It wasn’t long back I had met Trisha (name changed on request) and soon discovered that our thoughts were very much in sync on many aspects of life which fostered the ease between us. Both of us came from small towns and lived independent lives, both of us had to go through turmoil in terms of heartbreaks, both of us share almost identical views on relationships, marriage, life and parents.
Today, Trisha is settled in UK. Far away from the country she grew up in and also from the family where her heart belongs. It’s been 2 years but the reason for her move? She wanted to permanently dodge constant nagging for getting married. She feels she is not missing out on anything by not getting married.
Why so? “Marriage is not necessary for me. May be it’s not made for everybody. Not that I do not want to get married ever. If I meet someone who really wants to get married to me, I would be fine. But I would prefer living-in with a person whom I might be head over heels with rather than being married to him. My parents would not be very happy with the idea but they are not happy with many other things that I do.” hinted Trisha.
What exactly is the reason behind her staunch viewpoint? “Marriage is an over hyped institution in Indian society” adds Trisha candidly. What annoys her is when the bondage becomes compulsive even when things do not work between the couple. Parents insist to make it work since getting separated would sabotage their image in the society and among relatives. She strongly feels that two people should only commit for marriage if their belief in this institution is absolute, have faith in each other, cannot imagine a different life without each other and are ready to overcome the roadblocks together. It is not a one way thoroughfare. Both partners should be ready to forgive each other and work on problems, when they arise. And just in case nothing helps, better to come out of it rather than making lives difficult for every person involved (family included).
Did she never believe in marriage? “I did. Once upon a time” confesses Trisha. Two instances of heartbreaks and she learnt the truth of life the hard way. First break up took a toll on her mental and physical health both. She took very long time to get out of it and move on. “I wasn’t ready for the second innings but things somehow fell in place. He knew everything about my ex and the way it had broken me”. He was a guy from her office. To keep things under wraps, they moved out of India to work on an on-site project. This time, marriage was almost on cards.
What went wrong then? “His parents wanted to go the astrological way. Our kundalis did not match” Trisha riposted bitterly. In a time when India has reached Mars, people here still believe in matching kundalis. What about the guy? What were his views? He behaved in the most cowardly way a man can ever behave. Not having the courage to stand strong alongside her, he gave in to his parents’ wishes. Got married to a girl of their choice.
Trisha had it once and for all. She was now more adamant in not getting married.
Has she moved on? Certainly she has. And in the most beautiful way. She is at her best and is enjoying her single-hood without craving for love. “I have all the love I need. I love myself. My parents and brothers love me more than life itself. My friends care for me and love me the way I am. I do not need anyone else’s love.” she replies with a broad smile and all twinkle in her eyes.
For her, life is like a season. We need to make it beautiful by exploring every phase by getting out of our comfort zone. Do what we like to do the most and something that makes us genuinely happy. Enjoy life every moment and make them memorable. Do a job that provides immense happiness. Make a bucket list and keep emptying it every now and then. Let’s not fret about future and purely enjoy the present.
After going through all this, does she think she has become more forgiving? She neither believes in revenge nor forgiveness. She is not the forgiving kind and can never forgive someone who had hurt her or her loved ones deliberately. She doesn’t wish to go take revenge on anyone either, for, post revenge, the feeling won’t be as anticipated. “I would rather leave it on time than embroil myself in forgiveness or revenge.”
Doesn’t she fear of leading a lonely life? Sometimes yes. She tends to think that she might have to live a lonely life forever, without any partner. Staying away from family and finding all friends busy with their spouses makes her feel lonely at times. How does she leap out of loneliness then? Running, gymming, trekking, yoga, karate, cooking, traveling solo are her escapes. She manages to get away from that dreading thought by engaging herself in activities that she loves to do. “Like I have been cooking a lot recently and gained a lot of weight. You would not recognize me when I return.” declares Trisha with a loud mirth and adds “On a serious note, this fight with my angst is an ongoing process. I never give them a second thought.”
What is one bizarre thing about her childhood? “I did not like to let the others know about I being brought up in a lower middle class family. So, just to be a part of the conversation among the group of friends who belonged to filthy rich families, I used to lie. I did not want to let myself feel inferior.”
She is, nevertheless, very proud of her family today, though it took her a while to realize that her family’s income, in no way, was the measure of values within the family. She was very well aware of the sacrifices her parents had made to raise their children for which, she immensely loves and respects them. By consciously hiding facts about her family, she felt she was creating a virtual world of lies around her by not accepting the reality, which would, someday prove toxic for her own existence.
To lighten up the otherwise tense mood of our conversation, I ask one last question. Hasn’t she been approached by men off late? “Of course I have” replies Trisha with élan and continues “They are all the same, irrespective of the Indians dwelling here or the firangs, everyone expects me to become physically intimate the second moment we meet. But, I still am not the one night stand girl. I have my middle class values imbibed deeply within. I cannot get intimate with anyone in absence of an iota of emotional connect.”
We laugh it off by exchanging many such examples from each other’s experiences. I am waiting to meet her in flesh when she returns back to India next year.
Trisha’s experiences and her replies leave lot of questions open ended. Why have the bonds of relationships become so fragile? Why is every second person wary of commitments and marriage? Why cannot parents accept their children for who they are? To what extent and till when are Indian parents gonna try and control the fate of their children? We educate our children and teach them to be independent throughout their growing years, but the moment children start spreading their wings, parents turn panicky and suddenly wish to pull the straps tight.
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