As I sat watching TV one lazy evening, Melania Trump, the first Lady of the US, occupied TV screens across all channels. Looking resplendent and graceful in her elegant Herve Pierre off white gown she made news as she hosted her first official White House Governor’s ball. She and the President make quite an unlikely couple and yet look very comfortable together. A thought just crossed my mind, could we in India accept this couple for our Prime Minister and his official spouse? No I’m not referring here to his policies, his hate filled and racism fuelling speeches, his political acumen, his vision or the complete lack of it. We have very convincingly shown our preference for one such gentleman with traits not so different from Mr Trump. Neither am I referring to his wife, her beauty or her goof ups. What I’m referring to here is their marriage. Could we here in India accept a Prime Minister around the same age as Mr Trump and his much younger third wife.
We Indians marry once for a lifetime. Why! we marry for the next 6 lives too. Ours is a ‘Saat Janamo ka Saath’. Whether we are compatible or whether we can put up with each other for that long is an entirely different issue. We fast on Karva Chauth for the entire day to book this same man for the next ‘Saat Janam’ ( including this one or excluding I’m not sure) But what we entirely overlook is that ‘Bechara’ man’s point of view. His written consent is warranted, mandatory actually before we lock this poor guy up for that long.
This brings me to an important question, of broken marriages or remarriages, what happens to those wasted Karva Chauths that happened before the separation? The Gods holding the marriage portfolio must have tough time arbitrating such complicated cases. To give, the same husband or not to give, which husband must be his question.
I once asked my husband, that would he try his hand at a second marriage ? And for the first time in my life he came across to me as a very wise guy. He said ‘ Have you heard a thing called Once bitten twice shy . Doodh ka jala to chass bhi founk founk ke peeta hai. And waise bhi we had vowed to remain married until death or Divorce do us apart and I don’t see any opportunity coming my way in the near future. I’m simply not lucky enough’.
‘Neither am I’, I muttered under my breath.
But if such a calamity does befall upon one, the woman ends up being a public property. She becomes an object of speculation or sympathy (mostly false) or both. A few go the extent of shamelessly and rather brazenly making their not so noble intentions quite evident right from the beginning. More often than not, these are not serious suitors but are actually just looking out for some action on the sidelines.
And as for the man, if he has the right credentials (read looks, fame and bank balance, though not necessarily in that order) then well meaning friends and relatives just drop in to say hello, with either a cousin or a sali in toe. The mothers, masis and buas out of serious concern for the newfound bachelorhood, give subtle and often not so subtle hints about this perfect girl (not woman) who’s just right. And finally saddened by the grief of separation this man bows down to pressure, mounts the ghodi again and moves on in life.
But a woman remarrying for stability or love, she gets labeled as an opportunist or a gold digger, looking out for greener pastures. I don’t mean to trivialize a serious issue, but recently I feel we have become very sensitive and edgy. We react and most of the times overreact to things. We are more concerned about the public opinion, Log kya kahenge, then our own wellbeing. We just prefer to forget that marriage isn’t just about hopping from one marital bed to another, it’s also about warmth and companionship that a relation has to offer. At a stage in life where all the worldly frontiers have been conquered, the birds who have long inhabitated our branches fly off to southern shores leaving our nests empty, we need a soul to relate to, a companion to share the dark hours and dispell the gloom.
India I feel is the Hypocrisy capital of the world. Where on one hand we worship a polygamous deity on the other hand we are absolutely uncomfortable about such relations in real life. We made our displeasure very clear on Social Media when this very senior politician after the sad demise of his wife chose to remarry a woman half his age. We literally and virtually battered him blue using the filthiest of comparisons and at the same time we applaud this another gentleman who chose to abandon his wife on the wedding day itself.
We need to recalibrate our moral compasses and reinvent our attitude towards the choices our loved ones. We need to learn to be more accomodative and accepting in our relationships and more importantly we need to stop judging people on the scale of moral stereotypes.
But the question still remains. Do we accept Donald Trump and Melania Trump to represent us with Our Sanskriti, Our Sabhyata and Our Garima.