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Couples choosing the DINK (Double income no kids) life is quite popular now. It’s time we accepted parenting isn’t the all that couples seek!
Shimpy is a Delhi-based yoga trainer. Her clientele includes foreigners residing in south Delhi, employees of corporate houses and private citizens. Shimpy’s husband, Sherry, works in a software company.
The couple owns a flat in an upmarket south Delhi neighbourhood. Married for twenty years and now in their mid-40s, they have toured the length and breadth of the country, besides having explored west Europe too. They are ready to travel at the drop of a hat since they have no children to look after.
My childhood friend Debjani and her spouse Niloy are both senior professors at one of the prestigious IITs in the country. Since Niloy is genetically diabetic the couple opted out of children at the very outset of their married life. Debjani is an established Rabindrasangeet singer with a troupe of her own.
Niloy is a seasoned rock climber and an avid trekker. The couple frequently travels overseas for work. In fact, be it a weekend, a sabbatical or a festive break, they are usually chilling in a forest resort or trekking in some corner of Uttarakhand or lounging on a beach.
Over and above, Debjani has her hands full of rehearsals, organising shows and all that her work entails. Children, certainly, don’t seem to fit into their scheme of things.
Advocates Maya and Harish live in a sprawling flat with a terrace garden, in a northern Kolkata locality. I have known them for quite a while now, yet nobody ever divulged the real reason behind their not having kids. Tragedy, mishap miscarriage, infertility? We’ll never know. (But neither is it really our business what they choose to do.)
Nonetheless, the two of them are passionate travellers too. And guess what they have a penchant for hills and mountains! From Tawang Monastery in Arunachal through the temple and the skiing circuits in Uttarakhand to Amarnath, they have done it all.
The pairs mentioned above are among individuals associated with the Double Income No Kids (DINK) syndrome. This is something that is becoming fairly common countrywide, especially in bigger cities and towns. Given how almost all the average homes in India are overflowing with brats, it would be considered a cardinal sin to not have kids!
The couples I spoke to, admitted that they did experience tremendous social pressure taunts and jibes about their decision to not have children at some point or the other.
For instance, Shimpy says, “Youth is meant for gaining knowledge, fun, travel, adventure. Why must I waste this precious time, feeding, changing nappies and staying awake nights?”
Debjani quips, “We would rather not have a kid than have one with a genetic ailment. Plus I always dreamt of globe-trotting. I have been able to realize my dream. This would have been well nigh impossible had kids been around.”
Maya confesses her job is both challenging and time-consuming. Post-marriage she found no elderly women relatives or aunts who would agree to be entrusted with an infant and look after it well. Both her and Harish’s mothers are no more. And nannies supplied by agencies were not quite up to the mark. So the idea was scrapped.
Niloy has this to say, “People have kids because it is almost a convention. Many others feel it is a sound investment for the future when grown-up kids will look after them. Unfortunately, such couples often end up disillusioned, shattered, when their children leave home for good to settle abroad or in other cities and towns.
“The more dutiful ones among them send regular funds for their upkeep and maintain contact over the phone. Many others sever all connections with their elderly parents,” he says.
Harish agrees, “Obviously the lives of senior citizens may not be ‘roses, roses all the way’ if the younger lot go away. Hence it is pointless having many children with an eye on the future.”
Don’t they feel lonely sometimes I ask the DINK wives?
“Never!” says Shimpy, “During weekends we go over to the main house where the rest of the family lives and there is no dearth of children. Many of them call me chhotimaa and that is fulfilling enough”
The love of Debjani’s life is her music. So she has no time to feel lonely.
Interestingly, unalloyed support for DINK couples comes from Rukmini Mirchandani, whose life is a sordid tale. After her husband’s demise, her three daughters and their spouses forced her to sell off their spacious house and split up the amount among themselves.
Rukmini is lucky to have a family pension besides some sound investments. Hence she opted to move into an old age home. She rues her decision to have so many children who eventually ditched her.
The uncanny similarity to Shakespeare’s King Lear, isn’t it? The oft-quoted line comes to mind: “How uglier than a serpent’s tooth is to have a thankless child.”
All in all, I guess DINK couples can enjoy an uncluttered and just as fulfilling a life as they want. More importantly, they will be spared the pains of filial ingratitude in the evening of their lives.
Picture credits: Still from Netflix movie Ghost Stories
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