The Marriage Chapter
[The conversations, examples etc. are based on real life incidents and experiences.]
Amrita returned from office and saw her mother in a slightly anxious state.
Amrita – What’s been worrying you now?
Mom- Our life…when you will be gone….just have a look at this article on ‘Assisted Living For the Aged’ – this is made esp. for us – nearing 70..they are claiming that they will take care of food, lodging, medicine etc. everything….why don’t you find out about it?
Amrita – why? What’s wrong with being here at home? A home you & dad built so lovingly – your dreams and aspirations – and all that blah-blah that your generation so fondly clutches on to…..
Mom- Nothing wrong here – but when you will be gone…
Amrita – Gone where – as in …..if I die in some accident? Where are you packing me off to?
Maa- oof! Touch wood – why do you even utter such negative words? I am saying when you get married and gone….
Amrita – married?! Mom!! – I am already 36 years old..I am a ‘budhiya’ (old hag) why would anyone want to marry me now?
Mom- no…miracles can always happen….there are so many of them I know who got married at 34, even 37…why your Aunt got married at the age of 45….so miracles can happen!
Amrita – What is so miraculous about getting married to a widower with grown up kids? He clearly married her to be an aayah (maid servant) to look after his household…
Mom- Nonsense – did you not see how happy she was looking, when she attended the family wedding last month? She was wearing a saree that must be worth 15k…or even more plus the gold chain she was wearing was probably costlier than the total gold jewellery the bride was wearing on her wedding….
Amrita – so what you are trying to say is – if a female gets thick gold chains and expensive sarees to wear – she is guaranteed to be happy…is it?
Mom- what I am trying to say is that she is clearly not working as the maid-servant in that house but living with enough dignity and respect….contrary to her life when she was living with her parents and brothers here – in fact she is the one who raised the children of both her brothers….from washing their nappies to reaching them to school to teaching them – she did it all and yet the poor thing was seen as a burden – so compared to that sick thankless job she had with her own parents – she seem pretty happy with her new life!
Amrita – hmmm…well yeah! Her life was difficult here – no doubt…so the first chance she got to escape this hell-hole – she ran with dear life……but its not the same in my case mom! – I am the only daughter and both my parents love me…..I am financially independent plus the entire property is mine only….so why on earth should I look for someone else !?
Mom- we will not live forever …..you will be lonely after we are gone….
Amrita – I will not be – don’t worry – in this era of Internet and video conferencing…..I can chat with many friends on video call etc….if I feel the need….
Mom – A life partner cannot be replaced with virtual friends…
Amrita – so have you found out some handsome prince for me already…? Let me have a look at him then….
Mom – you have rejected men previously…..with this kind of high-handed attitude – how will you ever find your handsome prince?
Amrita – the males I rejected….yeah – obviously – someone I will not even give a second look …..you expect me to get married to some such buffoon and pretend to live happily ever after? Not me – I cannot be pretentious!
Mom – and you have so many clauses…..you don’t realize that you have aged huh? When we asked you whether you are open to the proposal of the divorcee…you literally screamed at us…..
Amrita – obviously! Why should I agree to marry some ‘amply humped’ as***le when I am still a virgin?!
Mom – It is not a sin to be a divorcee……
Amrita – But why should I agree, as a virgin, to marry some ‘hazaar f**ked’ male….can’t you hear me…or have you suddenly gone deaf?
Mom – at least don’t use those cuss words in front of me…we have given you good education….
Amrita – yeah – exactly so – you have given me good education – that managed to fetch me a decent job – and I am happy to be working and relaxing! Why the hell should I take the trouble of getting married to some random male and begin a super-dumb life of adjusting and compromising endlessly? I have witnessed many combinations and permutations of marriages here in this family only – not just read in books or watched in films huh – and from what I observed – it is certainly not so rosy or gleeful!
Mom- how can you judge something based on others’ experience? One should experience oneself ….
Amrita – hello hello…..spare me that philosophical jargon please! Thank you very much….its like saying ‘a poisonous snake bite can take your life’ but I will still go ahead and beg the snake to bite me….because I want to experience death personally…ridiculous concepts you all have – amazing!
Mom – there is no point arguing with you because you think everyone around you is a fool and…..
Just then Amrita’s aunt – Mashi- came in. She was the elder sister of Amrita’s mom.
Mashi – oof! Again the usual mother-daughter war is going on? What happened now!
Amrita – you dear sister wants her 36 years ‘old hag’ daughter to tie the nuptial knot and live happily ever after!
Mashi – nothing wrong in wishing for that!…although you are well past the marriageable age but nowadays people marry even at 50……so its not surprising! But what I fail to understand is – how come you missed to get married at the right age……
Amrita – as if you don’t know already! The time my friends were looking for a suitable groom…I started looking for a Guru…..I developed a strong desire to seek higher divine life when I was just about 21……
Mom – yes…..those spiritual books that caused my doom…
Amrita – excuse me? The spiritual books that led me the right path of seeking, that made me happy and peaceful….how can you call it your doom?
Mom – because already you had a long list of things you wanted in your life partner…then you added this new clause – ‘spiritual natured’…..there is hardly any young man who would like to give up his job, household…and go to some mountain top for spiritual practice….
Amrita – really!? Is that what you think of being spiritual? I am spiritual – have I left home, have I given up wearing colourful dresses…am I talking to you right now from a mountain top? Please get over these cliched understanding regarding spirituality! ..and yes, the ‘spiritual bent of mind’ was a mandatory clause to have in my life partner….otherwise why would I even agree to make any adjustments with a materialistic bloke?
Mashi – religious minded man you want! Hah – you get up after 10am on Sundays….you eat your breakfast …tea everything and then take your bath and light the incense in front of your God’s ..or Guru’s altar…..just because you live with your parents – no one says anything to you….I know of an extremely religious family – they live very close to my house – their daughter-in-law, Mita, is literally in tears most of the time because they are very strict and austere regarding worshipping their family deity….by 5am they all have to finish their bath and start chanting mantras for an hour …..Mita curses her in-laws including her husband all the time…she is even contemplating on divorce…
Amrita – I said ‘spiritual’ not ‘religious’…. There is a lot of difference between the two….
Mashi – no both are the same…..you worship God…
Amrita – Please Mashi – I am not going to discuss this topic with you – I have done this umpteen times before with several of my relatives…and basically it all fell on deaf ears – I don’t have the patience to explain anything to anyone..anymore! you are happy with your religious beliefs – remain so…..you have led a simple life….so don’t complicate things for yourself anymore!
Mom – yeah! see – Her Highness has passed her verdict! At the end she is the only one who is right and the rest of us are all wrong! This is her problem actually…
Amrita – so why do you want to pass on your problematic burden on someone else? That is a very wicked thought! What has some poor mother of a son done to deserve a ‘problem’ like me?
Mom – With responsibilities, people change – when you have your own kids….
Amrita – Kids?! Are you not aware that I am close to my menopause? You know my chums have become erratic …for which I am taking medicines also…..child birth post 36? Really? Are you not aware that late child birth increase the chances of genetic deformities? Children with ‘special needs’…or Down’s syndrome are born…..
Mom – don’t think negative……how are you thinking negative for an unborn infant…
Amrita – In that case you should have kept me illiterate …..probably the reason why patriarchal society males did not encourage girl child education much…. Then I would have been a docile baby-producing machine and proliferated like a lady cockroach…and if one or two of the babies had suffered from some genetic disorder – I would have cursed my stars and gone to some quack astrologer or tantrick Babaji to cure him or her….life would have been so lovely….and you would have been so proud – for having given birth to a fertile daughter who is able to multiple like rabbits….
Mom – why are you talking of bygone eras? People were ignorant then….so things happened…but now we women are not as subservient or illiterate anymore so why are you even comparing? I was just saying that if you had gotten married then I would have died peacefully….
Amrita – really? Like Roopali’s mother? After 12 years of marriage, 2 kids – a son and a daughter – oo la-la ! a lovely complete family – what happens to Roopali? Her husband, Nitin, falls in love with his colleague and kicks her out of his life! Now divorced, Roopali is back to living with her mother…..the responsibility of two kids…husband gives nothing to support the kids …..now Roopali has to work to feed her children and her mother has to now raise both her grand children…you think she’ll die peacefully…knowing how her innocent dove-like daughter suffered in the hands of a brute husband….
Mashi – dove-like and Roopali? Ha – what a joke…..we all know how she and her mother literally grabbed the most eligible boy of our locality..Nitin – just as soon as he got through in the Engineering college! Roopali had been in a relationship with Tapan for almost 3 years…suddenly she dropped him and went for Nitin…and anyways – she was the kinds who would readily agree to sleep with any male in exchange of an egg-roll….so please don’t call her innocent….
Mom- How are you so sure about Roopali and her affairs…..its very easy to spread such nasty rumours about a girl…you should not depend on hearsay…
Mashi – what nonsense?! I am cent percent sure about not one but about all her affairs – Roopali’s maid used to work for me – she has told me gory details about how she used to bring her boyfriends home and right in front of her mother, she used to take them to her bedroom and lock the door ….such brazenly shameless she was…and she had even been pregnant twice by …probably Tapan…but then you never know with such girls….
Mom- And all this your maid told you..wow! that is your source of information? And who did her abortion? The maid…
Mashi – No, not the maid – she went to Bapi da’s clinic for the abortion – both the times….and Bapi da’s wife told me all about it…..and why on earth would I lie about Roopali and her sex-escapades? I know Tapan’s mother also – how she curses her because she left Tapan after extracting expensive gifts from him…you know how miserly their family is….but Roopali made him purchase expensive gifts for her…..then Nitin came to this locality …who was studying in an engineering college…both mother and daughter went after him…and successfully managed to cage him!
Amrita – cage him? Lol….what was he…a monkey who could be caged in the zoo?
Mashi – when you are young, you do make such mistakes…..that is what youth is for….now if a female undresses and stands stark naked in front of a 19 years old boy…..he will slip for her …it is natural…
Amrita – aww….now you even being broad minded! Wow….so if we are to conclude the Nitin-Roopali story – it would be like Nitin realized that Roopali was a libidinous female with a high sex-drive plus also intelligent enough to assess and rope in a good husband material – after 12 years of marriage and he felt cheated? So he forgot that he already has 2 kids with her and kicked her out of his life? And as far as Roopali is concerned – she is paying for her karmas….she was wicked and conniving and she got back all that she had given to the world around her….
Mashi – Yes, exactly so…everyone in the locality is saying this only!
Mom- Wow! I am so amazed to see my living room turn into a court room with both of you passing judgements! Lucky me! Anyways, I am not such a heightened personality as both of you are….my first concern is my family…and as a concerned parent, I would like to see my daughter well settled in life…that’s all I am asking for!
Mashi – Amrita…you don’t have any eligible bachelor in your office?
Amrita – yeah….there are many…why? Are you looking for a groom?
Mashi – yes…looking for a groom for you …not for me of course!
Amrita – There are bachelors…but not impressive enough to be a life partner!
Mom – Only Gods can tailor-make a suitable groom for her….
Mashi – I hear so many cases of office romance ….your office doesn’t have any….or are they all as khadoos (strict) as you are?
Amrita – there are many such cases – some fall in love, get married…some just enjoy a temporary fling, some have a ‘no strings attached’ affair – they even go on vacations together…live-in and then part ways once they get enough of each other… some sleep their way up the corporate ladder….all sorts of people are there in my office!
Mom – yeah – only my Miss High and mighty is unable to find someone…
Mashi – No one ever approached you….confessed his desire to be with you…don’t tell me that you never got a single love proposal in your life!
Amrita – Well.. firstly I am surrounded with well educated and definitely somewhat decent men …unlike the sadak-chaap mawali we see in films…who prance around a female till she agrees to share the bed with him…so they seldom approach an unapproachable lady and taste the insult of rejection…..that much intelligence men have I think!
Mashi – But then why do you wear the ‘unapproachable’ mask…..you should loosen yourself a bit…
Amrita – yeah….are you suggesting that I should be like Roopali then? Hop skip and jump around with random as***les …then select one of those losers and get married?
Mom – you don’t have to hop-skip-jump…..you can just get to know them well by talking, meeting….no one is asking you to play the mating game…..
Amrita – well Mom – you are not quite aware of the mating game then…how easy it has become nowadays! Girls as young as 17 or 18 are making themselves easily available – so understand the male psychology here – lets say I am 36 and some man between 36 to 40 would be considered as eligible for me…..now if that same fellow has access to young nubile teenagers….why on earth would he like to mate with someone his age?
Mom- It is not about sex always……
Amrita – It is mostly about that mom – do not compare your era with this current generation! Earlier pornography was not so easily available – nowadays even 7-8 years old boys have access to pornography clips …..why else do you think there is so much frustration in the environment? Here a boy attains manhood watching pornography of foreign porn stars with milky white complexion…beautiful bodies…but eventually – in reality- he gets married to short, dark and compared to those ‘porn stars’ ….rather very ugly females….his expectations die in shock on the very first night of their marriage…but unfortunately it is too late to back out and they somehow perform their husbandly duties…manage to impregnate their wives….make way for more frustrated souls….and the grind continues!!
Mom- wow! She has found the ultimate truth of this world! So everyone who marries are just somehow performing their duties and pretending to be happy….is this your understanding about the entire philosophy of life….after reading so many so called spiritual books…this is what you deduced?
Amrita – I have deduced much much much more….I am just telling you about the pretention part of relationship……
Mashi – everyone is just pretending you mean?
Amrita – Of course not! My own parents had a courtship period of 10 years….after that they got married…..both were clearly in love with each other…if individuals can find that kind of love – they must leave no stone unturned to be with that love! Just that I am too much of a perfection seeker….honestly I do not have the right to bog down an individual under the burden of my expectations…so I do not seek anyone …..I have found peace in meditation and pursuing a higher spiritual life …..I am not interfering in anyone else’s life you see…when I say I am single – I mean I am single to the core….unlike what majority of people understand of ‘being single’…they think that a single person is enjoying life with multiple sex partners because they are not answerable to a legally wedded spouse…..but that is not so in my case!
Mashi – So you are suggesting singlehood as an ideal state of existence….?
Amrita – No….people who keep sex as their priority better get married and focus on familial responsibilities….also others who like to share and care, love togetherness etc. should also get married and aim to raise their families responsibly…
Mom – ok…enough! I have understood – it is entirely your wish – whether you marry or remain single…now lets please change this topic of discussion – your pseudo-saintly lectures are getting on my nerves….
Amrita – hmm…truth is bitter – I know….
All three – Mom, Aunt and Amrita have tea and snacks and start gossiping about the latest news of their locality…..masala maarke.
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