I have been hoping to write about this for some time but during my morning walk today, I saw some couples. I felt that I must take photos of two of them. Of course, I took the photos discretely. When we look at couples, when we meet couples, we hardly know anything about the details about relationships between the couples. Their secrets, good or bad, their likes and dislikes, their compatibility is only known to them. My judgement is that if a couple is really close to you and your spouse, you may not know more than 30% about them, about their thoughts, their demons, their love. Everyone else is hidden far, far away from others, like the closeness or lack of it between them. What we see are shallow things about them. In some cases, everything looks hunky dory but in reality? Honestly, I don’t know.
Now about the two couples I saw today. They had come out of their homes for their morning walk or outing! In one case, I saw that husband was walking in front of his wife. I thought this was because there was some water and muck due to overnight rain. I was far behind them, initially. Later on, too, they continued to walk in the same fashion. Another couple was sitting on a bench, husband was talking on the cell phone and the wife was sitting there nonchalantly observing life passing by. I waited, at a distance, to see the spectacle but there was no change. What must have been the relationships between these pairs? What must have been their relationships when they were young? While going for morning walk why would husband walk a couple of meters ahead of wife? Why would a husband be talking away on phone in such a beautiful weather? Only they would know.
Years back, Jaya used to go to office, in their office bus. A couple, who were her colleagues, would also join her at the same bus stop. They would walk from their home every day. Husband in front, wife in tow about ten feet behind. Wife would carry his office bag and food container along with her own things. Jaya was curious. Once she asked her colleague why did they not walk together? Why did they not carry their own stuff? The colleague said, ” I will let you know later.” Later during the day, the colleague came and met Jaya. Jaya asked her why they did not walk together and why was her husband not carrying his own things? The colleague said, ” How can male carry these things? It is to give him respect that I walk behind him.” Jaya could feel that it’s a veiled statement! Both husband and wife had same technical qualifications and were holding the same post. Later, only the lady got promoted but the charade at the bus stop continued!
Recently, I heard a story of doctor couple. They would invite outside expert surgeons for performing surgeries. One consultant faced an embarrassing problem. He treated the husband’s patient but during surgery he used a new equipment at the clinic. Since the patient “belonged” to the husband, the bill was raised by the husband. The wife called this consultant and asked him why the bill was raised by the husband? She said that the investment for new costly equipment was done by her so the bill should have been raised in her name! Now, now! This was an internal issue of husband and wife, but the issue was raised with the consultant. This indicated the relationship between the couple!
What is marriage? Marriage is the process by which two people make their relationship public, official, and permanent. It is the joining of two people in a bond that putatively lasts until death, but in practice is increasingly cut short by divorce. Over the course of a relationship that can last as many as six or seven decades, a lot happens. Personalities change, bodies age, and romantic love waxes and wanes. And no marriage is free of conflict. What enables a couple to endure is how they handle that conflict. So how do you manage the problems that inevitably arise? And how can you keep the spark alive?
In patriarchal society in which we live, narcissism is prevalent big time. Since time immemorial, male species has been given a lot of undue importance. They have been encouraged to behave the way they want and the way they could. The obvious “drawback” in the mind of female species has been of getting pregnant, only female kids were always trained to behave in a docile way, always listening to male species and agreeing to their opinions, allowing them to behave any which way they wanted.
Though in last 50 years things are changing a bit and getting improved in treatment meted out to female species, some things may take a real long time to change. Walking behind one’s husband is part of that docile behavior. Allowing husbands to do what they want continues. There are noted changes especially in western world and major cities in India, giving more freedom to females, giving respect to women as humans, considering them as equals professionally. Even with these changes, a lady professional still is required to work hard, maybe 10 times more than men, to achieve the same professional success.
Marriages are now, at least in many cases that I know of, are showing improvement in male female interaction. Both partners, now share big dreams and work hard to achieve the same. They work hard to achieve it, they sacrifice for each other, even career wise, which in olden times was unheard of. In, many marriages I have seen the marriage as coming together of two families and not marrying a girl only for dowry and procreation! Women power is really seen in many areas and in a good sense. Of course, there are a few ladies who go to the other extreme! But over a period ladies have learnt that they are made different physically, bra burning becomes only symbolic! It is matter of wearing a convenient inner ware to suit the shape of their body. That women have menstrual cycle is an accepted fact and they are supported by colleagues, male and female when required, silently. People accept that it’s no big deal and take it in stride. Their pregnancies are respected and supported in professional life.
Has utopia arrived in this bad, bad world? No, not all but proverbial silver lining is seen on the dark clouds. In fact, sometimes we see Silver Clouds instead of dark clouds. Will there be no dark clouds in the year 2118? No way, there will be dark clouds but they will be much less; in many families I see male and female births are received with equal joy. I know you must have smiled about Pramod, the optimist! But I have seen this happening in many families and Yes, this trend will hopefully continue! Now when a husband says today, ” Let me ask my wife, before I confirm to you”, people ever so pragmatic don’t laugh but accept it as a practical requirement. While writing this piece, I had taken Jaya’s permission to do so! But I am not called Hen Pecked! Do I dream that one day, a husband will walk behind the wife, carrying her office bag and tiffin? No, never! I want them to proudly and lovingly walk together! After all both are humans only made physically different by Him! Without this difference how could human race have continued to multiply? Only a male child born cannot be Lighthouse showing light beacon to families, you need females in equal numbers, is it not?