Marriage – marriage what?
It was September 2001; a bemused I, sat on the debate bench of the sultry classroom, during the first English lesson. The professor had decided to engage the boisterous section-B of to be computer science engineers to some supposedly intriguing discussion on love versus arranged marriage. Shortly, the unruly apathy of the 17-year-olds was silenced to discomfiture by the unwarranted – “Marriage’s very purpose is legal propagation of species. Does it make a difference if it is love or arranged?”
No sooner had the half-feminist, half-callous and gravely-casual, words fallen off my mouth, even the inconspicuous self-proclaimed Romeo of the classroom, who considered commitment a sin, let out a sneer at this supposed piece of female gender mouthing atrocities about a sanctimonious epiphany. I let the moment pass and smiled inward at the ignominy the situation must have stirred in the minds of the forty odd teenagers staring at me with half-awe and half-scorn. When the professor gathered herself from the bewilderment, she closed the debate diplomatically – Marriage is a socially-approved sexual and emotional union of a man and woman expected to be permanent.
An amused bunch of pals had shunned my statement as anything more than an element of jeer over canteen coffee breaks for college years to come. However, looking back at the facetiousness with which I had handled the ‘M’ word back then, makes me wonder if the real meaning to marriage can ever be understood? Even if it can be understood, is there any such meaning to it? And even if a meaning can be coined, is it a ‘real’ one?
As the college days hopped away, running into phases when one hates men, I had even turned into the unwilling feminist, declaring marriage as “legal rape”. I too like every dumb teenager dreamed of the Casanova knight who would ride me on the handsome horse, conveniently contrasting the upheaval of feminism in me!
When life grew out of flippant college-life to seek sense and self-realizations in the harmless name of ‘higher-studies’; life taught me a lot of lessons beyond the academic blah. As I rejected my very own obdurate definition of marriage, I had never bothered to ponder over it either. Standing at the zenith of murky transitions within me, enjoying life in varied colors, marriage is still an unfamiliar territory; I am reluctant to embrace.
It leaves within me incomplete descriptions, a myriad of questions and self-certified clarity. Marriage can’t be defined, but experienced; Marriage is a lifetime of optimistic contradictions; Marriage is a sweet metamorphosis of independence; Marriage is synonym to adjustment; Marriage is a fifty year challenge to see simplicity in complex life.
As the philosophical I evolve to reality, I fall back sipping the coffee, complacent to the oblivion around me, smiling at the breathing space of life still left to explore the world, jump the mile and carefree freedom. I snap back – “Marriage… marriage what?”