Women have different layers of personality which is not easily discovered or visible especially in context of our culture where girls are conditioned to talk less, stay silent, if possible and suppress their needs and desires or views on even the most basic matters. However, the new age Indian woman is defying these unwritten social norms and boldly sharing her thoughts on subjects that matter to her even at the cost of sounding odd or unconventional. My latest book – That Woman You See is a result of this urge to tell the stories that I had been writing for the past couple of years consciously or unconsciously around the new – age Indian woman who is bold and expressive and ready to challenge or defy the unjust social norms – including on the ever important issue of marriage.
This book attempts to explore the heart and mind of the modern Indian woman; who is tired of suppressing her true nature, dreams and desires and wishes to express herself and do her own thing even at the cost of appearing odd and unconventional in front of her family and society at large. The flavour of each story is different. And the author has experimented with narrative style and form. The themes in the book include: humour, pathos, love, infidelity, arranged marriage, colour bias, hope and joy. Giving it a whole new twist, the collection ends with a poem titled – ‘That woman you see,’ which is also the title of the book and gives out a brief description of the collection.
I was around 26 when I got married. Not very young. In fact, in our culture it’s quite past the marriageable age in some families. I believed I had married late. However, since then I’ve changed my opinion on the issue. And now when a young unmarried friend asks me about the right age to get married, my response to her is a knowing smile and the word they often don’t like to hear: ‘wait!’
At times I elaborate. Advise her to enjoy her singlehood and marry only when she’s known and understood herself well. But this only if she gives me a chance and keeps an open mind. If you’re thinking of marriage you might want to give some thought to why I say what I say to my unmarried friends–
Frog in the well – You know the story. It means exactly what it suggests. I used the phrase to imply that you have a very narrow view of things when you start off. Before you rush into marriage it is important to get out and see as much of the world as possible, let your heart lead the way and get hooked multiple times– without any strings attached, of course; learn to cope with the challenges of a relationship; even face a few heartbreaks; learn to deal with your own emotions and that of your partner. See how you react to situations and understand what your top goals in life are and whether they align with those of your partner’s idea of a perfect life too. There may be differences; after all, each one of us is unique with different set of values and worldview. However, it is important to know whether you can accept those differences and respect your partner as much as you respect yourself before you take the final plunge.
Star gazing is limited – That’s an activity enthusiastically taken up by either lovers or scientists. The former does it for strong emotional reasons and the latter for logical. Believe me, after marriage your role is limited to providing the necessary astronomical equipment for stargazing to other happily un- married couples. It’s not that you don’t like it anymore but either you are too busy working late night at the office or want to utilise the ‘stargazing time’ to catch up on your sleep. Why not stabilise yourself financially first or at least reach a position where you don’t have to really worry so much for you daily bread and butter or whatever else you need to buy with money? Doesn’t that make things a bit more relaxed for you? Maybe then you can stargaze at least on weekends if you so wish and focus on other areas of life more willingly.
Experience is the best teacher – Nothing that you read or learn through books or other people’s advice can prepare you for something like marriage. The only way you can pick – up tips on how to deal with this oldest form of man – woman (happily accepted) bond – age without creating much mess is by falling in love. Many times over. With different individuals and of course, much before the actual thought of settling down comes to your mind.
Can’t hurry love – Well, just listen to the lyrics of this beautiful song originally recorded in 1966 by The Supremes and later Phil Collins included in the hit cover version in his second solo album, Hello, I must be going! Besides being great singer they might have been astute individuals to express it all so well through their beautiful song. Love neither comes easy nor on a whim. So be patient. And even when you are sure that you are deeply in love; be sure that your come – and – go – emotion can handle something as practical and complex as marriage.
Marriage is a forever thing – After two people in love (or otherwise) are joined in holy matrimony they want to see it lasts forever. At least that is what every couple hopes for. Even if you see it as a contract between two equals, it is one that you cannot break off so easily. Both will have to make compromises, adjust and accept each other as they are, learn to say sorry and most of all stand by each other through thick and thin. Marriage requires you to be mature. Maturity comes with experience, not age. I rest my case.
- Author: Sujata Parashar
- Publisher: Alchemy
- Release: January 2016
- Genre: Fiction/Anthology/Women
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