Our decisions cling to us, we have to live with some of them all our life. We might live in the shadow of regret because we didn’t have the maturity to ponder. We didn’t have the guts to speak up, to express our resentment, to rise against what appeared to be a wrong decision.
What if a parent or sibling makes those life-changing decisions?
What if they were made under societal pressures or moral bindings?
What if they are seen to be quite right by everybody around us?
All these questions didn’t crop up when I married at 23 (actually 22+) and it happened to be a happy marriage.
Thankfully, I have lived by that decision without any regrets.
I am not alone!
I know many girls marry at this age, out of choice. But the million-dollar question is: Are they enlightened enough to gather the import of such a decision?
When there is an unwritten decree that you have to marry when you are asked to just because it is convenient for the people around you, when the society values your muteness at such decisions, when you are expected to concur with what your near and dear ones decide for you, when you don’t want to displease them…do you have any choice?
In many cases that decision may turn you into a puppet, a slave, a housemaid, a sex symbol, a money-churning machine – who cares? You are seen as respectfully, happily married woman!
Now many such questions stare at me and I realize how simple, how immature and young I was at that time.
I couldn’t even understand that I was abdicating my dream, my aspiration.
I was told that I could still pursue it. I just chose to forget it but that is another story!
I was told that everybody must settle down. I could hardly fathom the depth of those words.
Did I have a choice? I was not expected to question or even see the man I was supposed to marry though I did raise some queries and insisted on meeting him at least once.
It is another matter that I met a kind and understanding man.
All those who are married off like this are not that lucky.
Those were probably primitive times…we didn’t have any Google to ask all those questions. We just had a radio and a gramophone, which sang away to glory and who was interested in the news that women had been granted equal status, that they too could claim their rights!?
Nothing has changed in this technology driven, digital world.
The unwritten diktats of the society follow young, naïve girls to their grave.
Younger brides can be easily molded, that is the belief. They can’t wield much power and will-power, this weakness can be easily exploited.
I didn’t have the power or the authority; they too face the same scenario.
The patriarchal societies are driven by the same age-old traditions of marrying a young girl, demanding (or expecting) dowry and considering the wife as a personal property.
My own niece met with the same fate and I couldn’t do anything! Isn’t it strange? But she chose to divorce!
She could only do so when the choice lay in her on hands and I appreciate her bold step.
I am not shifting any blame.
I could have also made a wrong decision. Many people do so.
I am only trying to understand how much has our society evolved. How much freedom have we attained and who have actually got that freedom?
At the same time, I am awe struck at the wrong decisions made in the western world, where dating at teenage endows them with too much of freedom.
They have all the choices!
We all make wrong decisions but when we make them ourselves, we move on, thinking it was a bad dream, a little mistake, and an aberration.
How long will the societal oppressions keep demanding the sacrifices of young, innocent girls? How long would their ambitions be thwarted by the biased demands of the culture and the dogmas?
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