If you didn’t know it this
morning, you would probably have figured it out on your way to work. And by
‘you’ I mean a man who would never fast for his wife or a woman who hasn’t
taken a day off to fast for her beloved husband. The metro was filled with
women in their glitzy best, strutting along in high heels and dangling
mangal-sutras. The only thing dangling from my neck were the quintessential
outdoor aviators. In an Indian soap-opera on TV I would be the
English-speaking, Western-clothes wearing vamp. In real life I believe more in
eat, pray, love. Every day.
It amuses me no end that some
women will go all about town crying about their horrible husbands and their
miserable married lives. But on one day in the year they will miraculously
forget it all and ‘pretend’ that their husband is the centre of the universe.
Why they can’t choose a consistent love or hate relationship to last them
through the year is beyond me. Maybe they have nothing better to do in life so
getting all excited about this one day keeps them on a temporary high. Or
perhaps it marks the one day when the husband will pander to her wishes because
on all others he will continue to belittle her and she will continue to hate
him. That, I’m told is the sacred institution of the Indian marriage. Let’s all
pretend to be happy on certain occasions (especially for relatives, cameras and
the like) but continue to hate each other every other moment of our long (un) happily
married lives. It’s beautiful.
In this entire hullabaloo over
our traditions and our culture and hamare-ghar-mein-yeh-hota-hai and tumhare-ghar-mein-woh-hota-hai type nonsense, real love has escaped without notice.
You can wear all the bangles and necklaces and rings in the world and hate your
marriage (and husband) or wear no such ‘mark’ of matrimony and still love your
husband to death. Unfortunately pretence makes for easier selling.
This is exactly how some men get
away with waxing eloquent about women’s rights outside the house and belittling
their wives at home. It is all a marvellous sham which plays itself out in many
a home and many a woman’s sordid life. What can she do except celebrate
wonderful festivals in all their glory and be happy that at least she’s got a
Well, she can do a whole lot else, but
it requires oodles of courage and layers of thick skin. ‘Tis so much easier to
fast (on occasion), cry on cue and watch for opportunities to be one up.
Because, marriage, apparently, is a game in which partners are competitors
rather than running mates.
Caveat: You (and/or) your partner may not fall in the above-described
categories. Good for you.