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Marriage, often hailed as a joyous milestone in one’s life, is frequently celebrated as the ultimate accomplishment. Oh, yes, especially in India! Marriage for Indians is undoubtedly that “ultimate” goal of life, only to be followed by a long list of other “ultimate” goals subsequently.
Ah, and how can it be called complete without displaying on Instagram pages and WhatsApp statuses (oh, and let’s not forget about Facebook, they certainly don’t want to feel left out). Compliment by the oh-so-original captions of “we finally made it” or “we finally got married,” “finally we are together”; because clearly, finding a partner and tying the knot is the “ultimate” happiness in every Indians’ life (or so is the belief).
But can I ask for enlightenment on what is so “final” about marriage except there are infinite realm of possibilities that lie beyond?
Marriage in Indian society is the epitome of many things, especially for women. It signifies the key to a happy life, the shining emblem of a woman’s good character, and of course, the ultimate validation of a daughter’s Sanskar (values) and Adarsh (ideals). Yes, of course, we all know precisely what I’m referring to, don’t we? Marriage, indeed, is the glorious plight that befalls every human born in the magnificent land of India.
The famous Assamese saying, “Konar karone kani, kujar karone kuji,” conveys the belief that God has provided a match for everyone in the realm of marriage. It suggests that even for a blind man, God has created a blind woman, and similarly, for a man with a hump, there exists a woman with a hump. This saying exemplifies the deeply ingrained belief that marriage is an obligatory duty for every individual. However, is there any such saying that captures the inevitable challenges that accompany the institution of marriage?
In India, the pressure on women to get married by a certain age is deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric. Society and families often impose rigid timelines, where a girl is expected to be married off before reaching her late twenties. Indian wedding industry value at a whopping 160 billion dollars growing at a rate of 25-30 percent annually. It’s an industry of grand proportions. Unlike weddings in many other cultures that typically span one to two days, Indian weddings are known for their extravagant duration, often extending from three to seven days or even longer. Indeed, the amalgamation of tradition, cultural significance, and societal norms, coupled with the monetary dimensions, has transformed marriage into more than just a social institution and emotional bond. It has become an inviolable rule, an unquestionable mandate deeply ingrained in the fabric of society and in our minds as well.
Is there any space within Indian society to accommodate those who do not wish to make marriage their “ultimate” life goal? For those who prioritize ideas like not getting married or opting for a late marriage in their 30s, focusing on building a robust career profile rather than a marriage profile, or exploring unconventional passions like farming instead of making round as our earth roti, or painting flowers on the papers with brush and colours rather than on the floor with a mop and water! Can such individuals find acceptance and tolerance?
The overwhelming pressure to tie the knot can certainly feel like a chokehold, a truth that women in India are all too familiar with. And then we have the classic options of arranged marriage or love marriage. In the case of a love marriage, where the groom (no option for the choice being a girl) is of the girl’s choice, well, brace yourself for a laundry list of rules to navigate through – intercaste or intracaste marriage, religious compatibility, occupation, skin colour and an endless array of other nonsensical criteria. On the other hand, if it’s an arranged marriage, the privilege of choice is conveniently taken over by the family members, relatives, and of course, the society. After all, how much a pair of fragile shoulder of a woman can bear, right? Delightful!
Fortunately for the “modern” Indian families who graciously support the idea of love marriages, their daughters are allowed to venture outside to pursue education, more preferably, within the confines of an all-girls institution, forbidden is any form of interaction with the opposite sex. And after completing their education in their mid-twenties, these empowered women are bestowed with the generous choice to marry the man of their choice. No violation of right to choose with such an abundance of options these girls have! Applaudable their oh-so-progressive and “modern” mindsets families. Bravo!
Even after marriage – the achievement of life’s beatitude, the never-ending option list is on. The newly wed wife is given the glorious role and be called “Adarsh bahu” by following all the people-pleasing activities in the name of “rasmo-riwaz”; added with unwanted comments of judgement.
However, amidst the myriad perceptions surrounding marriage, let us acknowledge its potential as a cherished bond for some, while ensuring it never dims the brilliance of personal growth, professional achievements, and pursuing passions that ignite our souls. Within the vast tapestry of Indian society, it is imperative to create an inclusive space for every individual, transcending gender barriers, and empowering them to forge their unique paths and shape their destinies. By nurturing a culture that celebrates diverse journeys, we sow the seeds of acceptance and tolerance, cultivating a society where each person’s individuality can thrive and flourish. In the midst of all the cacophony of societal norms and expectations, one truth remains undeniable – “life is a canvas painted with endless possibilities. The notion of reaching life’s pinnacle through marriage is just one verse in a never-ending symphony of experiences waiting to be composed.” And for those who seek a different journey, let them revel in the beauty of individuality and self-discovery. Let their aspirations and dreams guide them towards a life that resonates with their souls.
As we celebrate each milestone, let us remember that life’s journey is not a sprint towards a single destination, but a marathon filled with exploration, learning, and evolution. Each step we take, every decision we make, contributes to the magnificent tapestry of our lives. So, let the Instagram captions and WhatsApp statuses read, “Embracing life’s symphony of possibilities,” or “Celebrating the uniqueness of our journey.” Because in this grand tale called life, the true accomplishment lies not in reaching a so-called pinnacle, but in living authentically, passionately, and unapologetically.
As we redefine the notion of “we finally made it,” let it be a declaration of self-discovery, breaking free from societal shackles, and embracing the true essence of our being.
Jimi Rani Duarah is a passionate and versatile writer who finds solace in the realm of words. With a keen interest in exploring various themes, Jimi weaves tales that provoke thought, stir emotions, and shed read more...
This post has published with none or minimal editorial intervention. Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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