Recently a friend of mine, who had just been married for less than 3 months called time on her marriage.When she called to tell me, surprisingly ,make a joke of it, “It was a Chinese marriage”.I was bewildered.She then went on to explain,”Made in China-didn’t last long”. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing whilst we both said our goodbyes with her asking me to draft the necessary documents for filing the papers in court.
I remember meeting her, and her, then fiance,Amod *at a friend’s house party. They both seemed in love with each other and were excited about the upcoming nuptials. She had planned an extensive and expensive marriage with various ceremonies in a few different locations. The marriage preparations took almost a year so it was ironic that the marriage lasted for less than the time it took to put together . The almost insant breakdown of marriages in India is a new phenomenon where, traditionally,marriages were meant to last for seven lifetimes. You had an arranged marriage where your parents chose the boy for you after checking and cross-checking the family and its credentials. You barely met the boy and before you knew it you were married and were sharing the same wedding bed. After the wedding night, your new life began, as you slipped into the role of a wife,daughter-in law and myriad other roles depending upon the size of the extended family.Your whole world was defined by your marriage. You were together for better or for worse.There were no other options available because the mindset was such that it did not allow any options to crop up. Like thinking of a mobile phone as indispensable when landlines were at a premium.
The divorce rates in India have risen dramatically and the clock is not turning back. Is this because of the options available to us?By us, I mean women in particular and men in general.Today not many are ready to be trapped in an abusive marriage,whether the abuse is physical mental or verbal. They feel life is too short to be spent stuck in a relationship that has no future and would rather be looking at being alone or maybe another partner.The YOLO(you live only once)syndrome has also crept into marriages and axing a marriage that doesn’t meet your expectations is gaining currency.Now both partners need to pull their weight in a marriage to make it work,unlike in the past where the entire onus of making the marriage work lay on the women.
Although the number of people who think like this may seem minisicule in a country where the divorce rates are about 13 in 1000 still low compared to the U.S around 50 percent. or U.K around 50 percent. But these numbers are growing rapidly in larger cities; the number of divorces granted by the family courts increased by 350 per cent between 2003 and 2011 in Kolkata, Will these numbers reduce with time?I doubt it, because we are slowly but surely moving to a culture where we think more in terms of ‘I’ rather than ‘we’, our adjustment quotient is lower than that of our parents which is reflected in the ongoing demise of the joint family and the rise of the nuclear family. Besides how can I ignore the fact that each time I am at a get together someone or the other will seek me out to get advice on a ‘family problem’ of a ‘friend’(most of the time the friend is the person himself/herself).
The D word is surely on the rise and as time passes the ‘made in china marriages’ as my friend calls them will become commonplace,even in a country as conservative as India.
Divorce is an unwanted houseguest that is here to stay and whether we like it,love it,hate it,accept it or embrace it is our choice.