Monday, March 08, 2010

Sugar free matrimonials

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.

But seriously.

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 :)

29 comments:

  1. nooo.. i strongly diasgree with the perception here.. if anything, the ToI initiative deserves kudos. Sure, equality is a utopian concept TODAY, but (and this is my problem with Ekta Kapoor Soaps), BUT, if it is not even an aspirational concept, if it is not even something that we want to strive towards, then no step will ever get taken in that direction!

    Something like this is very necessary. They must add to this contract - "we shall sign a pre nup about our assets and stick to it. "

    The contract is fair and rational. I have seen more than enough marriages go down the royal stinking drain because the parents on either, and usually, the boy's side decide that their son is old enough to marry, but not old enough to think for himself, and the DIL, being a far lesser mortal, is even less capable.

    My kudos toToI for this one. Someone publish it in Delhi also please..

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  2. :D Loved this post.

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  3. I AGREE with what you have written. I am an ardent follower of your blog since past 3 years or so, but this is my first comment.
    These were exactly my thoughts when I first saw the TOI tag line.

    I have always believed & said that in India you don't marry an individual you marry the family. Being 27 year old and as they say "of marriagable age", I can relate to some of the sentiments. I agree whole heartedly that it is the female that has to adjust much more after marriage.

    A situation that I would like to suggest is that - suppose either one in the couple drinks then what - Being equal the other one should also start drinking or should he/she ignore it because they agreed that "Personal preferences including those related to dress, food and hobbies will be respected"

    Staying in the hostel since the age of 9, I have seen many children from dysfunctional families. Parents had everything for them except time & now most of them don't have time for their parents 'coz that bond of love is not strong to hold. Am thankful that my parents had time enough for us. On the risk of sounding conservative or old fashioned I feel that a female is in a much better position to bring up the family but at the same time if she is in a much better position career wise I am going to leave the job to bring up the family, no matter what the society says'. Hearing the comments is bad but child growing up alone is worst.

    This equality match-making thing if followed is going to increase the divorce rate much more. No more counselling by the elders as they cannot interfere. No more suggestions to improve life as again nobody can intervene. Every society has its short comings, ours is also not perfect but why change things which are definitely better.

    Am not denying that divorces don't happen or marriages don't break down due to interference from the relatives or in-laws but I have firm belief in the Indian Institution of Marriage. Aping the west blindly may help in the short run but as you rightly said that " 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."

    People cannot be equal in any relationship all the time leave alone marriage. More or less each relationship is based on the notion of "Give and Take".I just wish that every person realizes the fine line that divides EGO & SELF-RESPECT and ADJUSTMENT & COMPROMISE.

    TOI should start collecting data of this initiative and monitor couples' relationships for 3-5 years. Findings are going to be interesting, thats for sure. :-) . Lets see how much of equality is left after 3 years.

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  4. stinks of yet another "TOIlet paper" branding initiative to get some cheap publicity. which is why i never read the TOIlet paper.o

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  5. Love the way you write. I haven't read many women with such humor in writing.

    I am on my way to get the pacchis percent discount. ;)

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  6. wow! i feel so strongly against what u write rashmi that a lot of my comments might offend u but that's how disgusted i feel!

    when there is an argument i am always against people who start their argument with 'but that's how things are and it would be utopia to think otherwise'.

    it's attitudes like these - that make society believe ti is ok to walk all over a woman becasue she is married into the family and not because she and boy have decided to build a home together.

    marketing gimmick or not i think TOI for once deserves complete respect to atleast start an initiative like this.

    how much it translates into reality i don't know but it's the thought process that is muchly needed.

    i want to make so many more remarks but they might just be too nasty. good luck with your family then! i sure didn't expect a regressive attitude from some one of your calibre!

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  7. ok breathe in breathe out calm down and writing now!

    these r thigns me and my friends [the guys included!] have discussed so many times, so maybe we or our generations are in totally diff pages!

    1. don't want to change surname. it is my identity!

    2. don't have issues living with his parents cos if i had a brother and his wife refused to stay with my family, i'd want to rip her apart. having said that - if my parents need to live with me or rather need me to live with them, the guy shud most definitely not have an ego abt being a 'ghar jamai'.

    i don't think it is as much about marrying into a family as it is about building a home together! and anyone who thinks otherwise is most welcome to FO!

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  8. Eqaulity Contract for marriages can be a hot sujbect for reality tv shows only- TRP driven,fictitious,ludicrous and as you rightly pointed ;Utopian!

    No matter how much ever career-oriented or educated a normal indian girl is, once she gets married she is welcomed with a lifetime validity gift of excess baggage of relatives,debatable set of new family values and much much more.The fact that even the boys have to adjust to their new lives can also not be ignored.
    so I guess, TOI seems to have been inspired by The popular "How To" mantra these days.But sadly as we all know there is no universal algorithm or formula for successful marriages and thus "Ten Easy steps to Marry the Equality contract way" sounds just like reading a book on how to tame your pet or how to cook a delicious meal.Is it that simple???
    Anyways, wishing TOI good luck with their futuristic ideas and endeavours and may god bless all the prospective brides and grooms!

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  9. I really appreciate the boldness, attitude,feminism highlighted in this blogs..The best line IMO "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" ...actually the social infrastructure is so weak that even the most updated modern men cannot sacrifice their MALE EGO...donnt know whether the day will or come or not where men can dispel their MALE Ego..

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  10. I am amazed.... how can you write so well... brilliant.... I am fond of your writing... :)

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  11. Hi Rashmi. Have been a follower of your blog and although I have commented very rarely, this post of yours did not go down well with me.

    How many of this very TOI matrimonial or any of the shaadi.com sites have the 'fair, beautiful, slim, homely' bride wanted ADs... and finally is the duty of the woman to just become the wife / mother / daughter-in-law of her husband and his family? Does her upbringing, her dreams, her eductaion and intelligence lead to naught? I am not a feminist but I think it is a very good initiative by TOI to atleast outline what should be the expectations and the principles on which a marriage should be based, particularly in today's day and age where women are as financially independant and as vocal about their needs, as a man. It will get the boy's (and girl's) families to atleast think in this direction and discuss stuff on these lines, before & after marriage.

    Did not think you would be so polarly cynical of this initiative that you do not see the positive side of it at all... very unlike u!

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  12. I wrote a post on something similar - how the marriage market is unfair to women, my own experiences:
    http://blog.twilightfairy.in/2010/02/09/its-a-woe-mans-world/

    I've actually seen the kind of men ur cousin seems to have come across. Unfortunately I've seen such people in my own friends, classmates, guys who are very much well educated - who have these weird notions of a "wife".

    TOI's terms of marriage, though very utopian in theory, do sound like a solution to my woes!

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  13. ha ha ha

    you are funny...oops.. you have a good sense of humor :D

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  14. How ironic, long back u wrote against IIPM and today it figures in your Google ad sense and maybe you are making money out of it

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  15. This is the 'BCG' wing of TOI working to introduce new and revolutionary product for Gen Next...:)

    I am sure the copywriter either is an eskimo staying aloof from the world or is not married!! Otherwise, Whatever 'clauses' he has wrote wouldn't make sense to himself, let alone packaging it as a product...

    I am sure however 'modern' or 'forward' we become, we can't beat our parents when it comes to marriage matters (pre and post)...:)

    I am tempted to do a post on this...quite resonating with my blogs theme...
    My blog - www.sachinarya.wordpress.com

    Very nice post...as usual

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  16. An amazingly well written article. I totally agree with you metaphor about apples and oranges. Bookmarking your blog and will roam through other articles soon.

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  17. Well, rashmi..i agree to you fully on your comments...the apple's and oranges have to stay together in the same basket..with MUTUAL respect and enjoy each others fruitfulness...no contract, no agreement nor anything else can replace love and understanding between a couple..

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  18. Hi Rashmi,
    regarding your question: show me one female..., i guess you might not have heard of the species: Chinese Female Phds, and i am not joking, a lot of men who married them followed these species after they found a job irrespective of whether they could find a job or not, and they dont sacrifice their careers either for babies. may be your post is in the indian context, but its hard to generalize

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  19. Hmm,
    a very true and god one..

    But loved the marketing idea, how they are attracting in the name of equality....

    Hope, people use their common sense before going for this...

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  20. hi,
    Whenever there is some radical ideas take place there is bound to be different point of veiws. So, you cannot outright criticize TOI on that point. You may be right of marketing gimmicks but they are at least trying to shake us up from our stupor and urges us to trod on untrodden path......

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  21. I just think it is a matter of trust. A contract in a relationship kills the whole magic. What if you sign the contract and the man sleeps with other women and the wife raises objections, does it mean she is violating the clause that says personal preferences will be respected? It is a simple case of breach of trust. You cant dictate how you bond with your spouse with some random guidelines. Equality is a state of mind. I am all for women having the liberty to choose when to have her baby et al, I am just against this contract bit. If ToI cared so much for Gen Next it shoudl run a serious campaign around this..a la Teach India. This contract gimmick is too shallow.

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  22. One of the most unbelievable psycho crime drama of a vast nation wide crime syndicate is unfolding LIVE on this person's blog

    There are more than 100,000 members of india's real estate crime syndicate who are chasing one guy ( who is a graduate from India's Harvard......IIM) all over the country and it is happening LIVE on his blog ( http://truthbottle.blogspot.com) and twitter.....this is unebelievable and extra-ordinary\\\ These are gangsters belonging to the JD(s) factions who are using their loyalists in bangalore police to chase him and trap him

    EVerything is unfolding LIVE on
    http://truthbottle.blogspot.com

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  23. While we debate gender equality and reservation for women etc. there's a silent revolution happening in cyberspace. So long the view was that men shop and women cook. But, research says that more and more women are shopping online these days. And they are shopping increasingly for themselves. They no longer wait for their husbands to come home with a shopping bag with saree for her and dresses for the kids. She's come of age. She works. has her own credit card and does her own thing. No wonder then that there are stores that cater exclusively for women in cyberspace. Like www.oyegirl.com where they sell maternity wear, lingerie, apparel and accessories, shoes, bags and even nightwear. So, women can shop while they are at work and it's no more 'shopping to relive stress'. The worldwide web has already accepted gender equality. The customer is indeed Queen now!

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  24. One thing seams to be missing, "Couple 'll change the gender every 10 years"
    Good Post!

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  25. Many people hate the sugar, but in my case I love her, is the maximum, as I think when I buy viagra, I can miss my medication.

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  26. See that's why Laloo opposes women reservation bill. He knows very well that in India, if women get power they(women themselves) will not let women come up ahead - perfect example is the author of this post - Men will always have the last laugh hahahahahahaha hahahahahahaha

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  27. Why don't you accept you are not strong enough to stand females who dare to take a step ahead in making the world a better place to live and don't mind being tagged "selfish" if they start the move with their own marriage? And as regards the pun, it's good. I hope it applies more to you than to anybody else.
    Tc
    Sweta

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