Tuesday, August 14, 2007

marriage of true minds

A very handsome young, intelligent friend of mine thrust a copy of Shoba De’s “Spouse” in to my hands, after a heated argument over certain unspeakable gender issues of course, and ask me to read it. In normal case I hate every word that that woman scribbles, laughs it off and shuns her book with a vehemence enough to castrate those who adorn her. But this friend was special and I was book-less for the day. So I agree and bring De’s Spouse home.
When I handed back the copy the next day, having suffered two pretty long chapters on the truth of marriages as observed by De, I thanked my friend. If not for him, I would never have tolerated such ridiculous trespasses in to my privacy even by myself, occasioned by a book! De calls marriage a “flawed institution” and without acknowledging the fact that she is fortunate to have a wonderful ideal husband [ except for a curt dedication], goes on to estimate the worth of this “absurd”, “illogical”, “dangerous” union of two strangers. For De there are only two possible alternatives. Men could either be cruel monsters to be executed or inane kids to be manipulated. Advocating a sprinkle of ‘harmless hypocrisy’ in marriage [even a bit of fake orgasm is passable!] De does not forget to add that divorces are rampant these days because of the destructive honesty in certain cases. And the panacea for all that, is a bit of deception, of course. I understand that marriage is a lot of make-belief for many like De. But my heart sank when I found that marriage could be a very class-related attribute that suits some and proves a disaster for many, especially if you can’t afford it or if you are not shrewd enough to sustain it!
De is a much qualified wife [if success in relationship is measured against years and social value] than any ordinary, stupid and struggling wife of my cadre. But the kind of ‘brutish feminine’ authority with which she declares the scales of judgment for any marriage with her own as a yardstick, set me to think about a different issue that disturbs me these days. What is the value of being truly individual in an era of equalization as these? It is my conviction that every marriage is unique in its own manner and there cannot be any common scale of judgment for any two marriages. They differ as any two individuals do. Each relationship, marriage a significant one among them, nourishes you as a person, enhances what you are, and evolves you in to what you could be. Sometimes, some of us are really fortunate to find love in marriage as we wanted it to be. Some of us fail to recognize love due to various kinds of blindness. A few or many are denied that bliss altogether. This could be a romantic’s reading of the ideal. But much that is gained in life is through such dreaming, idealizing, doubting and wondering. Or else you should be telling one of the several wives of a torturer like Idi Amin to play some manipulative tricks and hold on or just go kill him. You could also warn her that she is doomed otherwise. In my perspective, there is no point in passing a judgment on such a marriage, for it is hardly a marriage. Much of the gender discrimination banter and spouse-beating on either side that goes on these days also should be considered, for once, outside the sphere of marriage. Those are issues of human rights, beyond the lovely little terrain of marriage. It is high time we redefined this very romantic concept on purely individual grounds.
In De the danger is that of generalizing. Stop applying the formula, stop thinking of marriage as an institution that we have to desperately hold on to. In today’s hyper-real world, it is a matter of choice at least for a good many. If people still marry, they could have varied reasons for that other than the social security involved in it which De suggests. My humble assumption- men and women like each other’s company for a life time. They do still find love. May be not the way De does, not on an egalitarian concurrence basis. May be they think of it as a personal gain, like any other relationship [the dearest one of course], a stage in knowing one-self, may be they even get an inch closer to their own reality. This is why I can’t stand De when she says that this is nothing sublime or divine. Which human relationship is not sublime, not divine? Every one of it takes you closer to your self and hence is magnificent. How can people be contented with such mediocrity? De’s advice might serve right for some who can act a few more years in life and ‘maintain’ a marriage by relying on your memory, keeping a balance sheet for the gifts and complements you received and gave, for the birthdays and anniversaries you celebrated or forgot together, for the lies you utter to each other, ad infinitum. For those like me, who are less tactful in life and believe in their sublime self, I can only pray to god that you, like me, find love in marriage. And for my most unfortunate friends, I hardly have any solution to offer and I know sympathy wouldn’t suffice.
And for that special friend of mine…may be I shall once settle this score with his spouse!


Soyyo123 said...

I have a mobit dislike for Shobha De's writings.

L said...

This is the topic which we both were about to discuss 2 days back. well written. Marriage and its success solely depends upon the individuals ,it cannot be measured by any single person's experience.we will discuss about this in person when we find time.

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