Saturday, July 22, 2006

Marriage: Coming Of Age?

If the steady reports depicting bigamy, adultery are anything to go by then it does seem as if marriage has lost its sheen. More than marriage, loyalty, commitment and monogamy seem like ‘yawn’ inducing terms. Slowly but steadily, inching forward, is the concept of an ‘open marriage’ whatever that means.

Lately, the rather amazing coverage of Prof. Matuknath, his lover Julie and wife Abha, served as fodder for many a conversation. Then came along the sorry tale of Manoj Prabhakars second wife and his two kids despite the presence of a first and her 18 yr. old son. Udit narayan, the singer whose voice has been associated withh Shahrukh, was caught dodging the press when his first wife showed up in front of the media to expose that he had deserted her and had married again.

Laxity of moral values or a complete turn around? Down the ages man has been a predator. However civility demanded monogamy. Therefore he was forced to adhere . Marriage played little or no role in curbing the instincts so deeply ingrained. But till a while ago, shame facedness, societal pressures, kept behaviour of the kind under wraps. Either an ever inquisitive media, its need to expose and ‘break news’, or then that the incidents have taken on a frightening regularity and impunity in their stance and attitude, but as of now, it seems sadly ubiquitous.

Have our folks from good ole Bollywood set a trend, which at the time may have caused an uproar, but now has served as a license if not a path breaking example? Dharmendra, Boney Kapoor, Aamir Khan (before the divorce involvement with the british girl and present wife) Saif ali Khan,off the cuff examples. There sure are a lot more, even if one leaves out the Muslim actors who by virtue of their religion invoked permissions have almost always adhered by this tenet of more than one wife, disregarding any other to do with Virtuousnesss.

What has emerged from this rather painful turn of events are two attitudinal changes, to do with the man and the woman.

First, the man it seems has openly declared his right to ‘love’ another, live and raise kids, with impunity, with total disregard to laws and judiciary. Several loopholes and lacunae, in our antiquated civil code totally in the dock here. Encouraged that the wife, at the mercy of a judiciary therefore who would in all probability squeeze her dry financially, emotionally and physically before even a semblance of justice is accorded to her, is a pawn in the hands of a patrarchal system and lethargic judicial and social structure.

Second, the woman notwithstanding, the round about route of justice, has decided to speak up and bare her sorrow via the media to the world at large. She has decided brazenly to give back as good as she gets. The unreasonability of hiding behind the confines of her domesticity in the name of ‘shame’ dignity’ propriety’ is not an alternative any more. If the sacrosanct institution of marriage has been thus trampled upon and abused by the man, then what good for the woman to morally hang on to threads of a bond, long severed?

Where will this lead us is anybodys guess. Either the denotation of marriage will have to undergo a radical re-definition. Or, marriage as an institution will fail to attract the coming generation as one which spelt, ‘settling down’ or ‘home making’ in its essence..

The writing is on the wall. Relationships are in a stage of transition. Whether or not it will eventually prove to be a wiser, practical and therefore viable resolution, is too early to predict.

A paradigm shift is taking place .. I for one, am saddened. Why is it so difficult to be committed in one's decision and flexible in one's approach?

On a different tangent:Does not the woman have a right to love another and hinge her claim to 'independence' irrespective of a home, marriage and kids? Sure.. What would be the end result then, if women decide to exercise their right in the same proportion as men do? Is the rearing of kids pre-dominantly a womans responsibility? Does the father forego his duty to provide a home, safe and secure for his children, the moment he 'is disenchanted' with his wife or enchanted with another? Does not moral uprightness fall within the ambit of responsible parenting? Will the sons/kids from such a marriage grow up to be dependable responsible adults, capable of living up to standards of a progressive civilised society?

This is not about divorce, incompatibility, or instances when separation is not only the way out but also advisable. It is also not about a marriage where all limits of propriety have long been forsaken and divorce the only option.

This is about disloyalty, bigamy , adultery! This is about sounding the death knell of 'marriage' in its universally accepted connotation. This is about putting ones needs before those of ones family. This is about arm twisting a womans lack of standing as an individual worth consideration. This is about overriding desires getting the better of wisdom and righteousness. This is about decadent moral values in a rotting festering society worshipping novelty over steadfastness. This is about proving once again that among all the creatures on the planet, man is the most unreliable and undependable. This is about defence of ones actions blatantly under the guise of "love" for another girl, younger than your son. This is about giving lust the name of 'soulmate' and demeaning a marriage of 26 years as a 'compromise'.

This is also about a warning to males and females to re evaluate ones priorities in the baclground of a harmonious ,just and fair world. Where 'Love' is a reason to make not break. Where passion is not a virtue if it dictates immorality. Where control over the base instincts is the Reason for marriage. Where your mettle as a human being is evaluated mostly on how you conduct your self as a man, in your role as father, husband, son and benefactor. Where curbing of ones passion is the key to being recognised as a successful balanced human being. Where both partners pledge and vow that committment is the basis of their relationship. Where marriage is a 'choice' agreement entered to with the aim of fulfillment and respect of its attributes.

The world is stricken by terrorist activities. Who are these terrorists? Are they results of a broken home? Neglected childhood? After all they are humans, not aliens? They belong to our society. Is not the barbaric act of a husband who burns his bride, tortures her, demeans or betrays her, also not an act to terrorise another?

Its time we deal with injustice at all levels. There seems to be no dearth of atrocities within and without.

P.S. A generic stance had to be adopted for the sake of feasibility. There are several males who are lovable, monogamous, loyal, honest, committed..(on orders from a highly disgruntled hubby)

19 comments:

Neha said...

lol...expected reaction from a spouse...but seriously, I think that it is true that marriage has lost its meaning. Not that women are not disloyal.. there are a lot many.. but would not go to the extent of breaking their homes. I am not trying to take up their side, but attractions are going to happen..but all of that has to finish before marriage.. u cannot start experimenting after marriage. Getting married young should be avoided I think. You have to be mature for this decision and only then commit.

Anonymous said...

If wives and society were more open to extra marital affairs...then lies would not be told...it is just a natural biological need..

puja said...

My mom was blamed by my father all the time for his philanderings... things like 'if I cannot find happiness in the house then i have to look for it outside'..or..'you are responsible for my frustration.. you are shouting at me all the time'
it used to get me so wild. My mom cld have turned around and gone and done her thing too.. its not as if he was treating her like a queen!! but... no .. a woman does not retalite that way and if she does then anothere reason for the man to get even more aggressive in his ways. men who blame the women for their quirks are those who do not want to own up to their actions or take responsibility for their decisions. Weak minded and pathetic. One rarely comes across a man who says the fault is mine if i have a roving eye not my wifes. And then these men demand respect!! Actually it is such a catch 22 situation. If the woman complains of the mans behaviour he accuses her of nagging and being unbearable, of hallucinating, of imagining things, of being obsessed, etc.. if she sits back and does nothing, chirps sweetly, says the right things, murmurs the right noises, then he sits back and has the best of both the worlds anyways..So either a man is loyal or he is not.. there is no other explanation. If nothing can drive a woman to be disloyal if she does not want to, then a man has no right to plead innocence if he finds reasons for it.. he cld damnb well find reasons TO BE LOYAL instead..

sorry for the rant.. but this just got to me.. so many incidents ... all smell of the same rotten excuses..

Anonymous, i think you are disgusting

Anonymous said...

Why am I disgusting??????????

So if we give u a reason for affairs u dont want to hear..n if we dont then we are beasts.. so its a catch 22 for us 2..u want your man to be at home..dont give him an excuse to get out:) Tho I dont think its a big deal if he goes out once in a way. men will be men.. roving eyes.. isnt that what women want?? to be looked at?? so we are obliging:)

silbil said...

anonymous is just immature, neha!

marriage definitely needs a reassesment...we might not as monogamous (if at all) as we think we are...
and stable marriages have also produced monster children so anticipating that disappearance of the institution will produce confused,lost, unhappy generations seems like a bit of an exagerration...
but i loved your post as i had just dismissed the whole hoo haa about some random professor with media has nothing to better to report or what?
Now i am thinking...

Anonymous said...

Immature?? Me?? No way??

You women the trouble with you guys is that you want to have your cake and eat it too. You want stability in marriage but not ready for the price. If you mean that accepting polygamy is immature, then you better check your maturity meter!!

and if you think that fatherless rudderless kids will not produce a generation of confused kids.. then you need counselling baby..living in denial eh??

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

Neha,

yeah..I have often felt the need for orientation classes at college levels which deal with relationships, their demands and clues to making a successful one. Youngsters need to be guided however much they may feel like 'know alls' in matters of the heart. But honestly, love , marriage, responsibility and committment are complex issues.

One may shrug off a failed relationship with 'who cares a damn'..but it does take its toll on both men and women. Alternatively a blossoming relationship can add the zing to an otherwise stressed life. We live in times when nothing is given to us on a platter except maybe pre-digested news and quite an overdose of it. Other than that we have to work at keeping it going..this does require a level headedness, a preparedness and a calm outlook.Again not given to us but has to be earned. Misguided priorities can wreck havoc on an otherwise fuitful relationship.

Puja,
It definitely was not a rant. You managed to convey the scene so clearly. It moved me. It is real and painful. Its very difficult to make anyone accept 'right behaviour' extraneously. Either it comes from within or is then an appendage which will expose its artificiality sooner than later.

So true.. he should look for reasons to be loyal instead. Or its just a jusification exercise to soothe his guilt ridden nerves.

Nandini,

I have been privy to many a marriage go astray for more or less the same reasons as depicted in Prf Matuknaths case. Besides, it is not limited to just a marriage falling apart but the fraility of the institution as a whole. I was reading a report which spoke of live in arrangements and kids from those being torn apart in custody battles. So bad enough that legally the kid has problems in identification but is up against custody hassles as well.

The fact that the professor and his paramour were finally garlanded, is only tell tale of the societal mood prevalent. Modernity has taken on a garb which has made inroads into relationships and the dynamics therein. Permissiveness is going to lead us into areas which may metamorph the current customs and accepted traditions. We have to be ready and think ahead. Children need moorings and roots, for a balanced atmosphere. The fact that brats can come out of either situation for or against, does not nullify the need for a father in ones life. Especially in a scenario where other kids may have.

Anonymous you have a point. I see that you have been honest perhaps anonymity aids veracity:) So atleast one sphere where it is not being misused. You agree that men are polygamous by nature and it is in our interest to accept it. While what you say may be true it may not necessarily be right. If anything, life is also about control, discipline and decorum. Nothing has and can come out of irresponsibility or a denial of virtuousness. While only good accrues from following a code which benefits all and is free of self serving agendas.

Dont get married if loyalty, responsibility are issues you cannot cope with. But if you have entered into this arrangement then rules must be followed.

silbil said...

ummm...i think women TOO are polygamous/anderous by nature...
motherhood , need to nurture etc etc are social conditioning too not just innate emotional and physical states...at least i believe that...

i agree wholeheartedly that children need a father they need a mother and they need a stable home but it's not a guarantee...
divorce obviously means two unhappy, angry, bitter or at least dissatisfied adults...so i can understand how the children suffer...
but what if marraige wasn't the way it is today and whether they were together or not children had two happy adults...
i know i sound half crazy or idealistic...but it's a genuine thought!

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

Oh yes.. certain women feel the need to change partners too.. But That is not an issue here. The idea was to question the justification and validation of adultery, bigamy under the guise of progressive thinking. Unmarried individuals dont play a role in this discussion, save to carve ideals they choose.


Motherhood is not social conditioning nandini.. May I remind you that is only the woman who can procreate:) It was meant to be so..Whether marriage was an institution or a social construct is what we should be re assessing.

If ALL childen were conditioned to nuclear families or rather single parent ones, then the matter would be of less concern. And is that what we are moving towards is what is the scope here.

Is it better never to be married and have a child out of choice without pledging lifelong partnership? Or should marriage be more permissive in allowing for extra marital affirs? Or should marriage in its traditional connotation be re affirmed with fresh vigor?

These are questions born of the present state of events.

silbil said...

sorry to digress a bit but why have you started calling me NANDINI all of a sudden?
seems like you are scolding me ;)

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

lol...on the contrary. Nandini is such a nice name instead of the impersonal silbil..but if you are more comfortable with that ..we'll use silbil:)

Anonymous said...

no no i love my name...except that silbil which meanns half crazy which i feel most of the time when i am blogging...reading...recieving so much info and views and feel mad trying to understand and keep up with , seems to be more apt than nandini...that is all...
i think i am going to think more and write about this marriage post and not just shoot off as i usually do...
neha and puja would approve of that also...

btw what i meant to say earlier is that maternal feelings seem to be influenced by social conditioning a great deal...
sometimes the tug at the heart is natural and sometimes its forced by guilt...
i was thinking of that as a reason for why a woman does not leave home even if she sees potential happiness...
more later
i promise to be more coherent

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

Nandini.. the above post is yours na?..why Anonymous.. got me confused.. felt almost like silbil:)

silbil said...

it was me and i have no idea how it got posted as anonymous...i did key in the user name etc...
and did u mean it sounds half mad...
now u r being mean

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

I had no idea from Adams that silbil meant 'half crazy' as you put it. So all I did was merely use that fresh piece of knowledge:) And in fact that is how I would like to describe myself too at times...totally loony n loving every moment of it.. so join the gang.

you got me laughing tho:)))

silbil said...

isn't that cool? to make u laugh in such times?
relationships are changing...the empty gaps hurt in them...
city is either burning or flooded...
shuddering at the memory of the last 26th..
but i made a wonderful friend (who got me a rose to mark the day) that day, the faer that day for me at least seems a little compensated for...
marriages..relationships...i am too wrought and cynical abt them at the mo...
and guess adolescent angst still remains (despite being 27) ...i am giving up on any chance at a relationship...
:)

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

Yeah thanks for the laugh.. I never miss an opportunity.. nothing like surrendering oneself to a good loud guffaw every once in a way.. Could never join the laughter club tho. It seems so forced.

Hey and cynicism doesnt fall well on young girls.. dont be.. and never give up on love.. open yourself to it and feel it creeping back into your life. How about keeping some fresh flowers or a snap of these .. roses or whatever in your bedroom? South west corner preferably..

der Bergwind said...

hi...:))
in2 corporate world.. tvs motors, in bangalore now n lifez too fast n furious now n its a long time after tat am reading a blog..
i still go by the high tones set on the monday.. the week of 7/11..

yesterday the murder of the lady in bangalore... saw police around our locality that has a girlz hostel for an mba college... marriage.. huh.. dunno... just tat lifez heading down the highway of hell n even i cant escape:))

hope ur doing gud n miss the blog world.. wud be bac soon...
love

saptarshi

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

Hi saptarshi,

so good to see you back:).. I reckoned perhaps your comp had decided to play truant again..

So you in bangalore now? Yeah I heard of that ghastly murder..

good n bad coexist n we have to reinforce the spirit within which recognises the harmonious..

And its great you have strung on to the rhythm of cheer.. it wont let you down..

we are doing fine.. missed you tho..as also dim n few others. it has been a disturbing fortnight.. But dark clouds have vanished now:)

Take care