My SCRAPBOOK (సేకరణలు): A COLLECTION of articles in English and Telugu(తెలుగు), from various sources, on varied subjects. I do not claim credit for any of the contents of these postings as my own.A student's declaration made at the end of his answer paper, holds good to the articles here too:"I hereby declare that the answers written above are true to the best of my friend's knowledge and I claim no responsibility whatsoever of the correctness of the answers."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Romance and the Indian woman

Many women in a marriage suffer from contempt bred from familiarity

This article is written solely from a women’s perspective. As I write this, I sincerely hope that people who read this article are provoked — into thinking, into debates, and into action. Our society has always adopted a patronising attitude towards a woman’s need for romance after marriage, kids, etc. I find that many women in a marriage suffer from contempt bred from familiarity.

But let us start at the beginning. All of us have seen weddings. There is so much of hope and prayers that the couple should be happy. When you begin with such blessings, one would think that things can rarely go wrong. Initially in most cases, the euphoria continues. Then the individual expectations set in.

There are the usual “husband-wife” fights. Trivial things, when the making up is as much fun as the fighting. But that deteriorates. Children come in. And this is when the trap closes. Children play an ironic role here: they help parents bond over the their problems, health and future. They are also the reason that most couples agree to co-exist.

Simple problem

I had a close friend who had a very simple problem in her marriage. That of apathy. Her husband just took her for granted. He most certainly cared for her, but over time, he also treated her as a part of the furniture. Her frustration steadily gave way to anger and a need for attention, romance. Her in-laws were aghast at her talk of a separation.

They felt that unless a woman is beaten, tortured (physically/mentally) and cruelly treated, there is no need for such talk of separation/divorce. And what about the children? Well, my friend also felt that children should not be victims. So she chose to stay in the marriage, to co-exist with her inert husband.

I feel our society is evolving. I don’t see women continuing to placidly accept their “lot” in the marriage. I believe most of our menfolk (after the first few years of marriage) get married again. To their careers or to the television. Or something else. The wife morphs into just being the mother of the kids.

What if the woman chooses to demand more, but not get more? Would she continue to remain trapped in a superficial marriage? Would she try and seek romance elsewhere (now I am walking on thin ice…)? If she has her financial independence too (which is now common), would it not be dangerous to take her for granted?

Many times, as I have voiced this thought, men have asked me to spell out what has to be done. They are genuinely puzzled. What do their wives need? The word romance makes them squeamish and embarrassed. My only solution is to make them go down memory lane. What did they do during the engagement period, when they were wooing her? What about those heady initial days of marriage? I admit they cannot entirely re-construct that. It would be artificial too.

‘Smelly socks syndrome’

I believe that most Indian marriages are emotionally unfair to the woman. After all the attention of being a PYT (pretty young thing), then a bride, then a mother, and then… then nothing. Just the monotony of everyday life. A friend once told me that marriage and children kills all romance. That it is very difficult to be romantic about someone with whom you have lived for a decade. The “smelly socks syndrome.” So now, we have a discontented wife, who wants romance, but would start giggling if her husband of 15 years begins romancing her.

I believe that that apathy, emotional negligence and boredom in a marriage are going to stir up a small revolution of sorts. What is disturbing is that most men do not even acknowledge this as a serious issue. It is dismissed as something trivial. One told me pompously that there were larger issues in some marriages. But if they were to actually question this need to be romanced, actually pose this question to their wives, sisters, friends, they just might be surprised. Isn’t that reason enough to call for a change?

(The hindu, 16:03:2008)

Between romance and responsibilities G. Muthuswamy

The article “Romance and the Indian woman” (Open Page, March 16) is thought provoking. The writer should be appreciated for her carefully worded article.

It may be true that romance is missing in the married life of many couples, especially in the middle class families. But the statement “many women in a marriage suffer from contempt bred from familiarity” may not be true. In fact, over a p eriod of time, intimacy and love between couples actually grow. But, practical romance may be eluding in many of the couples’ lives due to various demands of modern day life.

As the writer aptly puts it, most of our men folk after a few years of marriage ‘get married again to their careers...’ Men get wedded to their careers with a good intention, born out of love, to earn more to provide their wives and children with all modern day facilities — even luxuries. In the process, they may lose sight of the need for romance. But when a woman feels that romance is missing in her life, she must understand that her husband is equally missing the same.

The writer talked about children but did not go deep into the present day situation. She simply says: “They (children) are also the reason that most couples agree to co-exist.” In today’s situation, parents practically live for their children. In the present competitive environment, more than the children, parents are eager to make their children come up in life. Most of the middle class parents are ready to pay any price and to sacrifice all their pleasures for their children’s great future.

Moreover, when a daughter or son grows into teen age and above, the romance between the couple is naturally fading away. When the son or daughter is busy with long hours of study at home, stretching into midnight almost every day, how will the poor husband and wife get into a romance mood?

The writer raises the question: “Would she (the woman) try and seek romance elsewhere….? If she has her financial independence too (which is now common), would it not be dangerous to take her for granted?” Men are financially independent for generations together. Do all men, in spite of their various frustrations at home, seek romance outside the marriage? Character, discipline and integrity are purely individual attributes.

However, in a broad analysis, it is true that there is a need for every couple to enrich their married life with more romance, love and care. Such enrichment will do good to men and women in today’s stressful life. Even modern spiritual gurus claim that life is to be celebrated and enjoyed.

It may simply require an open talk between a husband and wife and a little time management to set right things at home and take time for romance. Careful handling of the grown-up children is an essential part of the game.

(The Hindu, 30:03:2008)




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