Sunday, May 15, 2022

Moonstruck with Matrimony

Whenever I have a column due, I start thinking deeply about life and its many issues. For instance, I have never been able to figure out why people are so enamoured with the antiquated if anodyne institution of marriage. Of course, the rewards and incentives are many for those who wed and stay that way thereby ensuring that society as we know it does not fall apart.

 After all, no government wants to be saddled with the responsibility of raising children from broken homes, providing economic support for recently divorced women who have no accommodation in the job market, or supplying medical care for former spouses who have nobody to foot the bill. And heaven forbid the supposed suicide risk posed by the Lonely-Hearts Club makes the government look bad for not caring in the least about mental health. Never mind, that married folks pose a similar threat though they are more likely to kill each other rather than themselves. 

 It also has to be conceded that in the rarest of rare instances that marriage actually works it is truly a many splendored thing which is a bulletproof cocoon that provides safety, security, a sense of belonging, and that invaluable feeling of being loved and cherished. Yet, by that logic, though the Stoics swore that a good King was the best form of government and we know the ancient Greeks knew what they were talking about, none of us have the least inclination to trade democracy for that elusive creature - the perfect monarch! Further, since a majority of married folks are every bit as unhappy if not more so than their unmarried counterparts, one wonders why wedlock is still considered the most desirable relationship goal.
So why is marriage idealized to such a degree? Why are we filled to the brim with outsize romantic notions when Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif tie the knot? The latter is being lauded for finding and landing her Mr. Right even though I maintain that her greatest achievement is earning the right to call herself an actor even though she can’t act and couldn’t manage the feat even at gunpoint. And while my social media feeds are gushing that the duo are the very picture of the fruition of couple goals, I maintain that they are a textbook example of a long line of power couples who have used their relationship for monetary gain while making it all look lovey-dovey. 

In light of the unlimited foolishness on display one can only hope that someday, we will be committed to knocking down outdated institutions instead of cementing them further simply because we have been stuffed to the gills with fairy tales that have conditioned us to erroneously equate a happily – ever after with marriage. 

 This column originally appeared in The New Indian Express

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