In the midst of marriage season, we asked a few married and unmarried people what they think.
It’s been one long month of continuous ‘Big Fat Indian Weddings’ and we can’t stop talking about DeepVeer, NickYanka and the recently concluded Ambani extravaganza. With the number of weddings, we can't deny that love is in the air. November-December is now not just the winter season, it's the wedding season. I know my Instagram is flooded with wedding hashtags, and regular conversations in the gym are about whose wedding binge session we are trying to recover from.
The images that broke the internet. Image source: Instagram
Is marriage a happily ever after forever and ever, or a contractual custom made in hell? The concept has been dissected and discussed, and while I’m now attending weddings by the dozen, I can’t help wondering why it’s called an institution? My mind flits from the glow on a couple’s face at the mandap, to the terrifying notion of divorce and adultery. Has marriage become more about a ‘wedding’ than anything else? My Facebook newsfeed feels like a travel itinerary, with one destination wedding looking more beautiful than the other. Photo shoots are the new movie trailers and theme weddings are my replacement for Pinterest fodder. Armed with questions, I turned to the people around me for answers.
Shashank Baliga, 22, Writer for East India Comedy
I’m not a big fan of the ‘institution of marriage’. I think it’s a very outdated, archaic system born out of the unnecessary need to straightjacket and bind people together for a lifetime. In some cases, even seven lifetimes - brought to you by the holy scriptures and ideals which were also instrumental in shoving the abhorrent practices of sati, child marriage and dowry down our throats for centuries on end. If two consenting adults wish to live together, it’s entirely their prerogative. For the life of me I don’t see the need for any kind of legal or societal validation. To further reiterate my stance, it’s not that adultery is an alien concept. If someone wishfully chooses to exit the union between man and woman, they should be allowed to do so, no questions asked. Why impose unwarranted legal and procedural obligations on a person in a last ditch bid to get them to surrender to something that they no longer want to be part of? I also think it’s funny how the cuss word, “bastard” was coined with the sole purpose to subtly threaten us into following propaganda and misguided notions. Maybe in some nooks, crannies and crevices of history, there was some need to enforce this institution upon people. But for my money, this failing system holds absolutely no water, at least in this day and age.
Related: Our Increasingly Low Tolerance Levels Are Reflected In Our Failing Marriages
Siddhant Chaudhary, 26, UI/UX designer
My slightly controversial opinion is that the institution of marriage simply doesn't work. At least not in a way it used to, under our current societal map. Pre-marital sex is rampant; women and men have many partners before marriage; the economic partnership or dependency model is not a large part of a marriage when both the man and the woman can survive independent of each other. There are new legal implications to being a wedded couple (read: prenuptial agreements) but a lot of modern societies have also made provisions for domestic partnerships without the legal contract necessary.
I see marriage as a legal contract between two people, which to me ironically, is far from the concept of romantic love or unflinching commitment to a partner. Divorces are messy with child custody laws and alimony laws being severely disadvantageous to men. The fact that there is so much non-mainstream literature discussing unhappy marriages, while, at the same time, all mainstream literature celebrating marriages as a "happily ever after" illusion is enough to rouse my suspicion. I've given this a fair amount of thought and I'm not sold.
Kavita Punjabi, 49, Homemaker
Marriage makes one complete. Not that unmarried people are incomplete, or they have easier lives or they remain stress free. But to have someone you can share the rest of your life with, the unconditional love you give and receive is a feeling you can put into words only if you marry and know what it is all about. Loving and caring and sharing with that special someone, taking responsibilities without feeling the burden of them, nurturing family, looking forward to holidays and various family events where two families blend, one your own maiden family and one of your husband's is all what marriage is about. I feel fortunate and honoured. All in all, marriage in every aspect is sharing and caring!
Related: Why It's Okay To Have No Happily Ever After
Nirmal Sebastian, 27, Communications student
I think marriage is an amazing institution that brings two people together in a way that no other event can. But it only maintains its novelty when it's between two people who are absolutely sure they want to live with each other forever. As someone who isn't married, everything I derive is through the experiences I have seen around me and these have only been positive. While I'm also a proponent of living together, I think marriage has its own charm.
Sushila Punjabi, 83, Retired banker
Marriage is a self-chosen path where the most important thing is the understanding and trust each partner has. Money and beauty comes next, the partner should know the needs of another without having to express them. Which is how I figured there are different kinds of people all around me, people who are ambitious and love their work and have no time to look for love, people who are homely and live for their families, people who are ready to settle and people who swear by constant change. I think as long as you’re happy, as long as you find your groove, labels and definitions shouldn’t control your definition of happiness.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101India.com
By Aashna Mehta
Cover photo credit: pinterest.com