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I am proud of having chosen my own partner even if my marriage failed later, because I am strong enough to bear the responsibility for my choice.
I proud to be a woman, who strongly believes that I am in one or more ways much stronger than any man. Who is capable of facing life head on, whatever be the consequences. I am proud that I was raised with a sense of independence and a mind that has its own views and capable of taking its own decisions.
At home, I was never told that I am less than any of my male friends, whether it be studies, abilities or even strength for that matter, as even in games I used to excel against my friends, majority of whom were boys. Maybe because my mother, my grand mother all were working ladies, who ran their families with an iron hand, often better than the men.
That was when I was very much young, in my teens, but now I am a woman, soon to step into the forties. The independence I got as a girl is not being given to a majority of girls in our society. I am surprised to see that as soon as a girl is born, the talk is about how to ‘marry’ her off. Through out the different phases of her life, the focus never shifts from marriage, and it is instilled in the minds of these girls that it is an indispensable institution, and at one point of their lives, they will have to take the plunge.
The aim is not only to get a good education, but in the process to get a good alliance as well. From infant-hood till the so called ‘age of marriage’ arrives, no one is spared from the constant lecture on the necessity of entering into marriage.
What is this ‘age of marriage’? After a point in life, it’s hard to get good grooms, they say. Such compulsion to marry at a particular age, without asking them the basic question of whether they want to get married at all, and if so, are they ready for marriage? I would definitely say that education is highly needed to impart some sense into our society that ‘age for marriage’ means the time when a person decides that they want to marry and is ready for it.
Marriage is a personal choice. Whether one should get married, remain single, be in a live in relationship are all matters to be decided by the person itself. But we find that as soon as a girl or boy reaches a particular age, the mission to get him or her married starts automatically. Parents of grooms arrange visits, ‘see’ brides to be, and from what appears to be a pretty girl with decent monetary back ground gets the man. After marriage, the love between them will have to be started forcibly, and she is supposed to sleep with a man who was a total stranger to her till the previous day, which is totally ‘moral’.
All these thoughts sparked in my mind, when one day my colleagues and I got engaged in a heated debate, as to the importance of marriage in our lives, especially the women. And one opinion raised really shook me. It was that of an elderly person in his sixties, who was very much in favour of arranged marriages. Not only was he in favour of such marriages, according to him, letting a woman choose whether she wants to remain single or marry, to choose the groom she wanted to marry, or giving her the freedom to go out and know him more before she could arrive at a decision whether to marry him or not, etc, would all lead to “immoral acts” and would stain the sacred institution of marriage. No wonder we have so many moral police doing the rounds even in this era.
If you take a close look, the ‘immoral acts’ done by these so called married men/women hiding under the mask of pseudo images, cause far more harm than the freedom we give to single men and women. Yet we are so much against giving freedom to the youth to take their own decisions as far as ‘to marry or not’ is concerned.
My views were brushed aside by this elderly colleague with. He also did not forget to add that he had married off his sons to girls whom he had chosen for them, and they are now happily living ever after, and NOT LIKE ME!
It was a hidden innuendo, and a personal attack on my own ‘broken’ marital status which was aired in a joking manner, to underline his point. But for the first time, I did not feel sad when I was reminded that I was in ‘a broken marriage’, and that too a person I had chosen. The debate ended on a peaceful note, as I chose not to rake up the issue of the personal attack on me and spoil the mood. Without saying a word I left the scene, and he felt that he won the debate. I felt glad that he did not have any girl child, If he had, he would have definitely won the hatred of his children by such repressive thoughts, if they happened to be girls with views of their own.
Why didn’t I retort? Because I understood that these kind of medieval minds cannot be changed at all. There is little scope in trying even to reform them. For them women are secondary citizens and cannot survive without a man. Girls are to be married off, education and work being secondary in their life’s goals. And we can only hope to see the change in the next generation, provided we raise well educated children, especially by teaching boys to respect girls, value them, and give them their space, individuality and independence.
Even though the gentleman had finished it off by hinting at my own failed marriage, I had won, for I had chosen my partner. I held myself the sole person responsible for anything good or bad that happened to me in the said relationship, and when I felt it was doing more harm to me than good, I detached myself from him, mentally and physically, and ended the suffering.
The sense of independence, the relief and inner peace of mind that I get now, rather than being in a strained relationship for the sake of saving the marriage, may not be felt by those who think that I am living a solitary life without a MAN’s protection in my life. What such men do not understand is that, we women are capable of standing on our own, even without any man in our lives. That men have been getting love and respect in return, only as long as they value and respect us. And not because they are indispensable parts of our lives.
I sympathise with those people who think that I am now having a bad life without a marriage as a consequence of my own decision in choosing my own partner. This experience, in fact, has only made me stronger, with a determination to live life on my own.
I am definitely not going to surrender my views, my individuality and my personal choices for any one’s pre medieval thoughts and YES, I have also decided to raise my children to be free minded persons, with their freedom to decide their marital status, and partner of their own choice . What do you say?
Image source: pixabay