Our columnist Nisha JamVwal takes a look at how the women of today have come a long way from being traditional homemakers and now are calling all the shots and taking leaps in their individual careers, questioning social norms while at it.
Who exactly is today’s urbane successful girl in a love relationship with a man? In my mind, she’s a smart girl, thinking clearly. But it’s also about timing things right in terms of work and marriage balance. And let’s face it; she’s lucky she CAN be the Contemporary urban thinking woman in our times today.
“Tell me Nisha, what should I do? It’s four years into our relationship and there’s no sign of a commitment!?” I am listening agog as the much-heard tale unfolds. The very words, the same teary helplessness, and longing. It used to be considered a woman thing – pinning down a man for a commitment to marriage. But this is a male friend asking: “Nisha, How do I get through this impasse? She loves me for sure, it’s been long enough; we’re on the same page socially, mentally, and even physically. We spend all our time together as we have been for the last four years. She feels, however, that life is going great guns the way it is, and moreover, she cherishes her own identity. I, on the other hand, want to and need to make it a marriage and all the bliss that comes of it. My parents and my relatives are driving me to drink! They do deserve a grandchild. And doesn’t she know the body-clock thing? Why not marriage? We’re good together, we laugh together, what’s not to make it a happily ever after? I’m down to pleading! This is the only fly in the ointment!”
TWO SIDES OF A COIN
He’s making an excellent case and it’s not as rare a case too. I ask him “What does she say?” and he says, “She tells me not to complicate matters. It’s the make-or-break time of her life and she’s focussed on reaching ‘there’ in her career and not muddle her priorities. Home is demanding business and it’ll have to wait. Besides life’s going great guns the way things are!”
Her arguments also make sense from a careerist achiever’s point of view. I do think, however, working long hours, pushing aside many things that are about achievement, sometimes may rebound. Children, family warmth, and youth enough to enjoy all of it is sometimes overlooked until it’s too late. I have a friend who gave up a most prestigious position with the World Bank, after chasing it till she was nearly fifty, and headed back home from Washington with the enlightenment that the “little” joys of life are what actually fire her soul.
I source around my lady friends for views and came away with emphatic opinions on both sides of the fence-sitters who sagely point out that in man-woman things there is no one-size-fits-all. Risks of a good thing going bad? Let the man worry too. It’s no longer so “bold” to live-in or to even end the pleasant dinner with more than a goodnight kiss at the apartment door. The Supreme Court too has come up with a judgment that could further revolutionize the social man-woman relationship in India with its verdict on live-in relationships. On a recent rainy morning, I am listening to a female confidante’s tale of helplessness this time.
“Tell me, Nisha, what I should do? I like this arrangement. He has his home, I have mine. Things are just fine. Why do we need marriage to spoil it all? He is very keen on marriage and I cannot understand why. We meet over weekends and have all the luxury of marriage but with some much-needed space thrown in”.
The coffee goes cold and (maybe salty) as the much-heard tale goes on. But unlike many years ago, it’s the woman feeling hemmed in, and the man wanting the marriage ring.
THINK WITH YOUR HEART
The fact of the matter is, how decisive the woman is about her choices, and most of all how able and prepared she is, to take on the consequences of the choices she makes. If one misses out on the right choice, frustration can sour things for a young lady and her man too. She may opt out forever with her job, and not let go of her relationship feeling that she has sacrificed or greatly compromised her career advancement, or alternatively become the cross-natured elderly lady ever out to lash out at life and others around because she let pass the happiness of the husband-home-family thing! Counselors say it is a very commonly occurring urban scene.
My question is, aren’t trials, tribulations, struggles and much else a major part of what makes life meaningful? One shouldn’t be throwing out the baby with the bathwater! Right?