Making Marriage Optional
Hi there! I’m twenty seven & unmarried. This is how I introduce myself these days. Being an unmarried Indian women that too in small town isn’t the best phase to be in. Anybody you meet— known for years or a stranger on street, wants to know whether you are married or when are you getting married. Every reunion with school/college friends these days doesn’t feel complete with broaching the crucial topic of how many of our classmates have got married. Why does marriage become a moot point? Marriage cannot guarantee you a secure lifelong relationship, but we have been hardwired to believe that.
Believe it or not —We were not born to get married. But society wanted us to believe so. It’s thousands of years of hardwork that society has achieved this feat. If you dig deeper into world order, democracy and freedom appear to be farcical. Everywhere in world, the powerful want to suppress those below them in hierarchy. Domination is primitive to mankind. Many historians believe that the polyandrous relations of women like Satyavati and Draupadi have been unnecessarily modified through prolonged narratives.
Marriage is an institution— so like any other institution we should be given a choice to sign up not. May be the fee, for a few of us— is too high. Also, unlike many institutions marriage comes with many stupid unjust laws. Imagine an exam where— you are expected to follow the syntax, write everything correctly, not a single mistake goes unpunished somehow you manage to get everything right, still marks are deducted for bad hand-writing but another person is awarded full marks just for taking the exam— that’s what marriage does. Marriage expects a lot from women, some of us can conform but the ones who don’t want to, should at least be left alone.
When I told my sister I was not cutout for marriage, her instant reaction was, “but you can’t avoid it.” She is educated, independent working woman, but still wired to believe marriage is unavoidable. We grew up seeing everybody getting married. This eventually, imprinted the believe into our subconscious that marriage is mandatory — which could have been optional. Agree or not, a few cases we know of people(specially women) not getting married were stigmatized— adding some trivia to their “Sad lives”. Wouldn’t it be different if we had grown up knowing we had a choice?
“But what will our relatives say?”. “What do we tell our friends?” Our parents find a thousand ways to make us go over our decision. Sometimes, the emotional blackmail can be so biting that giving in might look like a solution. But no, once you conform to that, hundred new tasks are waiting for you. Once you agree to get married you will be laden with expectations to have children. The society doesn’t give you an exit option in case your marriage isn’t working. No matter what hell you go through, people expect you to stay married. Non- Conformity on the other hand— no matter looks how much difficult today, axes all future expectations.
I’m well aware of the name-calling that comes along with the decision to stay unmarried— well I grew up among these people. Indian societies have opinion on almost everything. Even people once very close to me will come up with absurd explanation on why I didn’t get married. From my standards were too high, to some imaginary illness that I had; possiblities are endless. Accepting I can simply choose to stay unmarried isn’t difficult for people— but it’s like a Pandora’s box that will unleash fury on the society, what if their children start believing it is new normal?
The world is doing so well in creating a competitive market as a result of which consumers have numerous options available to them. From clothes we wear, food we eat, gadgets we use to policies we buy we can make our choice. But still society doesn’t give you choice to stay unmarried. 21st century was supposed to be about making choices, it’s high time that we start conversations on choice of getting married or not.