Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 32, Tuesday March 21, 2006




Second marriage

The only light that illuminated the room was the beam of the full moon and a dim bulb lit in the corner. She sat in her armchair, tears rolling down her gently lined cheeks. I sat in silence on a small stool at her feet, just listening to the heart-rending tale of the almost-sixty lady (let's keep everybody's name and identity undisclosed).

She used to be quite attractive as a young woman, a sight for sore eyes, one might say. Though she was married at a young age, her marriage was one made in heaven, the kind you see in movies. The happiness did not last long, however and the beautiful princess lost her prince in a tragic accident and she had to say good-bye to happiness and hello to loneliness. She struggled hard to raise and educate her children and did everything she within her power to make them independent. She succeeded in doing so but at the cost of her youth, beauty, her strength and vitality. The lady became very lonely and started to feel the absence of a partner, a spouse, somebody special.

Today, she has nobody. Her children, family and friends have all abandoned her. Astonishingly, she blames herself for the situation. Why? Because, she had managed to fall in love and made the bold decision of remarrying. Sadly though, this husband of hers was nothing compared to the first one as things became bitter between them eventually resulting in a divorce.

In another similar situation, we come across a family at a funeral of a woman. All her children are gathered together. They were in a sombre mood, guilt written clearly on all of their faces. They started to discuss about how sad their mother's life had been and how much sadder they had managed to make it. In this case the children had finally accepted a step-father into the family, though only after the woman distributed all her property, assets and all the material goods she owned among her children. She remarried at the age of 50, a year or two after her former husband passed away. But this marriage wasn't a very happy one either.

I know another couple, a widow and a widower who remarried in their mid forties. Despite the disapproval of their children and relatives, they are quite a duo now. They have been married for more than three years. Both of them are working, and they have their own sets of offspring and have managed to be happy and keep everybody (their children and relatives I mean) else content as well. Yet they had to put in a lot of effort and hard work to reach the position they are in today. They faced a lot of objection and hostility from their parents (yes, at this age!) and children who were dead-set against the marriage at first but eventually had to give in. According to them, their love and commitment for each other has brought them into this peaceful and undisturbed condition.

Nowadays the taboo for remarriage among more mature people is slowly being broken. Sadly however, though some are blissful, most are struggles.

It is normally seen that in marriages of older ages, some spouses have the tendency to continuously compare their partner to the first one. They sometimes demand their partner to change and adopt traits of their previous husband or wife. Women folk have this tendency more than their male counterparts. Again, some couples adjust and alter their lifestyle to suit their other half. They take care of each other during sickness, stick to each other in sadness and are hell bent on making each others' lives happier and joyous. Once married they want to make their conjugal life as happy as possible and believe in the citation 'till death do us part'!

It may or may not work. The point to seriously ponder upon is that who are we as friends, relatives and most importantly children to judge and dictate to our parents on the issue of remarriage? To lose a partner can be very tragic. And if somebody does decide to tie the knot yet again is it proper for the offspring to decide whether the action is appropriate or not? It is seen that the children, especially sons, oppose vehemently if the single parent even shows an inclination towards remarriage. They fret on what the so called society would say.

There has been an instance where the son was worried that people would think he was incompetent at taking care of his mother and disapproved the idea of her getting married. He asked the widow to come and live with his family, take care of his children and the house while he and his wife went to work. A daughter deserted her mother after she remarried because her in-laws and relatives ridiculed her. A daughter-in-law and the son threatened to throw the father out of the house when he asked their permission to marry another lady. According to them the lady had seduced their father for the sake of property. Yes, property is another important issue, sometimes the only issue when children oppose and launch a combat against those parents who decide to remarry. In many instances children let their parents choose another partner after the will is made.

As children it is our duty and responsibility to take care of and honour our parents. We should try to understand their needs and requirements. Parents are human too; they need love and care, both mental and physical. Everybody needs a partner, especially when one tends to become old and nobody is old enough for love, sex or affection. Let us stop being judgmental. As children, let us not tell them what to do but listen to what they have to say.

Everybody deserves to be happy. Life knocks at our door only once. We have to learn to “ live life to the lees” - as Tennyson said, and let other people do so as well. Please learn to enjoy life and help everybody do so as well!

By Syeda Shamin Mortada

Random thoughts

Old Pictures

I am a pictures person. I take countless pictures, and I keep them safe. A picture takes me back, it is always associated with a story, a moment. A picture with my grandma in the kitchen, my wedding pictures when I say, “I do”, when I first hold my daughter in my arms. The feelings, the thoughts and those moments come alive for me.

That is the reason I brought only one picture of my family with me when I left home. I did not want to look at pictures and be sad. I did not want any distractions. I wanted to be strong.

Now that I am old, and have finished my goal, my purpose of the journey to the States, I wanted them. At times, I wanted to look at old pictures, I wanted to be a little girl on my Baba's lap, or to see that innocent smile on my face the bright eyes that wanted to see more, the hand that held my ammu's hand tight.

I did bring the pictures this time from Bangladesh. I put them in a safe bag and carried it all the way to my new home, welcomed them to my new life. I thought I was strong. May be I will not get all teary when I look at them. Nevertheless, every time I go through the pictures, my heart breaks. Some part of me wants to get in there. Some part of me goes back many years back, and memories gush out like warm blood, and I cry.

By Iffat Zia


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