So the pressure is on. I have reached that age where I can’t go anywhere without people asking me THAT question. THAT dreaded question that makes me want to get that person in a headlock and rub their heads so hard that they will never ever think about allowing those sequence of words to come out of their mouth again. It is a question that is often asked by the Aunties who feel that no wedding or a party is complete without them subjecting me to the sort of questioning that makes a weekend in Guantanamo Bay appealing. It is a question that is often asked by overweight balding uncles who feel inclined to share their wisdom about the positive impact marriage has had on their lives as well as their waist line. I am sure that 4 in 5 of you (assuming that many of you read this article) have at some point in your lives been mercilessly tortured by those words. I think you all know that question I am talking about – “ When are you getting married?”
Just typing those words sent a shiver down my spine. I feel a fever coming on and I may have to abandon this diatribe at any moment. I was first asked this question in my late 20s. In those happy, care-free days, my tolerance level to THAT question was ridiculously high. I put this down to the ignorance of a young man who was confident that by the time his immunity to this question is in terminal decline, he will be happily married with a kid in each arm. However, here I am years later, an unmarried vulnerable man with my immunity to THAT question diminished to barely traceable levels, venting my frustration.
So, why am I not married? OK, so isn’t me asking you good people who are joined in holy matrimony ‘why ARE you married?’ an equally valid question? I hear it now. The loud voices shouting at me : ‘IT’S OUR CULTURE’ ‘ IT IS AN AMAZING INSTITUTION’ ‘ DON’T YOU WANT CHILDREN’ blah….blah…blah…
I have nothing against marriage. When it works, it can be the solid foundation needed to build your life on. However, let’s be honest, it doesn’t always work. With divorce rates at an all-time high, it raises the question whether society has evolved beyond the confines of the treasured institution that is marriage. I believe that what makes a monogamous relationship between two people truly beautiful is that it goes against the nature of who we are. Let’s face it – we are animals. Like other animals, we have a primary focus on procreating. Marriage or being in a relationship does not make us immune to being attracted to another person. I feel that relationships should evolve where two people’s understanding of one another develops to a point where that they are at ease with each other without having to be confined by labels such as ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’.
As you can imagine, this is not something I discuss with my parents. Being Tamil (and the fear of a hard slap) has given me a certain inherited reticence to discuss issues that really matter openly. I am not saying that I do not want to get married (just in case any eligible ladies are reading this and not judging me). I am just saying that another question has recently started floating around my head – ‘To marry or not to marry?’
-The (not so) wise man