Tuesday, September 14, 2010

To do or not to do

Once bitten, twice shy, they say. Not me, I mused ruefully. But then the common proverbs and the social rules don’t apply to me, do they? I have been different. It is within. What I am to the world is not what I am to myself. Why is there this paradox in my existence? Sometimes I want to be myself the way I am to myself, always. It is not hypocrisy, again. It is living wisely. What hurts is not the constant existence in the paradox, as that is part of my nature, my character and my being now. Rather, what hurts is the need to have a paradox. The ways of the world, the absurdities in the world, the contradictions, the ignorance, the pressures, the living between all of these and knowing that nothing will change, no matter how much I rebel.

Hope is a dicey word, someone told me once. It is, indeed. It is the diciest thing one could hang on to. It reminds me of Yudhisthira’s answer to the Yaksha’s question: ‘What is it to wonder?’, to which Yudhisthira answered, that just like the moth flutters around in glee and excitement, at the sheer happiness of being alive, knowing all the while that it’s life will not last more than a minute, we humans too, know well, albeit deep within, that all is temporary, all will end, and that there will be a day that will be our last, yet we live each minute thinking and hoping that day will never come. Death indeed is the greatest wonder. We know not whether this is our last sunrise or the final dinner, though we know well that there will be that one last sunrise in the end. Yet, we live like there is no such day and no such word as ‘last’. We hope.

The issue of marriage has been placed before me as frequently as it would have been before any 24 year old, unmarried, temporarily unemployed, non-engineer, non-doctor, Malayali girl. Though I admit that marriage is not an option I won’t consider, I cannot help wonder why I need someone with me to complete me. Or do I really need someone at all? Why is it that when someone has lived a life for 25 years with a unit that one was born into, one’s own immediate family, one’s parents, who do indeed complete her, then why is it really required to marry on the grounds that your partner completes you? That strikes off Reason 1, marriage does NOT complete either of the two partners. If at all it does something, after a point of time it leaves you feeling more incomplete than you might have felt before you were married. Reason 2- it is the normal course of life.

I have been told it paves the path for a meaningful life. That I must not comment on its significance as it would prove my own ignorance, simply because this is the most normal course of life. Even if I may agree with the former part of the sentence about my ignorance, I would strongly differ with the latter part about marriage being the normal course of life. Leading a meaningful life has nothing to do with marriage. A married life can be made meaningful, no doubt. But whether life in itself becomes meaningful with marriage is something that can be extensively debated. The ability to make one’s life meaningful lies in one’s own self, and not in an agent like marriage. Marriage is only one of the ways of making it meaningful. The only reason it can create a sort of balance within you is in the constant knowledge at the back of your mind that you are living with someone 24 hours a day, 365 days a week, someone absolutely different from you, with a completely different upbringing from yours, with a totally different value system from yours. Yes, it does create a balance in you. And how it does so is by helping you keep your ego down by one degree with each passing day, each struggle and each conflict that both the parties face with each other, only to teach you at the end of the whole journey how meaningful a life it was, or could have been.

The struggle is on, for a more meaningful life. At the end of the day, I guess, its not just the end that matters, but also the means you choose to reach that end. Where does it all lead, I wonder sometimes. I know not much. I know I know not much. But I know it will all be worth it in the end.


  1. Is marriage necessary for a 24 year old non-doctor non-engineer, temp unemployed Malayali girl? I don't know...I think why our well- wishers want to get us married by a certain age is that this is the easier option and they want to make life easy for us. The other option, to stay single and find a meaning for life is the more difficult one. Personal opinion though..

  2. It might be an easier option, I agree. But it doesnt make life any easier. I'm quite sure. What matters is what you hold on to, whether you're married or not. So the focus basically should be on WHY you want to get married, and THEN whether you want to get married or not. The idea is to not just flow with the river, but to be aware at the same time that the river is deep, there are rocks here and there, so you will get hurt. you cannot escape. The river will take you with it. Only, there is always something that keeps you from drowning.