A few years ago, I met a girl in my office. She was interning and I was heading the desk. She was smart, good with language, had a terrific sense of humour, and was pretty. She was in her early twenties. Because she was proficient and had a degree in journalism, my boss asked her to join the desk as a trainee. I used to talk to her a lot and not always about work.
Soon, I learned that she had a boyfriend. When I teased her about that, she would say that they were “on a break” like in the series, Friends, in which Ross and Rachel go on a break from their romantic relationship to preserve their friendship.
In the months that followed, we kept in touch and I would often ask her about her boyfriend. I realised it was an on-again-off again relationship that my friend didn’t want to take forward even though they had been intimate.
During the time she was there, she even started an affair with a married man not knowing he was married. Somehow, the winds had shifted around her foundation.
Why do I tell you this story? This is the template on which women often base their relationships. They may not marry men with whom they once were in love with . Or were intimate with. The modern woman craves for more.
Parents have little choice other than marrying their daughter to the man of her choice. My friend married a guy of her choice in a way they wanted to. The parents had no other option other than to bless the couple.
The latest trend is that women look all things their parents traditionally looked in a prospective groom and much more. My friend chose a guy who was close to her in age, dark and handsome, and was attuned to her temperament. Like the movie, O Kadhal Kanmani, my friend moved in with her boyfriend much before marriage. That she was bold enough to do that is a testimonial to her courage and others like her. She also waited, like many others like her, for her to be mature enough to live with her partner forever. But she made the choice to tie the knot mostly on her own.
The modern woman especially in cities doesn’t vote lest the government take over her duties..
There are 497 million women in India, which is 48% of the total population, according to the latest Census data. At least a few million must be calling the shots despite making bad decisions. This only makes them stronger.
My friend married and was divorced within a few months, much to my shock and dismay. From being an example to girls her age, she had, in a way, become a fallen angel.
I had a close friend in college while doing my bachelor’s degree in Nagercoil. She was romantically interested in me and I was not particularly keen. My friends used to tease me about her for hours together even as I tried to keep a straight face. I think I did underestimate her quite a bit. Recently, I saw her on social media and she was in the US happily married. She had made it in life in way I never would have imagined. She was sweet the same way she was in college. We were polite with each other and moved on.
Again, that is an example of a woman putting the pedal down on what she wanted. Even while coming from an ordinary family in Nagercoil, my friend had landed a life she most craved for. Well, time to say, congrats.
Nowadays, I shamelessly watch Romedy Now. I can’t say I hate all the movies. Some are particularly good and soul satisfying. I wish they served more of that fare.
I think of these friends while watching TV or taking a bath. They creep into my thoughts unbidden and stay there for an uncomfortable time. As much as I admire their roller-coaster of lives, it feels unseemly to be thinking about them, now that I am a husband and father. I mean for this post to be a tribute for all the strong women I have met in my life.
My mother was one. Soon after the birth of my brother, my mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease difficult to diagnose and nearly impossible to cure. My mom didn’t have much to hang on to. Her relationship with my dad, especially in the last few years of her life, was hard on her and him. Yet, she remained tough till her last breath. She died when she was 39. I don’t want to end this post without a mention of her. She was probably the strongest woman I know. She made sure that my brother and I turned out alright. My early childhood is strewn with happy incidents, which she stage managed. I do wish she was still around. She would have guided me in all my relationships with women, who were just like her. RIP, mom.