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     Volume 6 Issue 29 | July 27, 2007 |

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View from the Bottom

Of marriages and mirage

Shahnoor Wahid

Marriages are made in heaven and mortals down below try their best to break them. Some find marriage an avoidable nuisance and remain single. Many others marry with great fervour and remain unsure forever whether they are happy or not. Then there is that blessed few who consider marriage a bliss and make the most out of it.

There is an old adage that goes like this: Marriage is like Dillika luddoo, whether you have it or not you will regret anyway. It's a double-edged sword to some. Many cynics say that the word that is missing in the sentence 'To be or not to be' is 'married.' It would have been complete this way, 'To be married or not to be married that is the question'. They argue that after having a look around the present day modern society, Shakespeare would have added that word in the sentence.

No matter what, lesser mortals and the greater ones were always intrigued by the way the institution called 'marriage' worked, or did not work. This is how George Bernard Shaw looked at marriage. “Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who can't sleep with the window shut, and a woman who can't sleep with the window open.” But is it all about keeping the window open and shut? Maybe yes, maybe not. And Socrates said this centuries before Shaw: “My advice to you is get married: if you find a good wife you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher.” True to his words, my friend Wadud Chakladar always gets philosophical before his marriage, marriages rather, and he always makes a big show of it. He is at it again. Here is his story.

The other day Wadud Chakladar came to my office with a perturbed look on his face. He said he was looking for the right kind of a person to marry. Again?! I was aghast. Haven't you had enough? I shrieked. “No dear, I haven't met the right partner in my last four attempts. I am sure this time I'll meet her. She is there, somewhere, waiting for me, poor girl, I mean woman, how can I deny her the happiness she is entitled to in this world? I have to find her.” Wadud Chakladar looked pensively out the window. He always did so before his looming marriage.

“But this is your favourite line, Wadud! Haven't you said the same thing before? You have divorced them, rather they divorced you, for your erratic lifestyle, why do you want to drag another woman into your life? You are a difficult person to live with. You do not want to pay tips to waiters and try to steal forks before the eyes of your wives. Why shouldn't they run away?”

“Look, that is the point I am trying to make. Those women could not help me change my lifestyle. They failed in their sacred duty.” I lost my temper.

“You call changing your lifestyle a sacred duty? Give me a break, Wadud. It is you who should change so that you can have a marriage going.” Saying this I literally threw him out of my office.

After his departure I sat down to mull over a bit. It was easy to see that marriage never works for the wrong kind of guys, or it can be said that the wrong kind of guys can never make their marriage work. And after spending a couple of turbulent years with them, their wives make good their escape with whatever money and jewellery they can lay their hands on. In such cases, the wives come out rich and wise. Next time they look for the worst kind of guys so that they may get even richer.

Writers fill up most of the space in the list of such wrong guys. They can always write great novels about a whirlpoolish romance culminating into raising a happy family, but they themselves are unpredictable as lovers, untrustworthy as husbands and failures as fathers. Fidelity is a word not to be found in the dictionary of such writers. Marriage and mirage are synonymous words in their thesaurus.

And yet, despite all the chances of making a mess of it, strange people, truly strangers at times, do fall in love and plunge into marriage. Psychologists couldn't fathom their minds as to what makes a stranger take the decision to marry another within a week after meeting. The latest case in question is the marriage of Osama Bin Laden's young son marrying a fifty-plus British lady. Will it work? Keep your fingers crossed.



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