or a way to break free from social norms, treat it as a practical way to approach another individual for the future alliance. Be supportive Be tolerant so that many Shaktis, even the guys, have a chance to make fair judgment & redeem their lives !!
I thank Indiblogger for choosing my idea as IndiSpire edition 18 . Its a great way to encourage bloggers to exchange thoughts & get inspired :)