Anne

Happily Ever After? Not Quite – Guest Post by HungrySoul

She reminded me that she’s been reading my work since as far back as 2011 when I posted my first story on an online forum. At the time, I never knew she even existed, because she belonged to that camp where silent readers prefer to remain under cloaks and blankets. It wasn’t till months and another story later, that I finally heard from her via email. This, email might I add came on the heels of me announcing the closure of my story, and for invited readers only. So, as many of those cloak and blanket loving silent ones are prone to do, she sent me an email once that announcement was made.

And, what an email it was. For one thing, it did not contain a “plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plzzzzzzzz let me,” which made me actually read past the first line. In doing so, I discovered not only an honest to goodness and true reader, but also an intriguing and genuinely lovely woman. – We corresponded off and on after that, her thoughts on whatever work of mine she was reading always brightened my day. She grew more and more involved in certain stories, never hesitated to offer me her opinion, and somehow always struck a perfect balance between sharing her thoughts and not crossing the line of suggestion. – Once, she even sent me a properly formatted (complete with bullet points, bolded headings, and several pages of text) document full of technical know-how on certain business dealings for a story I was working on. I found that I was exasperated, shocked, and also very touched by that gesture.

I mean, who the hell does extensive research for someone else’s story without even being asked to? Why did that research actually relate well with a part of the story? Why did I sit down and make notes off it eventually?  How did a silent reader turn into this?  

Seriously! A silent reader. A SILENT reader. *(&^%#@^

Years later and I still love her (even though she still stays silent from time to time, before she pops up out of nowhere and goes “So hey, about that Guest Post thing…”)

Please join me in welcoming my long time reader, unsolicited researcher, and friend, HungrySoul to the Deranged Writers blog.

*~*

Hi! I was educated in a Christian school and we were taught that God fills the hungry souls with goodness. And the glutton that I am, in a moment of insanity I christened myself HungrySoul and have been stuck with that moniker online. And online is where I met Anne who instantly made me fall head over heels with her writing. Reading her works has been a truly amazing experience. She made me fall in love with her stories – bringing to life the imperfect but adorable characters who’ve been indelibly marked in my memories. And along the way I also learnt a lot of things – that passions also possess geometrical properties and that chains are not just forged out of silver and gold but they can be eternal too. Oh and that cloudy skies don’t evoke the same nostalgia as mystic skies do!! All puns intended.
Before Anne throws a bottle of bourbon (that was the last – promise) at me for my insolence I want to share with you a story of a couple that never was. So here goes….

Happily Ever After? Not Quite

Abhishek is 29 years old, lives in Australia where he has a job and a house that’s the envy of his family and friends. He is the kind of guy you would want to be friends with instantly. Add to that his dapper appearance and you have an irresistible combination that is hard to ignore. Seems too good to be true? Believe me!

Ritika has always been the brightest and the prettiest girl amongst her peers. She earned her degree as an engineer some time back and was nursing a broken heart after a failed relationship when her parents asked her to meet Abhishek. Not wanting to disappoint her parents she decided to meet him and at that time it seemed the right thing to do too.

So they met and hit it off quite well much to their mutual surprise. After a hurried engagement and a brief courtship Abhishek and Ritika tied the knot in a spring wedding last year. It was a fortnight long affair at an exotic location with all the usual shenanigans of an Indian wedding.

The honeymoon went off beautifully as well but was surprisingly uneventful. They obviously didn’t know each other too well and the gentleman that Abhishek is he took it very sportingly when Ritika requested that they take things slow between them. Abhishek returned to Australia to resume work as per plan where Ritika was to join him as soon as the visa could be arranged.
Once in Australia Abhishek stopped taking her calls, at all. Turns out Abhishek is a homosexual and has been in a committed relationship since a very long time.

Wait…What? Isn’t this supposed to be the story where a desi settled abroad marries the girl from the subcontinent for dowry and then abandons her soon enough. Well not quite.

What happened with these two wonderful people is undoubtedly saddening. It was infuriatingly inappropriate and extremely painful for all involved. Was he out of his mind, was it a consequence of external factors, or was it their naiveté, who’s to tell? But it did left me wondering a few things.

What went wrong

Abhishek was born into a traditional family who hold their lineage and family prestige in high regard. They are thorough pure bred and no we’re not talking about dogs here but the family members. Ever since he started working at the age of 23 Abhishek was reminded gently that he should get married soon because that was the next step in his life. This gentle nudge towards marriage turned to fierce pressure as the years passed till the time where he had no option but to accede to his parents’ wishes because that’s what children are supposed to do. Not to forget his younger sister was soon to complete her studies and next in line to get married. What was he to do?

Ritika ticked all the boxes in his mother’s checklist – she was from the same caste as theirs, well educated, very pretty, homely and from a rich family. He had run out of excuses and had no reason to turn her down. But was that enough for him to decide to marry some girl or any girl for that matter? Shouldn’t he have at least tried to confide in an understanding family member? He would surely have saved many people a lot of heartache had he not agreed to this marriage. But the issue here is not whether things would have been different if he had disclosed his sexual orientation to his family, neither is the issue here of family honour. The issue is much more basic and primal – he chose to let others make his life’s choices.

The necessity of choice

Knowing what went wrong and at what point of time with Abhishek and Ritika is not of much consequence now either to them or to anyone else looking for answers to their broken marriage. Both of them are presumably mature adults and were expected to make a sensible and reasoned decision in choosing their life partner. The issue of import here quite simply is that you make your own choices whether in marriage or otherwise.

It is often enough said that life is hard and so are the choices that you have to make. When standing at life’s crossroads how are you to know the right path from the wrong. But is there a right path in the first place? At some junctures you may not know what you want and asking for others’ opinion on matters would not be completely inappropriate. Sometimes you get wonderful insights from what other people have to say about a situation. But only you know what you really want. A sense of indecision is not a bad thing – you may procrastinate, drive yourself up the wall with internal dialogues, have a feeling of utter and complete cluelessness and basically feel that you can never make up your mind. Don’t beat yourself up thinking you are letting your family down, or what the society will think or how you will be seen by your friends and colleagues if you don’t do what is deemed to be the right thing.

With any choice you make, no matter how big or small, you can never be a hundred percent sure whether you made the correct choice. So don’t think in terms of right or wrong, choose what you feel is the best for you irrespective of whether it is supposedly right or not. After all, you are the one who has to live with your choices. If you pause a moment here to introspect a little I’m sure you’d realize that the choice that you felt was the best is the one that always turned out to be the right one, irrespective of how others perceived it.

Marriage does not give meaning to life

Marriage in the subcontinent is a life altering event. It bestows a whole host of rights and privileges to the married. A married woman is accorded more respect by the society for, well, just being married. And if you are newly married then be assured of a warm reception at every gathering you attend. You are also legally and morally entitled to have a libido. Oh I digress.

Often times you will hear girls tell you how blissful marriage is and how it has meant a whole new life for them. But you ask bewildered that it’s just been a while and how could your life be altered so profoundly in such a short time. And she says, “I’m married, I know”.

Marriage will most definitely not give more meaning to your life unless your life’s dream was to see yourself wear a wedding band on your hand or the mangalsutra round your neck. This is not being said out of cynicism or a misplaced sense of feminism.

Life is not defined by such externalities neither by the amount of money you make, the extent of your professional achievements or by the number of people you know. Your life is a sum total of its experiences where marriage and your life partner are integral but not the whole. Your life will not become more meaningful merely by adding a spouse to the equation.

Don’t marry for the wrong reasons

Abhishek decided to get married out of cowardice and some misplaced sense of responsibility and gratitude to his parents. Ritika on the other hand married because she thought she had to get married someday so why not sooner than later. That and the feeling that since her choice in boyfriends had never really been great, so rather marry someone who fits the definition of a perfect match than repeat her mistakes.

These two are not the only such cases. Each day in the subcontinent youngsters, boys and girls alike, marry for reasons ranging from financial stability, social status, parental and societal expectations and a myriad of reasons in the same vein. Or sometimes just for the simple reason that all of their friends are getting married so they should too.

Wanting to have a good looking or a rich life partner seem to be the choice of a very shallow personality but honestly who hates being rich? And it certainly doesn’t do your ego any harm if someone calls you beautiful. So let’s not be judgemental here.

No matter how perplexed or indecisive you feel at any point of time, in your heart of hearts you know what you really are and what you want in life. If you still haven’t reached a place in life where you are sure of what you want then worry not you will. But eventually being sure of your reasons and expectations is important not just for you but also for the person you decide to marry. They deserve your honesty not just in words but also in intent.

So for anybody who has bothered to read till here I say – Marry not because it seems the right thing to do, my friend. Marry because it feels the right thing to do.

Oscar Wilde may just have been saying the same things as I did but way more eloquently.

“I won’t tell you that the world matters nothing, or the world’s voice, or the voice of society. They matter a good deal. They matter far too much. But there are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely—or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands. You have that moment now. Choose!”

~*~

The HungrySoul is based out of India where she is currently busy playing Sherlock in the capital market and enjoying every moment of it. And keeping her doubly excited is a dream project that is consuming a better part of her days and nights. Never mind the dark circles.
Just a hair breadth away from touching the ‘God awful’ age of 30 she is the subject of many a worried relative and auntie’s sympathy, speculation and ridicule – much to her and her rock star parents’ amusement.
To her parents’ delight she started reading as soon as she could put alphabets together. Their pride at her accomplishment was unfortunately short lived as it soon turned into a pain in the arse when she started reciting every signboard, every chit and every scrap of paper that came her way. Thus started her never ending affair with the written word – one that has stood with her in good stead
Her heart beats for Sherlock (of course) and that special someone who is man enough to put his girl’s plans over his.

 

~*~

If you’re an aspiring writer, poet, or just have thoughts or an opinion to share and would like to Guest Post on Deranged Writers, please contact us on derangedwriters@gmail.com for details and guest post schedules.

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31 thoughts on “Happily Ever After? Not Quite – Guest Post by HungrySoul”

  1. Alright Woman Sherlock, you left us all hungry for your words? And what you served here , is essential and important.

    When I read about Abhishek and Ritika, I felt a sense of distress and helplessness , for here were two individually bright , accomplished individuals who bogged under constant pressure and family , sacrificed their lives at the altar of social obligations.
    This made me sad, for the decision that is so paramount and is an responsibility in itself, we, likes these two here, let it be a choice for others. When it should be all about the individuality. Scared or out of fear, Abhishek made a choice which would continue to suffocate and haunt his conscience in some way or another, his truth would be out sooner or later but his one decision and its consequences have made another causality, other than him , ofcourse,- Ritika. The same social pariahs and the social hounds are going to make it very difficult to forget this experience and make her wary of every other Abhishek
    .
    Ritika for all her virtues and academic excellence is chained by a gender which has suffered the choice of inferiority and social scrutiny , since centuries. No matter how much she accomplishes , marriage is going to be one battle which is going to test her freedom to be herself the most. There are many like here who take to academics, profession to safeguard this one choice. Yet it is dictated and marketed in an open society bazaar. But what infuriates me is every other girl like Ritika , gives this fight so easily. They let it go so easily when they have won and fought equally challenging battles since childhood. I get enraged to see the fire dying and this “let it happen” attitude. So detached they become , that they seem to miss what is excruciating so obvious. Giving up the choice of life when it matters the most , is not acceptable and we need to learn say NO when our time comes in the social court.

    The thing is when we are offered the path of choice,we are terrified of the outcome , its acceptance and its consequence. This moment of indecision is vulnerable, it is essential to listen and hear every point of view but what matters in the end is to trust the “I” in us. The power of faith in “I” ,behind a choice will help you pick a path , which irrespective of consequences give you a far greater satisfaction.

    By not making our choices and letting other make for us, we are still making a decision. Always remember- “We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.”

    Marriage

    I don;t think I can add more to what you penned, at the end of the day what is important is this- “Your life is a sum total of its experiences where marriage and your life partner are integral but not the whole. Your life will not become more meaningful merely by adding a spouse to the equation.”

    I think in the pressure of getting married, we tend to forget or realize , the right time for us to get married. Am I ready to share my life with another, Do I have the emotionally stability to deal with all the externals marriage would bring. We are too bogged down by age, social structure that we stop hearing ourselves. Here is Patrick Ness summing it up for me – ”
    Choices may be unbelievably hard but they’re never impossible. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that’s not how a person with integrity acts.”

    Phew, So glad you took this train, Hungry soul, you had me with capital market and Sherlock. Thank you for giving time and your valuable insight , this was a piece to be read by every individual out there. I hope these words give some soul hope and ignite a fire . Thank you again for reminding us about ourselves. Much love and don’t be a stranger, keep bringing this mirror of reality check from time to time.

    Anne, thank you too , for introducing Woman Sherlock here! You guys are bloody brilliant. Loves and hugs for all this awesomeness!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Genie! there comes you…when I read your comment, I was it to my resource-bag but when I read your comment on Choices I hit a jackpot..Know why? One of our family friend, who is indeed a good counselor had last year told my mom that my younger sis has choices in selecting her groom due to her age but I have to take a chance now otherwise the current chance to catch the train will go and I will be alone..my poor mom keeps reminding that I will miss the train I will miss the train…and even some of my married friends reminds me that I have to get out of my Rithika’s avatar (The same social pariahs and the social hounds are going to make it very difficult to forget this experience and make her wary of every other Abhishek), move on, I don’t have much time left …Honestly it isn’t easy to put yourself out there to be burned again. If you are taking that leap, then at least you should be emotionally ready to face the music..that’s what I keep telling…but who listens…all loves to push. I am sincerely thankful to these kind of write ups and people who gives a moral support because it isn’t easy to fight. There are moments when you just lose all the courage and hope…but you can’t give in or cant give up…those moments all you need is a hug or an encouraging word or a patient ear to listen to your pain…but who does that? I recently read a book “Almost single” by Advaita Kala where she mentioned like AA group meeting, we almost 30 single women needs a supporting group..to encourage and fight for our individuality…its not a fight against marriage or anything..its just for requiring some breather before plunging into marriage as society demands by the age of 30. Time has changed..circumstances has changed..Unlike earlier, women work and establish their careers like men by they turn 30 and they need a solid man who supports her and not traditional men who think wife is an unpaid servant who cooks for him, clean his home, takes care of his parents and give him kids..High time for change!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Now that the post is finally up I’m having a face palm moment. Gosh..

    I had to write this one out because ‘Ritika’ is someone I know very closely and seeing a young lively girl going through unwarranted pain was seriously very ….. I don’t know just very heart wrenching.

    And Anne you called me intriguing and lovely. I feel like one of your heroines. Bwahahaha

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Now my first thought when I read this line of Anne’s “I found that I was exasperated, shocked, and also very touched by that gesture. I mean, who the hell does extensive research for someone else’s story without even being asked to? Why did that research actually relate well with a part of the story? Why did I sit down and make notes off it eventually? How did a silent reader turn into this? Seriously! A silent reader. A SILENT reader. *(&^%#@^” —– was LOL! Well! Hungry soul hats off to you! I think it isn’t easy to shock Anne easily. Not only Anne, but all the 4 deranged writer ladies! They are some real cool ladies – tough stock – in a good way – but definitely not easily intimidated or surprised or shocked (my thoughts). Btw, you moniker is really cool and being a convent school product, I know what you mean about hungry souls and goodness equation. And lady, you have really played those titles in a smart way into sentences. The topic you shared was really “Present day” situation, which I felt very much connected to. Thank you for writing this post. It was indeed a boosting and encouraging post. I loved this punch at the society “Wait…What? Isn’t this supposed to be the story where a desi settled abroad marries the girl from the subcontinent for dowry and then abandons her soon enough. Well not quite”. Times are changing and new crisis happens..Homosexuality recently created quite a stir with the supreme court judegement but the matter was cooled down too soon in my opinion. I wondered why because if it was a political issue, the news would have gone on and on for weeks- months but like the rape cases which is made highlight for a week or so, this article 377 was quickly brushed under the carpet like a taboo topic. But then when I reflected, it was no surprise, in this country – society always condemns free thinking or expression of one’s sexual preferences. Right from the upbringing time, a kid is taught the rights and wrongs of society. If the kid questions why? The answer is “its like that”- the conventional way of thinking and forced judgements, like once Anne mentioned in her earlier post “emotional leash” is attached from earlier on. I felt Abhishek was one such kid who was afraid to stand up for his own choices due to his family traditions, rules, regulations, pressure of a younger sister’s marriage prospects lies in his ristha’s standard. I don’t know what would have happened if he confided in someone from his family earlier..would they approved? I have a foreign lesbian friend. She had once mentioned to me that for her family to understand and accept her sexual preference was hard, however in her country homosexuality wasn’t a crime. But parents were unhappy initially but they later accepted. However, I remember telling her not to disclose that she is lesbian to our other mutual friends (who are from my country because I know my fellowmates would consider as a outcast if they come to know) and I wasn’t wrong. Few weeks back when my lesbian friend announced her engagement to her long time girlfriend through facebook, my colleagues expressed outrage and were in full swing expressing their shame and regret and what not..I simply walked out since I couldn’t take in the hypocrites. It’s the mindset of people. I wonder will it ever change.
    Ritika I understand perfectly since I had been once in her shoes. Thanks to my lucky stars, I didn’t had to go through the wedding. But yes, once I had allowed others to make choices for me. Now I wonder why did I allow others to decide for me? I think it was a habit ingrained in me from childhood and I never thought to question it or demand my right until it was late. And I always trusted my parents know the right thing for me more than I do. When I read your these lines – I smiled, agreeing completely “It is often enough said that life is hard and so are the choices that you have to make. When standing at life’s crossroads how are you to know the right path from the wrong. But is there a right path in the first place? At some junctures you may not know what you want and asking for others’ opinion on matters would not be completely inappropriate. Sometimes you get wonderful insights from what other people have to say about a situation. But only you know what you really want. A sense of indecision is not a bad thing – you may procrastinate, drive yourself up the wall with internal dialogues, have a feeling of utter and complete cluelessness and basically feel that you can never make up your mind. Don’t beat yourself up thinking you are letting your family down, or what the society will think or how you will be seen by your friends and colleagues if you don’t do what is deemed to be the right thing”
    “With any choice you make, no matter how big or small, you can never be a hundred percent sure whether you made the correct choice. So don’t think in terms of right or wrong, choose what you feel is the best for you irrespective of whether it is supposedly right or not. After all, you are the one who has to live with your choices. If you pause a moment here to introspect a little I’m sure you’d realize that the choice that you felt was the best is the one that always turned out to be the right one, irrespective of how others perceived it”—– THANK YOU Hungry Soul! You reinforces my beliefs and these words act as a positive stimulant. Have I told you deranged writers that you are awesome? You do touch lives through your posts & stories, through guest posts, through grey tides, through 8 am thoughts…Thank you!

    Marriage in the subcontinent is a life altering event— Aha! Yes..Sarcastic Giggles!
    .
    Your life is a sum total of its experiences where marriage and your life partner are integral but not the whole. Your life will not become more meaningful merely by adding a spouse to the equation.— Exactly! You have given me some valid battle pointers! I owe you one wink! (Unfortunately I don’t have rockstar’s parents like you do. So yes, its battle! And I am sure I will rock on and tip the scales to my side with these points..my only hope is they listen to these points completely before cutting me off in the middle)

    Abhishek’s and Ritika’s reasons I get it perfectly! Huuu….the obligation you feel, the had to get married feel, not trusting your choice, friends and colleagues getting married, time running out…oh my..you took me back into the past for a moment and now I wonder how I survived..
    Marry not because it seems the right thing to do, my friend. Marry because it feels the right thing to do.— exactly! Oscar Wilde’s quote was excellent!

    Just a hair breadth away from touching the ‘God awful’ age of 30 she is the subject of many a worried relative and auntie’s sympathy, speculation and ridicule – LOL!!! Same pinch! I am turning 29 in 2 months.
    Her heart beats for Sherlock (of course) and that special someone who is man enough to put his girl’s plans over his— Cool!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maya, I had to respond to the part where you mentioned your friend. I sympathize with the pain she must have gone through when she was needlessly attacked by her so called friends. However, I am more than pleased that she had the courage to break through a boundary set by such despicable people simply because her lifestyle does not suit them. There is no shame in who and what she is, and in my opinion she should not have to stop being herself or pretend to be something else, or even refrain from showing/saying who she is for the benefit of others (and might I add total ignorant).

      Personally, I think that is the whole point of HungrySoul’s post above. People need to do more, and not withhold their needs for the sake of bullshit people. If they are vilified by one side, then the other side should applaud them louder. What your friend did is admirable. She is a courageous woman and deserves not just support but also respect for staying true to herself.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Thank you Anne. I will convey your message to her. She is one of the courageous and kind hearted souls whom I have met in my research journey. I love her because she isn’t fake or pretend to wear a mask for the society. Her chilled out cool attitude was something which made my male colleagues uncomfortable in the beginning but then you know how men are, if a give a little space to sit next to, they claim the whole seat and put their hand over your shoulders. But she had superbly dealt men and I did learn a lesson or two from her on how to show people their places. She later admitted that it wasn’t easy for her to be herself but she did and I am proud of her!

        Like

  4. Damn right!

    In our part of the world it does not matter what you achieve academically or financially, a woman is nothing till she is married. Then life begins. Or maybe we are being over simplistic and this happens in the west as well. Maybe women all over still have this stigma.I am reminded of this line from the movie “Bride Wars” when Candice Bergen tells the two brides when they set the wedding dates ” You have been dead until now. Were you aware of that? You’re dead right now.”

    I party blame married women who glorify everything and who are so distorted and drugged by their own delusions they actually repress the women who try to defy this tradition. They are the worst. Once you are married no matter what hell you live in they actually come out in groves to suffocate you into staying in them as well, no matter how unhappy or abused they are. Try to leave the sanctity of marriage and you are lucky to escape with your life, in Asia that is.

    We see this happening many many times and society is largely to blame but what can WE do? I think as much as advocating free will we must be the support system for those people who actually chose to be brave and face the music. Then more and more will find the courage to take that path because it is truly terrifying. Sometimes that chose results in losing everything, everything you held dear.

    It is not easy and it will ruffle the social relationships we are in. Our parents, friends, spouses may not support us but if someone close to us is going through this struggle… be it being forced into a marriage or is too afraid to come out of the closet we not only must encourage them with words but we must stand by them because they NEED IT and this is the truest way to make this change. It’s easy to say to defy revered societal norms but not so easy to do. They need us even more at this time, if society is throwing stones at them we must be by their side to hold the shield and take the blows with them when it comes.

    I am encouraged more and more by the younger generations. They are not afraid to make the stand and stand in solidarity and fight. We should celebrate this more and more. I wish more people would speak up like this.

    This post made my day.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Wow…what a fantastic topic to write about. so relevant and meaningful at all times. It feels like you have ripped off a bandaid from a half healed wound.

    My not so well educated mom used to have a saying about marriages….which loosely translates to ‘being married is like eating iron Chana’s….hard to digest….those who eat regret and those who don’t eat regret that they are missing the fun’.

    This institution has so been glamorized revered by society that it is almost accepted as the panacea of all that ails individuals and families…get married and all will be well. I have experienced it and I respect the institution but would not ever tell anyone that it is a foregone conclusion you will be happier as a result. Like everything else, it depends….on the situation and people involved.

    I have long made up my mind that I will never ‘gently guide’ or ‘counsel’ or ‘urge’ my daughter to get married or to have children. Those decisions are her own and her god given right to decide. Her life and choices will be her responsibility.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. “I have long made up my mind that I will never ‘gently guide’ or ‘counsel’ or ‘urge’ my daughter to get married or to have children. Those decisions are her own and her god given right to decide. Her life and choices will be her responsibility.”

      Well said!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Whoa!! Anne you’ve got a feisty lot of readers here. Thanks for all the lovely comments. More power to all you girls. 

    @Charminggenie – You couldn’t have said it better for the biggest casualty i.e. Ritika. No sane boy is supposed to touch her with a barge pole now. She is bad news.

    The best of us fear outcomes and that’s what I guess makes one give in most of the times. It’s easier that way to blame others in case things go wrong.

    @Dreamymaya – please don’t get me started on the supreme court judgement or space will run out before I stop spewing venom.

    Battles points!! By all means you are welcome but imho they haven’t cut much ice with majority of the junta. They think people like me need help because we are rationalising our inability to get married. We are a diseased lot – you and I. Hahahaha

    @Chani – I am dead right now!!! Your comment made my day 

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You are absolutely right…My mom did ask me once..do I need to meet a therapist? sometimes she says its my frustration making me speak nonsense…wow…truly we are the diseased lot in their eyes..

      Liked by 1 person

  7. When you submitted this article, and I read only the first few lines, I was so pleased because right off the bat your narration suggested there was going to be much more than what was being said. – I have to say I loved how you dismissed even the rhetoric here, and urged the reader to do the same.

    As far as the meat of this article goes, you turned it out in spades and I for one appreciate how forthright you’ve been in doing so. The story above is something which happened to someone I know, and it took years for recovery to happen. Things like this happen all the time and all around us, we watch and some of us even get trapped into doing it. But, for me, you saying it does not have to be so makes all the difference. I’m heartened by people like you, and that’s because you not only dare to make these changes in your own lives but stand your ground using reason instead of anything else.

    I wish it could be the same for everyone, but sometimes it is just not. Because it can and does get more complicated for some. I know of a girl right now who is about to get married. She is sadly also being coerced into doing so, her husband to be seems nicer than she’d expected and they have (thankfully) been given the opportunity to possible “date” a little. So it seems like she may luck out, but it is still not right. The tragedy of this situation however is not that she is being asked to do this and put her education/life/ambitions on hold (or banish them forever depending). She is doing it because the proposal was forced on her by not just her parents, but also her siblings who are of ‘marriageable age.’ In short, there are three sisters and two needed the heat taken off them, so the third is the sacrificial goat. The fact that the much revered institution of marriage, plus so called parental loyalty and devotion is being spat upon, not to mention tradition and the spiritual aspects is disgraceful but only because it doesn’t take much for fake reverence to be bestowed when required.

    So, a young girl’s life and future hangs in the balance because of the cowardice and cunning of those around and closest to her. Reason and logic will not really work here. Her courage might, but she is outnumbered and outranked. She is also more gentle and with a sense of responsibility which she does not fake. What becomes of her remains to be seen. What becomes of the other two however, is very clear.

    I had more thoughts on this, but I might save it for a blog post or two in the future. I don’t want to write a book here and I might just end up doing that if I don’t stop now.

    Thank you for the words and thoughts. I’m glad you’re here.
    Lots of love.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Reason and logic will not really work here. Her courage might, but she is outnumbered and outranked. She is also more gentle and with a sense of responsibility which she does not fake.”

      Second that completely. There’s no escaping the guilt trip whether self inflicted or otherwise

      It will be a complete understatement to say that I’ve been completely blown away by everyone’s responses.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh my Anne Gorgeous D, you nailed it.

      It’s how the institution is viewed as the litmus test for parents’ loyalty and labeling it as the most sacrament event of a human being- this ends up robbing and suffocating both Man and woman equally, especially in Asia.

      The moral emotional family bond that is so loved and cherished , turns out to be noose around the neck when the marriage talks begin. Time and again, the girl is reminded of her responsibility in up-holding the honor of the family by marrying to the “right guy” at the right time. I have seen girls , daughters run away from this by using their education and profession, they would not prefer a confrontation about it because of the sentiments involved? Like Anne, you mentioned , it is a complicated affair and more often than not , girls do tend to let their choice go for this big M word. Can we dare to question the decision of the family, without inviting the wrath of being the ungrateful kid? Why does this love seems to come with a price?

      So , what should a devoted daughter do? Talk, Speak and shout. But first get over the parents’ guilt, don’t think a No would shame the bond. Be selfish and sensible in your choices and be strong to fight these battles even if the walls are closing in. And remember your life is way too significant and elaborate to be just defined by the label of marriage. Start by believing in this.

      Another reason why marriage is considered so essential because it is related to reproduction and adding to the big Asian populations. Marry, breed and die , still seems to be focal mantra of life in Asia. Hence the pressure is more on women to marry at an appropriate time , so that they don’t have any “other” problem.

      I would get the guys on board too, they might not have it as hard as us, but they do have to live by a social stick of male perfection. Their sexual orientation or their desires must not be heard or spoken about. This forces young guys,like Abhishek to fake their natural preferences. They tend to do every possible thing to hide , remove and live a lie . it is ironic that a gender whose patrons have declared it as the supreme being , suffers from the same social constrictions that it created to diminish the rights of a woman. To maintain this social decorum , they would not acknowledge a gay man.

      I talked about this post over skype with my pre-teen brother, if only I could do justice to his outrage, yet, it swelled my heart to see my young 12+ baby bro, being so informed about the wrong here and speaking about making his own life choices and not allowing this to happen around him, gave me a big hope. If taught right , this young generation can and would make a difference. We need to give them confidence and let them be. Loving should not suffocate their dreams, it should rather be the wind beneath their wings.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. HS, The scenario you described in your post make me shudder as to how it could all have gone awry in my case too, bcoz this is exactly what I did – got hitched to an NRI at 22 after talking to each other for only 2 hours…At the end of the day, after the numerous little fights we go through, there are nights when we tell each other how lucky we are to have tied to each other after seeing examples of discords in our own extended families and among married friends…

    My husband and I have decided to not continue the tradition of “helping” our son decide – he will be free to love and live as he wants to and not forced into a life we think he should live… It’s gonna be hard, but when is letting go easy?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Can’t thank you enough for introducing us to Lady Sherlock and her shockingly true post on ‘Happily Ever After ‘

    ‘With any choice you make, no matter how big or small, you can never be a hundred percent sure whether you made the correct choice.’
    ‘So don’t think in terms of right or wrong, choose what you feel is the best for you irrespective of whether it is supposedly right or not. After all, you are the one who has to live with your choices… ‘ couldn’t have been more true …

    ‘Marriage does not give meaning to life …’ marriage is not the ultimate in life … there is much more to it …

    What happened with Ritika and Abhishek is sad but is happening ever so often … both of them were victims of our society … a girl must marry at the right age or she will get no proposals after she crosses a certain age and hence will be considered over the hill …
    a boy has to marry to keep the family name going …

    ‘Marriage in the subcontinent is a life altering event. It bestows a whole host of rights and privileges to the married. A married woman is accorded more respect by the society for, well, just being married.’
    In many stratas of our society a single woman … be she divorced … widowed … un married is considered inauspicious to be invited for religious ceremonies … 😦 as she could be the harbinger of unhappiness …

    At times one wonders if there really is a ‘Happily After’ after all when one reads about all that is happening around …

    Thank you Hungrysoul for an enlightening article …

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Really this post seems like a mirror to my own thoughts, actually a type of answer to my questions…
    Our Indeciveness becomes a weapon in the hands of our family or may i say society and relatives, who eventually tend to take the most important decision of our life…
    I live in india and will be graduating in a month or two, have a job in hand n know what i have to do with my professional life or career (atleast i know the start, n after that it will be all as to how things shape up…)
    But the thing that is that i am just as clueless about my personal life as i know abt my professional one…
    I really dont know what to expect from my personal life, what should be my aspirations…
    Never had a boyfriend n i dont know if i will ever have one bcoz i think i dont have it in me to trust someone…
    So an arranged marriage is what i will settle for (i have seen the most successful arrange marriages filled with pure love n respect and at d same time failed love marriages)
    So u may say that in this i m prejudice bt this is what i have seen…
    N its not that i dont believe in love, its just that do we really will be able to find the Mr. Right n does someone like this really exist…
    Or supposedly if we find one, will he see me as his Miss. Right n all…
    These very uncertainities are the reason that propels us to go with other’s decision bcoz they r sure about there decision n on the other hand we r lost n clueless…
    So these r my confusions n queries after reading the above story…
    N at last i would like to say that i truly believe that…
    One should take there own decisions and then should be prepared to live with its consequences whether good or bad…
    Atleast wen we make our own decision, we wont live with the regret n ques like [I] what if [/I]
    N will also not blame others for our choices n fate…

    Like

    1. I could relate to all these concerns because at one point or another, we all have gone through them.

      Firstly , go for marriage when you are sure of yourself and are prepared for it mentally, emotionally and physically. It doesn’t mean giving up on fairy-tales but just keeping the “realness” of this event at the back of your mind.

      You are young , there is a lifetime of opportunities for you to explore both professionally and personally. Just focus on gathering that happiness for yourself.

      I don’t think this is about writing off arranged marriage as a concept, but it is more about making that informed decision yourself. DO trust and listen to your parents but be smart enough to ask relevant questions to the prospective groom and try to spend some time with him to get an idea about him and the proposed life. This post highlights that don’t tread the line blindly.

      There is no Mr right, there cannot be, we all want different things at different point in our lives. Same goes for the guys too. Just look how you guys think about each other’s core values and principles and take it from there. And the only right thing here will be the guy respecting you the most, letting you be who you are and listen to your ramble . Don’t worry about what he will think, if it feels right you both will know it before anyone else. Together- you make the right. And if not, then , well you loved and had a life experience added to your life. It goes on.

      See , it is not wrong in asking for other’s opinions but letting them make that final decision without your inputs is risky. How would anyone will understand your emotions and your wants better than you. You have to live through this decision , so why let it be somebody’s call.

      Lastly, I think you summed it well with this- “Atleast wen we make our own decision, we wont live with the regret n ques like [I] what if [/I]”

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Welcome to the blog HungrySoul:)
    Let me tell you a little story as well here. While living in Stockholm for a brief period of time I met a Punjabi family who were settled in Sweden for the past 20 yrs or so. I was invited to their home as a goodwill gesture where I met their older daughter Balwinder with such lovely but sad eyes and we hit it off instantly. She had come to Sweden along with her parents when she was 4 yrs old. She was brought up in the Swedish culture, had swedish friends, a job and all and yet she agreed to an arranged marriage to a boy from Ludhiana. Initial days after the wedding were joyous and then the boy had to face some harsh realities of coming to Sweden. Since he wasn’t highly qualified … wasn’t quite ambitious either … he had to start with the basic swedish language course to gain an entrance in the society which I can assure you is very frustrating.
    They started having tiffs which turned into full blown physical abuse after just 1 year. Her husband could not digest the fact that she was earning while he sat home unemployed. She was not allowed to meet her friends or family… he wouldn’t help her in cooking or any other household chores either. And on the top of that her husband was pressurized to keep sending some money to his family in India.
    She had filed for a divorce when I met her. I can’t create magic with words like you and Anne do but it isn’t hard to understand the amount of pain her young heart went through. Too many questions remain unanswered … was she wrong to trust her parents and agree to an arranged marriage? Why wouldn’t her parents let her make such a huge decision of her life on her own but rather impose their decisions on her? Did she deserve the pain and the taboo of being a divorcee in the Punjabi community?
    All I know and hope for is a better tomorrow for girls like Ritika and Balwinder and boys like Abhishek.
    Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. HungrySoul, you’ve spoken of a subject I tend to get a little worked up about. Thank you for that beautiful insight into just how screwed up our society is.
    I got married at the ripe old age of 26. That was nearly 25 years ago, when people wondered even more if there was something wrong with you if you weren’t married by 22. But I think I got away lightly because I was in a long standing relationship with the man and people knew that he had a widowed mother and unmarried older sister to support and marry off, respectively. Plus, I had rockstar parents too who couldn’t care two hoots about society gossip. Incidentally, the sister remained unmarried although not for wont of trying. But that’s another story.

    Now my daughter’s 22, nearly 23. For the past 2 years I’ve had subtle and not so subtle hints about “looking for boys” for her. I’ve refused flatly although her father would be happy if she at least had a steady boyfriend (and preferably from the community, please! ;)). We want her to make her own decisions, her own choices in life. And right now it’s her career that takes precedence. She’s got her whole life ahead to find the right life partner, preferably one who puts her and her slightly out-of-the-ordinary career choice first. She might screw up, she might not. But we’re there to help her through it all. I hope she never ever enters into a relationship only because it’s “time” or because time’s running out or because “what the hell, everyone’s doing it, so why not me?”

    Ritika and Abhishek chose to go with the flow rather than stand up to their families for what they wanted for themselves. I think Abhishek got away relatively lightly in all this. One, he’s a man and like it or not the general view is gender-skewed in favor of the male. Two, he does not have to live in India, Ritika does. Yes, his parents probably faced a lot of talk and gossip, but that would eventually die down. The person who has come out the worse in this whole affair is poor Ritika, I feel. As we know the onus is almost always on the woman to make a marriage work and now there will always be speculation about what exactly went wrong in that marriage. Even the ridiculous view that the right woman would have “cured” Abhishek. Like he has a bloody disease.

    So yes, I agree completely with you, HungrySoul. Marriage may be an integral part of who you are, but it is NOT the be all and end all of your life. It is not the sun around which you need to work your life choices, your decisions, your actions.

    I like that today young women have a lot more independence, a lot more choices, than they did in the past. Although it’s not enough by far, it’s still a start. And I’m optimistic that things will continue to change, to improve. I think each one of us knows a Ritika or an Abhishek. Their stories might be different, but their pain, their confusion, and the devastation caused in their lives is the same, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree with every word of yours.

      FYI the mother is actually looking for a new cure for her diseased son. Someone please pass me the barf bag. Ughh

      Like

      1. Some people have this compulsion to “save” the world, to rid it of what they perceive as “sin”. I feel sorry for the poor boy and hope that this time around he has the courage to stand up to his family. If he has a partner in Australia, this whole fiasco would be highly unfair to that man, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh – that was truly a mindblowing guestpost
    hungrysoul, heartiest welcome to the blog
    hats off to you dear –
    its quiet pathetic to know that two well educated and independent personalities like Abhishek and Ritika had to succumb to the fanatic outlook of our society
    I wish this article of yours is posted in all newspapers and journals to evoke or awaken our youngsters
    Wonderful post – I second your thoughts hungrysoul
    Anne, thank you for this guestpost

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I won’t lie, I began reading with the skepticism that usually arises in me when I first encounter writings of someone I haven’t come across before. I placed my trust in Anne’s judgement and it didn’t take me long to realize it was well placed, I was enthralled.

    I’m at that stage where most of the decisions I make are going to stick with me for quite a while, and it’s not always the easiest burden to carry. While reading this, I realized that I had become very close to doing what Ratika and Abishek both have done in the little analogy: let others dictate my life, either because I feel I’m under obligation to let them do so or because, well, why not right? I’m not just talking marriage here but hey let’s throw that in the pot too.

    You literally gave me the earful that I clearly need at this point, and I’m quite thankful. It’s hard to let go of the shell of protection that you feel you’re in, but yeah, life is a gamble and you yourself know how you’re going to win at it best.

    This writing resonates quite a bit with me, and I’m so glad I got to read this, and HungrySoul? For someone “silent” you do have a magnificent voice.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Marriages and Happily ever afters are highly overrated. Life’s path is chalked out at the time of birth. All the steps are to be taken in the same sequence.

    Nice post.

    Like

  16. All the comments here were fodder for the mind & soul. HS, your post was welcome as it effected a resonance in so many persons here. Marriage, whether arranged or love, is not the debating point here but the view that it is inevitable & unavoidable for a social credibilty, early or late.

    In most societies, this is followed without thought in spite of the statistics which scream that marriage does not neccesssrily mean a better life for both. In such societies, marriage is seen as a continuum of responsibilties completed, obligations fulfilled, as per expectations of the world around.

    When change happens as is more frequent these days, it is because of the mental strength of the individual, buoyed maybe by independent capabilities. But some of that change can also be attributed to evolved parents & elders who support such decisions, or nurture their progeny to make their own choices in life. They are few, but such is life….it will take time to spread more substantially.

    On the other hand, we should not be delusional to think that entire society needs to or will change. We have too much of a pot-pourri of cultures & beliefs aquired over centuries. In the meantime as more people get vocal & active in following up on their beliefs, the more the changes will be seen. Have the faith.

    Like

  17. Amazing post!!! I totally understand the pressure, I mean from the day I turned 19, (and now I am 22) the whole khandan is after me to get married… People don’t understand that marriage is a life changing event and no one should just get into it because of how old they are… No one understands when I say that I am not ready to get married yet, all they ask is what’s the wrong with the larka…. And I don’t know how to make them understand and honestly I have even given up trying to make them see sense. I don’t care anymore about what people think. I will live my life how I want to live it…

    Like

  18. (X !!! Youu!! You have written evth that is in my heart on this matter =O but ofc jus muchch muchchchch more intelligibly :*:*:*
    I totally agree on the point that marriage if one choses (yes it should be one’s very own choice) becomes one part of their ongoing life.. not completely it! But most lives around us are controlled by what others feel is right and how life will be easier if we just let them do whatever they want with it and get them off our backs.. (cowardly so)… it just feels such a waste of life.. or part of it ): It’s too precious!!! We’re precious!!! And I love YOU!! It hurt to know about your friend.. Sending her way duas <3!!

    Like

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