Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Married singles

AM an ex colleague was married for seven years. She and her husband divorced last year. She was suddenly left with a child and single hood again after nine years of married life at the age of 32.

S another ex colleague also split with her husband after three years of marriage and is single again at 27.

These two are not stray cases. My brother’s office itself is witnessing around 20% increase in divorce rates. In fact he came to know recently that two of his “single’ gal colleagues were divorcees. Both are in their twenties. I shall not go into the reasons for divorce here. But I would definitely like to draw the attention to the fact that most Indian girls and their parents do not prepare themselves for this probability. Marriage is taken for granted and divorces happen to other people’s daughters. However the hard fact is that marriages do not last forever for a percentage of couples and that percentage is increasing these days. And there is no predicting who will be a part of that percentage. And one must be prepared for that.

One of my divorced colleagues rushes to work leaving her daughter with her mom and then picks her up again in the evening before going to her home. She cannot stay with her parents as she is ‘married’ now and they have already spend considerable amount of money on her wedding and trousseau. She feels bad to ask them for help now and lives in a PG where they let her keep her daughter. It is a very sad situation. She wishes her parents had instead saved the money or invested it for her future.

And she is not alone too. There are many like her. Many girls do not reveal in office or to their neighbors/landlord that they are divorced as they want to avoid the usual questions and unwanted attention. This leads to a false notion that divorces are rare. Most of these girls rue the fact that they never prepared for the eventuality! They can be seen advising unmarried girls like me to not take marriage for granted.

What is really important today is that parents face this reality and do not spend all they saved for their daughter on her wedding but leave some for a rainy day when their daughter will be out in the cold…alone.

It does sound cruel and some might argue that this would lead to more divorces. But I think what needs to be addressed now is the future of the girls if they are faced with a divorce. When I was growing up, my Dad would always tell me that my education and career alone would stand by me at all times and nothing else. Unlike many of my peers I never dreamed of marrying a man with a big house and car and wealth because I was led to believe that what I earned only would be mine. It does sound harsh but I am grateful to my Dad for that. Because the second most heard complaint about hubbies from married gal is about their tight fistedness. I know several married gals who spend more than their husbands on the home even though they earn less. Most husbands cite saving for a rainy day as an excuse for not spending more. After a few years it is any body's guess whose bank balance is healthier!

This post was written after two of my senior colleague confessed that they were delaying kids as they wanted their marriages to stabilize. They did not want to be single again with a kid. The revelation shocked me numb and subsequent ‘investigations’ made me realize that the fairy tale ending to stories called ‘they married and lived happily ever after’ has another contender now...the “they divorced and live happily ever after”.

I am not saying that girls should enter wedlock with thoughts of divorce in their heads. But that they should not rule it out either. It won’t happen to most marriages. But it will happen to some. And there is no guarantee that you will not figure in that ‘some.’

A link sent recently by a reader!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

War on terror!

A journalist who shoots off her mouth and broke a couple of hundred rules in journalism goes and issues fatwa against a writer who voiced his anxiety and dismay at the situation. Then she coolly joins the chorus of people pleading with the government not to muzzle the press. Note the irony here? Heck… this is not irony. It is plain arrogance, hypocrisy, intimidation, violation of the fundamental right to freedom of speech, thought and expression and most importantly, muzzling the voice of a citizen who has expressed his opinion as a concerned citizen while millions others kept quite. If we are going to shoot down every man who stands up and voices concern over what he perceives is not a healthy trend for our society as a large, then we as a democratic nation are doomed.

It is like serving a notice to the thousands of people who thronged the streets of Mumbai, in peaceful protest against political apathy forcing the government to take stern action against the perpetrators of the November Mumbai attacks.

This incident has to be the lowest that journalism has sunk to in recent times. And I am appalled that the bearded man who ushered in the Indian telecasting revolution remained a mute spectator while his star reporter petulantly went about violating every rule in the book and then some rules in the Constitution because someone dared to point a finger at her. If this man has any conscience he will kick the offending reporter out and redeem the name of his company. He has to teach the people in his organization that no one is bigger than the company he founded on the principles of ethical journalism.

What is happening to us as a society? If a journalist gets criticized she serves a notice to the critic! If some random guy does not like us drinking, he will beat us up! If some stranger does not like the way I dress up, he will force the government to pass ordinance that defines what I wear or not! What next? Will a woman who is raped be tried for indecency? Will I serve time for being robbed at gun point? Will a wife who is thrashed by her husband be sued for misdemeanor?

And what is worse, instead of being pulled up for breaking the laws of this country, the government is actually going to make their demand legitimate. Yes people… forty odd people in a coastal town of an Indian state are going to decide for the rest of the 52 Crore people in the State what is right or wrong for them! So what valuable lesson do we learn from this situation? That if you want your voice to be heard by the powers that be…resort to violence!!!

A second uprising is necessary now. Like the one we witnessed in Mumbai. This time against intolerance and goondaism and violation of civil liberties. State sponsored intolerance in the name of religion and culture will slowly eat away our rights as citizens of a free country. We the educated middle class, a class these elements constantly target as we are soft targets, have to stand up for what we have fought for. It is not the duty of the government to spell out how we live our lives. It is their duty to govern. Give us roads, drinking water, safety and jobs instead of telling us what to eat drink or wear! That is none of their business. As a people we are long used to looking after ourselves. We have suffered enough of political apathy and inaction. And now to rub salt to our wounds, we have to put up with political interference is our personal lives too. That is the last straw!

It is high time we had an instrument by which we can track a government’s record in governance and make them accountable to the people who voted for them. Proposals like this will go a long way in reigning in politicians and remind them that the power is with the people and if they cannot govern we will look for somebody else who will deliver the goods.

This is my 250th post here. Wish it had a happier topic! Some good news here at last!