Marriage – The simplest way to describe MARRIAGE according to me is the conjunction of two words “MARRY” and “AGE” and so Marriages are Marrying for Ages. This is what they were meant to be, are meant to be and shall always be. In the recent past, however, marriage has taken a different meaning all together. The concept of Marriage would have taken birth during times immemorial. And the tradition is cascaded from generations to generations.
Marriage has often been misunderstood as a Union of two souls across the world. Over here in India, marriage has been always a bond of two families. Its been a relationship that extends beyond the Husband and the wife. It comprises of a new element called IN LAWS and you cannot keep them OUT of the equation.
Modern day marriages have been modified in accordance with the comfort, taste and preferences. The traditional procedures in Indian weddings were backed by Logic and Reasons. Today its a story of Seasons. Right from the Feras to the Vidaai ceremony, everything has a reason strong enough to justify its existence. The dowry practise was never meant to be what it has become today. It was a token amount offered by the Bride’s family to help the Groom settle in life as he was too young to have managed a SAVINGs account. Today, unfortunately Dowry is a curse and is usually dominated by two reasons: The show of wealth by the Bride’s Dad and Price Tag by the Groom’s side. Even the Pheras were meant to be a very serious affair and yet the couples of today treat it as the Most Boring element in the event called wedding. Each promise mentioned has a deep intent and draws out a minimum commitment (Service Level Agreement in today’s corporate jargon) from both the individuals. It talks about certain rules and procedures to be followed. What happens today on account of self-respect, privacy and independence was not even imagined by the rule makers and hence the rules have failed today.
We have accounts of marriage life in most of the Religious books that we read. Ramayana puts a strong emphasis on the family bonding and the treatment of the newly wed and their induction in the family. In the first chapter itself Goddess Parvati speaks with Lord Shiva and requests him to treat her as his follower and she shall abide by all instructions passed on to her by him. Such was the confidence that Mothers bestowed upon the In-laws of their daughters. And on the other side King of Ayodhaya, Dasaratha asks Queen Kausalya to keep Sita like the eyelids protect the eyes. Such was how the daughter-in-laws were to be treated in a family. Even while the departure of Lord Rama to the forest, both the parents asked Sita to stay back as they had a responsibility to take care of her well-being and were okay with sending their own son to the forests. Something somewhere went terribly wrong and we all started treating Marriage as a lighter affair and brought selfish interests and Egos to dominate over the other side. Harassing brides for dowry, filing false anti-dowry cases, suicides, domestic violence and divorces are on an all-time high. The question, “Who, WHO set the tuning wrong?” Is it the last generations or the present generation that has not devoted enough time to understand the ethics of marriage and just flowing like a dead wood.
Today, the entire approach towards marriages has changed and we have Internet here too. Matrimonial sites have taken over from the mediators. Often you find a chain smoker in the Non Smoking category and a Pure Non Vegitarian in the Jain Food category. Only to be realised once the PC monitor is shut and reality check is done. But there are many a success stories here too. You select in accordance with your lifestyle, education and expectations. But the REST ASSURED feeling has faded by this invention. You never know what comes next in life. The mediators atleast had some degree of moral responsibility and afraid of wrongdoings as well.
As a result, a lot of youngsters are steering themselves away from Arranged Marriages and have lost hope in their parents’ ability to choose the right match. Not that the Love Marriage is wrong, but how it is done certainly needs a correction and allignment with the traditional ways. The way marriages were held in front of the known society was to create a sense of acknowledgment of commitments made on either part. There was no way out to abscond. Marriages were meant to be kept and not to walk away from. Another twist in the tale has been the way certain marriages are celebrated these days. Crores of rupees are spent on useless events, people and uncalled for publicity and show off. It is a vulgar display of wealth. In a country bound to eradicate poverty for 70 odd years of independence, it is a shameful act on the part of the people concerned. It is marriages like these which promote the expectations and greed of others and generally hijack the very purpose of the wedding.
The families are too busy entertaining the crowd rather than paying attention to their own families and extended families. The groom leaves the pheras just to see off a minister that might be influential in his Dad’s business. Let us all remember, MARRIAGE IS A COMMITMENT, not meant for ENTERTAINMENT. In this context, love marriages are much better. Atleast they save a lot of money being drained unnecessarily. And they ensure a better understanding amongst the involved parties especially in modern day nuclear families. Love marriages, however, have just one drawback. And that is expectation mismanagement. The expectations hyped before the marriage, is often not realised by the dwarfed reality. If that part is taken care of, love marriages will have a check on their mortality rate.
All said and done, Marriage is a wonderful feeling of being committed and spreading love, not just to the individual but to their family, off-springs and so on. Marriage is a sign of growth and prosperity and not a mere stamping of Made for Each Other tags. It comes with great benefits priced at commitments. Commitment in terms of loyalty, devotion, attention and responsibilities of all sorts. Once in a marriage, you realise how you change lives of people around you. YOU can be that spark in the life they were waiting for. A lot can be done if you have a successful marriage. But if you are not committed or unsure of marriage, please stay away. The cost of a wrong marriage cannot be repaid in cash or even kind.