Thursday, December 13, 2012

Marriage

Wake me up when December ends!

Yes, I know the song says September, but I'm honestly dreading December. I know December usually means Christmas, presents, parties, New Years, and more partying! So you're probably wondering what's to dread.

 In India, December brings with it the onslaught of the wedding season.  And honestly I don’t like weddings, they make me feel old and too many people ask me when I plan to get married.

Now one of the very few advantages of being the eldest grandchild/child/cousin is that people rarely tell you what to do, maybe they would do it more often but they’re all scared of my reaction, I’m not exactly known for my polite, diplomatic refusals to do things and I AM known for my complete inability to care about people I don’t like.

So it came as something of a surprise to me the other day when my grandmother (Bengali side) told me I should get married. 

You see almost everyone who knows me agrees that my marriage (always assuming I could find someone insane enough to marry me) would be a bad idea – I have so many bad habits! The drinking and the overeating can be taken as read of course but then there is also my large assorted collection of friends who show up at odd hours, not exactly the cornerstone of a stable relationship, let alone marriage.

I managed to convince my grandmother that I would be unfaithful (a lie) and that I enjoyed being single (the truth. Kinda) and then moved on to concoct a fictional girlfriend who was half Muslim and half Nepali (she detests both, the racist) 
By the time I was done she was begging me to do nothing rash and trying desperately to find out if I was a) sleeping with my girlfriend and b) using protection. Perhaps unwisely I reassured her on both points; she seemed somewhat perturbed when I left.

This brings to mind another story, many years ago when I was at the same grandmother’s house I was getting ready to go for a party with a friend. My friend (just friend thankyouverymuch) was helping me roll up my sleeves when my grandmother (bless her) walked in on this cozy domestic scene, did a double take and asked me when I was coming home and did not seem to happy when I told her I wasn’t.

This might have had something to do with the fact that my friend was wearing a halter and a mini skirt but I wouldn’t want to be judgmental about my own grandmother. Although it is worthwhile to point out that I came to her house a week later with two friends who were helping me on a college project (by helping I mean they were doing it and I was providing my grandmothers printer) and she welcomed them like they were long lost children. Again, I don’t want to be judgmental but it might have had something to do with the fact that they were both in salwars.

Weddings by themselves are not that despicable. I mean they have really amazingly delicious food and free alcohol (No wedding crashers was fantasy, don’t try that in India). What I despise is the very idea of marriage. It all seems so sad for me, why do you want to get married? So you can have sex without old aunties judging you? They’ll judge you anyway. Financial security? Get a JOB. Emotional security? Friends are all the security you'll ever need.

Two people, who love each other, should get married. But how often do people marry for love? The first reason you should get married is so often the last reason people in India get married. The pressure starts young, for girls their parents start saving things for them from the time they're born.

I don’t like change, and marriage invariably changes things, if I like you enough I might make friends with your fiancĂ©; I might even show up sober for your wedding. But what happens after that?

The happy couple becomes just that, you have an extra person at group dinners, late nights just won’t happen and you can forget about sleepovers. If that’s a part of growing up I think I can do without it.

OR

You could make an effort, you could try and make it work, you could accept the fact that your extended family just got a little bit bigger. And you can accept that, while everything changes, it’s how we react to change that defines happy endings.