The day I went to give my wedding invitation, my then boss (a lady in her mid-fifties) commented sarcastically “So, now you will have two jobs.” Back then I was a naive young girl of 26 years, obviously, I didn’t understand the drift and even found her comment quite cynical. The old bit** that she was famous as I considered that as one of her negative comments. However, now I feel she was bang on.
Marriage is actually a job and there is indeed nothing romantic about it. Marriage is more like a start-up, where two people are trying hard enough to bring meaning to their dreams and aspirations. Just like a job, marriage is also a bundle of KRA (Key Responsibility Area). The ‘common’ KRA of marriage include paying bills, buying grocery, buying utilities, buying a house, buying a car, taking care of ageing parents, tolerating tantrums of kids, putting up with ridiculous relatives, attending family gatherings, attending other social gatherings, entertaining guests AND if you manage some time, have sex. Well, sex is not mandatory. Post kids, marriage itself become the best contraceptive in most cases (exceptions are a rule).
Growing up in the 90s a whole generation of misguided kids started believing that marriage is all about hugging each other in the middle of a mustard field or making a makeshift house in the middle of a rocky desert or dancing in chiffon sarees in the Swiss Alps. They believed that ‘romance’ was the keyword in marriage and everything was hunky-dory. Thankfully, this new commitment phobic generation X are not as disillusioned as the 90s kids were. GenX does not buy the Yash Chopra crap so easily.
I often wonder that instead of making sequels of Houseful, Murder or Jannat they should make sequels to Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Qayamat se Qayamat tak, Dil to pagal hain, Kuch Kuch Hota hain, etc. I am sure in the sequel of DDLJ we will see Raj sitting in front of an HD TV with beer and popcorn, watching rugby while Simran would be shown making aloo parantha in her British kitchen and screaming at the kids to finish their assignment. In KKHH the scene would be no different, where we will see Anjali coming back from the summer camp and washing the dirty clothes of Rahul that he had left unwashed while she was away for a month. Maya from Dil to paagal hain would be also doing something similar, buying grocery and supervising her house staff. Definitely, they won’t be dancing and even if they did, I am sure Raj/Rahul wouldn’t care.
Think of the movies that actually showed marriage Chalte Chalte, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Akele Hum Akele Tum, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Dil Dhadakne Do, Ae Dil Hain Mushkil.. Even the production house famous for selling ‘romantic’ dreams couldn’t show marriage as romantic or without conflict. Hum to thehre mere mortals.
A friend of mine is not yet married because she is still waiting for her Mr Right. I felt like telling her, just like there is no ‘right’ job there is no ‘right’ man. Even the most handsome, suave and romantic guy you marry will fart and snore in front of you after a certain time. You won’t see him in a tuxedo with champagne and orchids standing next to a candle-lit dinner table all the time but find him digging his nose, puking after a heavy drinking binge or leaving the wet towel on the bed. Trust me.
My grandmother always said that ‘love marriage’ is just an illusion, ultimately everything boils down to the same thing. I guess she was true. Marriage as an institution is meant to maintain a balance in the society. It is a capitalist/bourgeois way of maintaining the harmony of society. And even though the modern age feminist would disagree, the fundamental aim of the institution of marriage is to create families. To hide this hard fact, through ages marriage has been coloured with ‘romanticism’ so that naive people could be trapped to fall into this system. I know, this comment may lead to me getting trolled but this is indeed what marriage is all about.
The other day at a party we were discussing the rise of extra-marital affairs. They believe that smartphone, Facebook, whatsapp and Tinder are the root cause of these affairs. However, I beg to disagree. Extra-marital affairs have been there ever since marriage came into existence. Since Mahabharata, we have had them. The entire story of the Iliad and Odyssey is based on extra-marital affairs. Shakespeare, Falubert, Leo Tolstoy, Rabindranath, Saratchandra, you name them and they have written about extra-marital affairs. They have been there since ages then why blame technology? Extra-marital affairs are often like a breath of fresh air to escape the mundane routine of marriage and to find the missing ‘romance’. Just like many people take up a hobby class after their regular jobs to escape the boredom of their 9-5 job, few people take up extra-marital affairs to escape their marriage. Extra-marital affairs are not always only about lust as we generally perceive, in many cases, it is more about the emotional bonding that is lacking in a marriage. While marriage is the job that pays their bills and gives security, incentives and bonuses, and retirement benefits (applicable to both men and women), extra-marital affairs are something that fulfils their unfulfilled desires, be it sexual or emotional. Before you start trolling me for immoral values, let me clarify, by no means am I encouraging or justifying illicit affairs. I am merely trying to understand the context.
However, all said, I honestly do not want to paint a dark picture of marriage. There are great marriages where the couple has become each other’s best friends. In some cases, they have become like siblings, in some cases, the husband has become the father to the wife and vice versa (pun intended). However, in no case, they tend to stay ‘romantic’ the way books and Hindi movies would want us to believe, that is precisely the whole point of this article.
Do you agree with me that there is nothing ‘romantic’ about marriage or do you disagree? I would love to know your opinion. Please do leave a comment.