Saturday, January 06, 2007

Would anyone know God's e-mail ID ?

If marriages are indeed made in heaven, it is time God looked into the affairs of His department of matrimony. It has given too much licence to too many to enter into matrimony on the flimsiest of grounds - love. Whoever says a marriage works merely because the boy and girl involved are emotionally involved. We see the same old tiresome story being played out everywhere. The boy and the girl fall in love, become man and wife, fall out of love and live miserably ever after. Or have their personal lives exposed in divorce proceedings.

I want to send God a memo on the marriages He makes in heaven. Would someone let me have His e-mail ID? "I'm not even sure I believe in marriages anymore," said Gloria Swanson, a movie star of the silent era, after three unsuccessful marriages. I have just finished reading her engrossing memoirs, Swanson on Swanson. It is a 550-pager and Gloria needed every page to recount her life story spanning five marriages.

Murphy's law of wedding states that everything that can go wrong with a marriage usually does. I read somewhere that 45 percent marriages in the US end up in divorce. Can God afford such high rejection rate of marriages made in heaven? In India we have other ways of putting an end to marriages. Such as bride burning. This happens in 'wed-now-pay-later' cases. Trouble arises when the bride's parents don't pay dowry. You see, marriages, even if made in heaven, can be about money.

The Heavens have been much too liberal in sanctioning so-called 'love marriages'. If you ask me, it is a contradiction in terms, love marriage. For love, as we knew it during courtship, rarely survives marriage. People in love have no idea of what they are getting into. Nor are they in a mood to listen to voice of experience What they don't realise is that unlike courtship during which lovers spend quality time together, marriage means spending time with your partner on a 24-hour basis.

When love fades out and you come down from cloud 9 you might well be lumbered with a spouse who snores, blabbers in sleep, watches too much sports on TV, takes too much time at the bath and carries magazines to the loo. It is adjustment, accommodation, understanding, a flair for argument usually over trivia and a spirit of endurance that sustain a marriage.

I have nothing against love marriage. My son Ravi has married the girl of his choice. To be candid, I can't say I jumped with joy when Ravi first mentioned Meera, the girl he had in mind, in a long-distance call from the US, I was relieved, though, to learn that the person my son had in mind for matrimony was not Mexican, Spanish or Chinese, but an ABCD (America Born Confused 'Desi'). Meera must have been a confused girl. How else could one explain her choice? Normally, I am not among those who would quarrel with the notion that love knows no nationality. But this case wasn't normal. I was the father of the groom.

As father of the groom, I had certain responsiblities, such as breaking the news to my aged parents, their conservative clan of relations at Pollachi, not to speak of my wife's not-so-progressive sisters. My son choosing his own life-partner was, in itself, enough to raise their conservative eye-brows. And a girl born and brought up in the US was clearly an unknown entity. No one in our family circles was familiar with such species.

Meera helped matters by making a pre-wedding familiarisation visit to India. She spared me the unenviable task of having to reassure our relations that not all America-born girls need be 'memsab' in temperament. With her unassuming ways and pleasing manners Meera managed to dispel apprehensions and inspire confidence and affection in my clan. The only snag was that many of my relations couldn't get the hang of Meera's accent.

Parental concerns are not always in the reckoning of some of our determined youths. Defiance of parents by those in love is a running theme of many of our movies.If God wants to protect his made-in-heaven brand image, he ought to rein in love-struck youths from rushing in where sensible people would pause to contemplate the consequences of matrimony. Today's youth watch too much soap, too many movies such as Dil to Pagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hotha Hai, Salam Namaste, and, of course, that mother of all mismatched couple movies - Kabhi Alvida Na Kehana.

If such films have to be made at all because of box-office compulsions, they should be given 'PG' certificate i.e. vulnerable youths could be allowed to watch such films only in the company of sensible parents.It is a matter of perspective. Take Devdas. I view it as a promotional film for liquor; and also a film about the virtues of arranged marriage. Paru's parents in Devdas ensure that their daughter has an enduring married life. Just imagine her plight, if Paru had married Devdas.

Tailpiece: The last time I sent a communication to God was in 1971. The letter (no Internet then) I sent was returned undelivered. I had not given the proper PIN code for heaven. 1971 was the year I got married.

For the unabridged version of this piece look up Dateline Mysore in zine5.

1 comment:

Bhamy Shenoy said...

Though humorous, GVK made some very insghtful remarks.