Understanding Marriage And Parenting As Choices (Part 1)

Disclaimer: I am not a fan of marriages or contributing to the population charts. If you have participated in such events that involve governmental agreement of your relation and childcare expenses, I’m happy for you. I totally understand that it is a beautiful experience for many and a celebration of their love. However, I’m not here to weigh the pros and cons of marriage and parenting. I’m here to convey that it is simply a choice, and we should leave it at that.

Understanding Marriage And Parenting As Choices (Part 1)

Is It Love If Marriage Is Not Involved?

What constitutes a “legitimate relation”? The lovey-dovey PDA? Vowing to get married in the near future? Making precisely two pillers, and addressing the ones thereafter as “vazha vecha mathiyayirunu”?

I believe nobody else has to decide if a relationship is serious other than the people involved in it. It is serious enough if those involved are absolutely into each other. Validating this relation with an astrologer’s kabadi nerathals or a veetukaar-approved marriage doesn’t really count for me. All is good in the hood if couples get married, and equally good if they choose to never get married.

But it’s never that simple, is it? From the very moment we are born, we’re contagiously passed down the socially acceptable ‘Guide to Living’. “Study, get a degree, job, marriage, children, and everything after would be ‘Happily ever after’ (naatukaar, et al., 420 BC {Before Choroonu}).

Little did we know that happily ever after never came with the same guide for everyone. For many, getting a job they didn’t hate was their happiness. For others, getting a sugar daddy/mummy was the ultimate happiness. In terms of marriage and parenting, it’s not something that’s everyone’s cup of chaaya.

Source: Tenor

“Personal Aayit Parayuva”

Taking myself as an example – I’m totally incapable (disastrous) of handling a partner and mini version(s) of myself. Suggesting “kalyanam kazhich pillere undakk” to me, feels like a cringe post I would be pressured to put on Facebook by including 69+ others.

Again, this is where many would contradict me, and understandably so. Those who grew up watching loving marriages and happy couples have a higher chance of trusting the social convention of marriage. Those raised in broken marriages or dysfunctional families were just glad they survived so far. For the latter, marriage would either be an escape plan, a medical miracle, or simply the last thing on their minds.

Fueled by survival mode and powered by my tragic comedies, I am lucky enough to love someone without traumatizing them. So, marriage is not an obvious next stage for me like it could be for many, and I respectfully would stab anyone who suggests both concepts to sustain relationships.

Must Read: The Toxicity Encountered During The Arranged Marriage Search Period

Is It All “Modern Thinking” And “Feminichi Talks”?

For those still debating marriage and procreation as an essential human nature, let’s take a walk back in history. The social institution has existed for centuries, and its evolution is interesting to study. Funnily, “marriages” in ancient times had absolutely nothing to do with “Love”. It started as an economic liaison and became a method to protect bloodlines, property rights, and whatnots. In fact, the people involved in the wedlock had very little say in the deal.

In many communities, marriages were the guarantee card that one man’s children were truly his biological heir. An article by The Week noted how the Greek ceremonies would have the father announcing,I pledge my daughter for the purpose of producing legitimate offspring.”

In this era, I believe people have progressed enough to make children without pledging anybody’s anything. Pillere undakkan kettanam enn polum illa.

(Testing such dialogues at home could subject to injuries from kathi, pappadam kuthi, etc.)

Understanding Marriage And Parenting As Choices (Part 1)

For those claiming the idea of choice to be “modern thinking” or “feminichi talks”, we can continue to walk through the funny traditions of marriage. Ancient Hebrews were a ‘progressive’ bunch that considered their men “free” to take as many wives as they wished. Married Greeks and Romans were “free” to satisfy their sexual needs through prostitutes, teenage male lovers, etc. The cherry on top is – while the man is hoe-ing around, if the wife fails to reproduce his child, the hoe-sband can exchange her for another reproducer.

It took the Roman Catholic Church, the romantic era, feminist waves, and other historical events to transform marriages from this stage dramatically. There were attempts to add moral and legal elements into marriages. And gradually, the idea of “love” also appeared in marital agreements.

Check it out: 8 Questions To Ask Your Groom Before Saying Yes To An Arranged Marriage

Indian History For Those Against Western Thinking

In India, marriage was associated with religion and lineage more than anything else. It grew on to become a key affair in establishing naatukaarde affairs. Among the wide variety of wedding systems, our history celebrates the beautiful ideas of Swayamvara and Gandharva marriages.

The first one, rooted in mythology, gave the bride some autonomy to choose a suitable groom. In Gandharva marriages, couples would live together based on mutual consent. The couples observed no rituals and founded their relationship upon their attraction and respect for each other—the classic Shakuntala and Dushyantan mode of living.

Understanding Marriage And Parenting As Choices (Part 1)

Of course, there was a good share of regressive Indian wedding systems that balanced out a decent love affair as well. The social convention continues to be tweaked conveniently through the ages. And with it fluctuates, the idea of choice. So, while we still have many proudly single, divorced, living together couples, it still weirds out people not to be legally bound to a person.

If you are among those who have this social itch to ask people

“Why aren’t you getting married?”, “Who are you going to marry?”, “Will you ever marry?”

Just ask yourself,
1) Does it really affect you?
2) Do you not have anything relevant to talk about?
3) Deep down, is it just a Kalyana sadya or reception biryani that you truly want?
Hint: None of the answers to these questions is a marriage.

This is the two cents that I present to you this chinga maasam. You have till the end of this malayala maasam to bring in your arguments and comments, after which it will be a new month, new me. Bye bye.

Interesting Read: Would You Marry A Woman Older Than You?

Laxmi Mohan
Talks about everything from pazhampori to aanavakaraar charcha. But absolutely sucks at writing bios.

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