Now cynical about the institution called marriage, I was reminded of a time when matrimonial ceremony seemed to be the perfect ending for a seven year old courtship. To me, who had unknowingly become the talk of the town, it was a ritual that would silence slandering tongues. It was a license to live together and sin without worrying about inferno. Being the couple who was spotted everywhere on a motorbike, the relationship was juicy enough for the young and the old to gossip as they thought it was their birthright to add colour to their imagination while pondering about the lengths we would have gone to as far as sexual intercourse was concerned. Even though it might be a surprise to the gossip mongers, I was a virgin till the consummation day, whose chastity had been violated in other ways.
I was married to my clean shaven boyfriend in the photo in the christian tradition in a local church with the blessings of friends and family. Now when I look back I realise that the family had no other option but to allow us to tie the knot as heads were turning in their direction as well. After ten years of married life, we went through divorce validating research studies that the life span of a marriage is ten years in this modern society. I feel more liberated than ever and despite the fact that older generation would not waste any opportunity in reiterating, “I told you so …” I have no regrets because that daring life defying traditions and customs could only have been lived when young and youthful and not in the middle ages. So I flicked through my wedding photos while entertaining the thought about the actual significance of customs and traditions to couples who were ready to take the leap.
With elated emotions, I went through the ceremony blissfully unaware that customs and traditions did not guarantee a happy married life. I was one among the millions of women who deceived themselves into believing that once the knot was tied everything was going to be alright. If we had known that unromantic things like compromises, selflessness, sacrifices, maturity and responsibilities like children, in-laws etc. were required for a relationship to last, then we would have refused to walk down the aisle.
It is refreshing to know that the significance attached to rituals, customs and traditions have undergone a sea change due to modernization, the increasing popularity of live in relationships and the significant number of women who prefer career over marriage and who chose to stall marriages as long as they can. Gone are the times when people believed that the responsibilities associated with marital life would reform wayward gentlemen. Society believes in empowerment through education and employment and informed decisions rather than placing their blind faith in rituals and ceremonies. Let us usher in a new era of wisdom with arms wide open.