Last afternoon I was watching “before midnight” (ironically).
I am an ardent “before” fan. I absolutely love Julie Delpy, (so much so that if I could, I would marry that woman.)
More than the actress herself, I love the character that is Celine. If I had a dream sequence where I could choose my wife, I would have chosen Celine. Hands down!
By the way, this brings me to the idea of marriage. There is this conversation between Jesse and Celine during their long walk, about Jesse’s late grandma. When he says that she was married to his grandpa for 74 years, it goes like this.
CELINE: How long were they married?
JESSE: 74 years.
To me and most Indians, “74 years of marriage” is normal (if two people can avoid dying till their nineties.) Hence, Celine’s innocent reaction “fuck” made me chuckle.
I come from a society, where marriage is kinda one time thing. Sometimes, it is painful when people fall out of love or just are not married to people whom they love. But as a famous saying goes,
“Once, that ring is down your finger, it comes out only in the next life.”
It is like that here in India. Sometimes, I find it extremely amazing how two people spend their entire lifetime bickering with each other. Very few people of our generation have seen separated parents. The concept of “divorce” was alien to most of us until we started watching movies and reading novels.
However, in most of the households here (I guess more than anywhere else in the world), children see unhappy parents. Somewhere down the line, people blame arranged marriages for this. I wonder if the concept of arranged marriages is alien to my friends from west.
It is simply laughable to many to even imagine marrying a stranger just because your parents tell you to. To spend the wedding night with a complete stranger, particularly for girls, I believe it must be weird, especially those who come from families where “losing your flower” to someone who is not your spouse is the biggest of sins. I wonder if they ever fall in love with this stranger they are supposed to call husbands for rest of their lives.
That is for another day.
However, I also see the children of couples who courted for years and then married with each other’s consent and they are no different. They suffer from similar unhappy marriages. I guess these species simply fall out of love. Marred by the harsh realities of life, love scurries into some cave and never comes back.
In either of the cases, concept of divorce doesn’t exist. They may beat the hell out of each other, cry seas of tears everyday and spend sleepless, sexless nights on the same bed, but they seldom tread the path of separation. Perhaps, the reason why we see relatively less number of divorces( in our parents’ generation!) is to secure the lives of their children from the hell that is divorce. Another reason is the society. Everything becomes a big deal here. For absolutely nothing, society loves to boycott and disown. Other than this fear of banishment, people tend to grow habit of enduring each other. Despite everything they throw at one another, they can’t imagine a life without their partner. Perhaps, that is a major reason why marriages last.
There is another very subtle reason which is a major factor in the difference of mindsets of the two contrasting generations. These days, more and more girls are becoming self dependent financially. They are getting confident and are not ready to take their husband’s sweet shit for too long. Our mothers and grandmothers never earned a penny by themselves. They were transferred from the guardianship of their father to their husbands. They had no other choice in order to survive and make their children survive than to make peace with everything they suffered.
In this respect, I find western nations and their societies to be very relaxing. There are options for everything. Though, at times, a few customs and behaviors are hard to digest for me(being an Indian) .
I personally believe that monogamy is not that hard. And I guess, with my ignorant mind that marriage was meant to be one time thing when God wrote about it in his constitution.
When you marry many times and love a lot of people in your life, the essence of marriage and love vanishes (not “dies”).
These days, I see the new couples treading the path of divorce and separation after a year or two. Many a times, they don’t even have valid reasons but “it was a mistake.” It kinda worries me. Perhaps because they mistake “marriage” for “wedding”, later being just a ceremony while marriage is amalgamation of two people. Marriage makes two people one. And if a marriage dies, it means that this alloyed person made out of two people is dying. I see the concept of marriage getting suffocated between the glittery affair, that is wedding and the gloomy scene that is divorce. Soon, I fear, the institution of marriage would be a documented monument.
It is the most blissful thing to be loved and to love someone for your entire lifetime, despite all the struggles and imperfections of your partner. But what do I know, I am a dolt!