While glancing through the Sunday papers, I noticed this interesting new concept launched by The Times of India called 'Equality Matrimonials'.
The tagline: "Because marriage is an equal vow between two individuals. Not two families."
Yeah right. And this is not India, it is Utopia.
Still, for what it is worth let me take you through the "Equality Marriage Contract" drafted by them. Which - they hope - brides and grooms advertising under this column will sign.
Metaphorically speaking, I guess
Equality Marriage Contract
(remarks in italics below each point are mine)
HUM = TUM
Manifesto for equality in marriage
The HUM = TUM matrimonial column is for prospective brides and grooms who believe in a democratic marriage - a coming together of two individuals who value freedom of choices including those of parenthood, family and household responsibilities, social interactions and career-related decisions, as follows:
1. Personal preferences including those related to dress, food and hobbies will be respected, with no pressure from in-laws or relatives.
The wife can respect the husband's ponytail, and the husband can respect her thunder thighs in a mini-skirt. But what in-laws and relatives say or do is hardly in their control!
2. The couple would share the responsibility of caring for each others' parents - while each would remain the primary caregiver for their own parents.
Eh.. means we buy a 4 bedroom house and your dad and my mom can stay with us. But you make sure you have dinner with your own mom?
3. Both partners have an equal right to pursue - or not to pursue - a career and play the role of primary breadwinner. Either one could follow the other's decision to relocate home as per career movement.
Hee hee ha ha.
4. If both choose to work, responsibility for child rearing and home management will be shared equally.
Hee hee hee hee ha ha ha ha.
5. Together, the couple will resolve to overcome attempts by extended family to interfere in their key life choices. eg whether and when to have a baby will be decided only by the couple, not by parents and other family members who will not comment on, goad or influence the couple.
Note: When you have that Big Fat Indian Wedding with chaar peedi ke rishtedaars make sure to give some duct tape along with the mithai ka dabbas!
6. The bride does not 'leave her home' to merge seamlessly or fit into her in-laws scheme of things, she now has another home that she might choose to call her own in addition to the home she comes from.
'In-laws scheme of things'? Thy copywriter doth see too much Star Plus, methinks.
The 'contract' does address some key issues leading to breakdown in marriage today. Possibly, those advertising under this section will not be confronted by grooms who look 'well educated' on paper but belong to the caveman mindset.
I recall the kind of guys my cousin - an MBA and working girl - met through the matrimonials. There was a particularly memorable fellow who said,"You can continue to work but... make sure you get home before me".
Which meant approximately five o'clock. But it's really a blessing in disguise when people with such expectations say it upfront! And conversely, people who advertise in 'Equality Matrimonials' believe both spouses can kill themselves at work.
"Equality in high blood pressure, it is my birthright."
Sorry about the PJs, but you can't take this 'contract' seriously. Equality is an imaginary concept - like finding Blue Aliens Who Use Their Tails like USB Sticks.
Apples and Oranges cannot be equal. They can only exist in a fruit basket in a spirit of mutual respect and enjoy each other's fruitiness.
That's a good marriage.
The trouble arises when the Apples squeeze the Oranges. And when the whole world extols the virtues of being Orange Juice.
Let me say here that the principle also applies in reverse. Apple does not get the respect it deserves, in the pantheon of Juice. It must be strong, because nobody appreciates an apple gone phusky.
Here's a challenge. Show me one woman who is so career-oriented that she and the husband will actually sit down and discuss 'which one of us will continue working after the baby'.
OK, maybe there is one, but show me ten. Or a hundred. Or a thousand.
A majority of women will cite motherly instinct as a Supreme Right. One which precludes busting their butts to be the 'primary breadwinner'.
You get my point, I hope.
And at the end of the day, the things we want at 25, are not the same as at 30, or 40, or 50. So any 'contract' - real or notional - between two people, has to be fluid.
If the foundation is solid, the building stands. Otherwise you're just going to scream during a fight,"To think you found me through 'equality matrimonials'. Ab kahaan gayi equality huh? HUH?"
P.S. I must compliment the people at The Times of India. This is a great marketing gimmick. Folks, if any of you advertise under this column, do let me know how it went!
How you carefully cut the brownie at Barista in equal portions, and discussed how many shoes she would be allowed - you know, to keep things equal!
P.P.S. Abhi inaugural discount bhi chal raha hai - pachchis percent. Hurry, equality on offer as long as stocks last...
The above post was not sponsored by Equal. Zindagi ke pyaale mein asli mithaas ka koi substitute nahin.
As they say, shaadi koi mazaak to nahin so let me end on this senti note :)