Companionship

The very first time in my life I reflected on companionship was when the news of Prince Charles marrying Camilla Parker hit the world. I know it sounds like an unusual example in the given context, but I learnt a very important lesson then.

It so happened that someone in my family happened to mock over the fact that Prince of Wales had decided to marry Camilla Parker at such an age when getting married didn’t sound to make any sense. I do not remember the exact conversation that took place but I vividly remember my mum talking about their marriage being more for companionship (given their age and circumstances) rather than for any other purpose.

The phrase getting married for companionship literally stuck to my mind. Soon after, I moved abroad and on many occasions I was seen quoting this very example to explain the basis of a marriage in the later years of life. At that point of time I had no clue that someday this very topic shall raise its head again and my well rehearsed lesson will help me see sense out of inane banter.

Irrespective of all the setbacks I have suffered in my married life, I still believe in the institution of marriage and hold nothing against the very idea of re-marriage. This post isn’t about my re-marriage. It so happened that a friend (whom I met through the online support groups), let’s name her Archana* is going through a very difficult divorce with custody battle for her little daughter. She is facing strong pressure on part of her family to either reconcile with her (soon-to-be-an-ex) husband or agree to remarry as soon as possible.

Archana’s difficult position left me thinking as to why our society believes that every single male or female needs to get married/ re-married at the first available opportunity. Be it in the name of providing a second parent to your child or in the garb of providing social security, re-marriages are so often forced upon people who have lost their spouse cause of any reason (be it death or divorce).

I have no problems with the idea of re-marrying, but, I believe one needs to give oneself time to heal. Time to learn from past mistakes and then move on to making any commitment. It’s a very sorry state to be in where you have not yet dealt with the baggage you’ve brought out of your earlier marriage, haven’t resolved all issues associated with your past and decide to plunge in another relationship.

As our conversation rolled on she confided in me the real point of her worry. Archana isn’t against re-marrying and has infact given her consent to her family that she’ll be happy to go ahead with a relationship. Her family in turn have advertised in the matrimonial columns of all leading newspapers and a couple of popular matrimonial websites.

Besides, the usual issues involved in arranged marriage set-up a peculiar (in my opinion) issue that is being raised constantly is most prospective grooms (divorcee/ widowers) turn down the proposal when they learn that she has a daughter. The problem isn’t in her having a child from her past marriage, but that she has a daughter and not a son. The second and major one being, the prospective grooms expect her parents to take care of her daughter as a pre-requisite of marrying her.

I was angry and shocked beyond words on learning that. I mean, which mother would want to marry such a man who isn’t ready to take care of her child and puts this as his first condition of going ahead with the proposal. I believe people have gone out of their minds and have lost all understanding of basic human values and the very essence of marriage.

When I was wondering her family would have punched such prospective grooms in their nose, came the biggest shock for me. She told me her parents have agreed to take care of her daughter to let her have a socially secure life.

My brain stopped working at that point. I had no words left to express my thoughts and to be honest I really had no clue as to how to react to all this. I don’t know what such people actually mean by getting married in the first place and I am pretty confident that companionship, love and mutual respect have no place in such people’s minds or in their vision of married life.

I have gradually stopped indulging in such debates, for I feel I don’t agree with anything that people who advocate re-marriages think in the first place. I sincerely hope, better sense prevails in Archana’s family and herself and they begin to think and behave like normal people should in their circumstances.

* Name changed to protect identity.

The song on my mind: Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye ~ Pyasa

46 thoughts on “Companionship

    1. The right or wrong answers depends on what is your vision of your life and how you see the institution of marriage. I do not see any sensible logic behind my friend’s decisions even though she might be quite satisfied in the set up.

      Like

  1. I have to say I am not shocked to hear about your friend. Despite all the education and high-society thinking, there is still a huge bias that prevails against daughters. No one wants to bear anyother person’s daughter. If you look at adoption, then u will be shocked at the number of boys getting adopted vis-a-vis girls! The problem runs deep and is prevelant everywhere!

    Like

    1. I agree Nova but in my friends case the gender bias has stepped up. Here the situation is avoidable. Archana and her family can choose to not indulge in people who think this way, but since she is determined to play with fire I really have no way of putting sense in her.

      Like

  2. I feel very sorry for Archana. That prospective groom is very selfish. Archana’s parents need some education. Once you are divorced, companionship is ok. But it should not be an “arranged” companionship. In my opinion, age does not matter. Age is only a number.

    Like

  3. bu*****it is the word I uttered on reading this post.. sorry about that but can’t control the anger.. I only hope Archana stays strong and takes a better decision, hope and pray that she should not get influenced by the talk of her so called well wishers around.. hugs to her..

    Like

  4. You write so well ME, so easy to comprehend, so seamlessly, words just going with the flow.

    I understand what you mentioned, I think it is only the individual who can help herself, how on earth could anybody want to separate a mother and a child for a happy (?) union. And the thing you said about her daughter being a problem and not a son is so unnerving. I hope she gets strength to pass through this phase.

    Like

    1. Thank you Jazz.
      Seriously, if we try to look at the situation from her little daughter’s perspective I think we can see it well how much wrong she is being forced into for no mistake on her part. It’s a very sad state of affairs.

      Like

  5. I agree with you…why would anyone want to marry someone who doesn’t accept their child? Especially because of the child’s gender. It tells you about the person’s values and morals straightaway. It’s hard to constantly keep debating trying to get some sense into people with this kind of mentality.

    Like

    1. Seriously, people can be selfish but are sometimes shockingly disgusting to say such hurtful words and even manage to get away with full support from the people being hurt 😦

      Like

  6. That is so sad! It is beyond my understanding how people can equate just being married with ‘security’. As you say, a man who refuses to accept his future wife’s daughter – how, how, how can a woman be expected to be happy with him. As far as I am concerned, an attitude like this would be the cue to run – run as fast as possible from a person who can think like this…

    Like

    1. I agree Smitha, that’s exactly what I told her that this kind of arrangement makes no sense at all for such a relationship has no future leave alone the idea of any kind of security. I can only pray that she takes the right decision.

      Like

  7. You know it was only a few weeks back that I got to know about a classmate from school getting remarried to this wonderful person who married her and adopted her daughter as well.

    And then I read this post of yours which again makes me wonder about the strange ways of our society 😦

    To share the story of this friend, she was married to a very dear friend of mine, another classmate about 12years back. She gave birth to a daughter soon..but as it happens many times, life played a very cruel joke on my couple-friends..the boy was one of the casualties in the Sarojini Nagar blast that shook Delhi years ago. He had gone there to shop for his new-born daughter and his wife who were in Kerala, waiting for him! Cant even bear to imagine the kind of trauma and anguish she must have felt then!

    It would have taken a lot of courage and strength for her to come to terms with the tragic situation, but she never gave up. She chose to pick herself up and rebuild a life for herself and her daughter. And after all these years when I came to know that she was willing to get married again and even found the right person, I couldnt help but say a little prayer for her and her daughter.

    I hope and pray that life would be fair and just to her and her family this time around.

    And I hope every girl is given a chance to pick herself up and make a life of her own without having to resign herself to the societal pressure!

    High time our society grew up!

    Like

    1. “And I hope every girl is given a chance to pick herself up and make a life of her own without having to resign herself to the societal pressure!” Amen.
      I am so happy to hear about friend, I sincerely hope Archana too makes the right choice.

      Like

  8. I am not surprised. I’ve seen this attitude quite a lot. Especially since the girl child is burden, it is seen as gracious enough that the ‘groom’ chose to marry the girl. Daughter? What daughter? That’s the grandparents’ responsibility! Or so the dictum goes!

    I’ve always maintained that one should enter into marriage when one is mentally and emotionally ready for it, not just physically mature enough! I lost my grandfather in 2009 and for me that was a huge emotional upheaval. My folks were on the hunt for a groom for me and I simply said no. Marriage requires investment of thought, time and emotions….and I simply did not have the energy to think about another huge change in life at that point. I needed time to heal. But not everybody understood why. The void left by a grandfather cannot be filled by a husband! Those are two different things altogether, and I needed to absorb the change instead of walking into another change in life with excess emotional baggage!
    Took almost 2 years for me to settle down and get married. Still do not regret the time lapse. 🙂

    Like

    1. You made the right choices Ash, a very matured one.
      It takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and your beliefs and am glad you did so. I totally agree with you on being fully prepared for a marriage before jumping into any form of commitment.
      Hugs dear

      Like

  9. agreed.. why people should impose on marriage or re-marriage.. and in archana’s case i see that there is no benefit , as in she would walk into new relation without her daughter… then what is the need to fight for custody?? dont know wat else to say??

    Like

    1. Well the fight for custody is to keep her daughter away from the violent father, besides Archana feels leaving her daughters in the guardianship of her parents will give her daughter a safe and sound upbringing. But what she is failing to see is that her daughter needs to have her by her side after already losing her father owing to their divorce. I feel so sad when I see Archana dis-regarding the needs of her little daughter.

      Like

  10. This story isn’t surprising, and I have, over the years, heard of similar stories but mainly in South Asia. I also think, to some extent, that there are those who are the opposite to people in your story – but in this case, it is saddening that this individual is forced to break away from one family to start another one.

    Like

    1. I understand that life forces people into many difficult situations, but in this particular case the one person who needs maximum security and concern for her future is not Archana but her little daughter. Afterall the whole life of a baby is dependent on Archana’s one decision.

      Like

  11. It is Indian mentality that getting married and staying married is the only way you to happiness. Not just that many a times people think the guy is doing a girl a favor by getting married to me. This concept baffles me! Some follow their heart and lead life on their terms (this comes with a price of being labeled arrogant and unreasonable) and some succumb to pressure.

    God bless your friend. Like you said may better sense prevail!

    Like

    1. Exactly metherebel, here too Archana’s parents are considering it a huge favor on their daughter that any man is ready to marry a girl with a child from her past marriage.
      We can only pray and hope for the best after having tried to put some sense in her.

      Like

      1. pkj

        According to me these situation may come in case of boys & girl both.Archana should think again and again,Doughter or son is hers responsibility not their nana,nani,dada,,dadietc.If that boy don’t take all responsibility of. Archana then he has no right to marry her.InThis case archana should also take care of her doughter first then herself.No matter what others say.

        Like

        1. I agree pkj, her daughter is her responsibility for the little kid is totally dependent on her mother. Besides, what sense does it make to get married to a man who has no regard let alone care or love for your child.

          Like

  12. American Woman

    For me, the words, “social security” popped out. The idea that this lady is perfectly okay in giving up her daughter in order to survive in the society is sick and sad. Happened to a friend (Indian) of mine. Her little girl will have some emotional issues because of this. She may forgive her mom, but the issues will be there.

    Like

  13. You know I have read in a lot of places that Camilla was infact the first love of Prince Charles. But he wasn’t allowed to marry her, the Queen didn’t allow. This is why he was so determined to let William marry Kate even when she wasn’t a royalty.

    And about re-marriage, she should totally have her own call but I also can’t really go against her family. I mean they are only worried about her. One of my cousin’s husband died last January, she had a 6 month old told. Her family confirmed her re marriage in may, and she is getting married in November. It only got late because the guy was also going through a divorce and it just got finalized. I have met him and he’s really great, he has no problem at all with her daughter in fact he’s elated ! I think her family did the right thing here because it would have got even more tougher as the girl grew up. She’s so small, she probably wouldn’t even remember her real father or the bad phase they had to go through.

    Like

    1. The Queen too has been just like Indian parents are. Deciding whom their children should marry so that the royal family is never looked down upon, irrespective of whom the royal children want as their partners.
      I am so happy for your cousin to have found the right partner after the very tragic loss of her husband. I agree it’ll be wonderful for her little daughter too.

      Like

  14. I really hate this gender inequality…I think the main reason for not accepting the girl child might be because the prospective ‘grooms’ might be scared of taking the ‘burden’ of a girl child’s education and marriage. People never change how much ever educated they are.

    Like

    1. Exactly Tan. This deep rooted gender bias in our society has literally killed our sensible thinking. Just like Archana’s parents aren’t upset by the demands of the prospective groom, instead feel grateful to him for accepting their daughter who has a child as his wife.
      Education doesn’t change people’s beliefs till their own human values aren’t alive and functional.

      Like

  15. This post made me incredibly sad. And this line of yours ” I believe people have gone out of their minds and have lost all understanding of basic human values and the very essence of marriage.” – I can’t agree more.

    Like

  16. Dil On The Rocks

    Thats really sad. I can never forget a frnd saying that she doesnt want a daughter, because she doesn’t want her kid to have the same life as her. Feel bad. Hope your frnd makes the right decision.

    Like

  17. I am very very happy to know that you are open to the idea of re-marriage. Love you ME 🙂
    Am at loss of words to say about Archana. Why is she making things difficult for herself. I wish she not be so submissive and have that confidence in herself that she can lead an independent life taking caring of her child.

    I would like to share one good incident here. In our neighbourhood a couple of years ago, a man succumbed to swine flu. He was survived by his wife and 2 month old daughter. After 6 months, the inlaws remarried their daughter-in-law to a widower with a 4 year old son. I do not know if they had it easy in this case, but still it made all of us happy to see the little baby get a father.

    Like

    1. Offcourse it was a wonderful thing to do by the in-laws considering the DIL considered the man to be a good match. There is nothing wrong in moving on in life and trying a second chance at love and happiness for you won’t find it till you look for it.
      Love you sweety 🙂

      Like

  18. This is so absurd. How can someone separate a mother from her daughter like this? Why mother and her parents have to agree to this. All this shows how rotten our society is.
    I sincerely hope that this mindset changes for better…

    Like

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s