Sunday, December 02, 2007

Marriages are made in heaven

Marriages, they say, are made in heaven. I am reminded of this saying every time I pass the Kodambakkam over-bridge, thanks to the Menaka cards advertising double-liner that you cannot fail to notice plastered on to a building on one side of the bridge: Marriages are made in heaven; marriage cards are made in Menaka. This line seems to be almost as evergreen as the Lifeboy soap tagline in Hindi which I have heard and enjoyed so many times over radio over the years: Tandurusti ki raksha karta hai Lifeboy; Lifeboy hai jahan, tandurusti hai vahan. Which translated, means: Lifeboy safeguards your health; where there is Lifeboy, there is health.

Well, talking about marriages being made in heaven, I’m sure there’s quite a lot to be said for and against the topic. Last week I read an article in Reader’s Digest, about people falling in love well past their 70s or 80s, after the death of their spouses, convinced that there is life yet to sustain a marriage. So, love can happen any time, anywhere. And even if it means being together for a few years, in the twilight zone of your life, it’s an emotion that draws you inexorably closer and closer, exhilarates, takes you on a roller-coaster ride and sometimes provides you an orgasmic high. Here’s raising a toast to true love. Something not many people find in their whole lives.

I know of several couples who have married after falling in love, or fallen in love and married. It’s difficult to say which works. Couples who have had arranged marriages would say that there’s romance and charm in marrying first and falling in love afterwards; while those that have experienced what love is all about before marriage would swear by their experience. I think the true test of love is retaining the emotion, the excitement of being together, and being able to care and share everything together, all through your life. It’s the incredibly powerful feeling that tells you that there is somebody there for you who is thinking of you all the time, to the exclusion of all else. No matter how many people are around. For instance, there was this young lady who told me one day that she had fallen in love and the man she had married was just the right person for her. Even in a crowd, in the midst of people, when our eyes meet, we know we are there for each other, we connect, she said. Well! On the other hand, I have seen (we all have, haven’t we?) couples in arranged marriages leading boring, desultory lives, without even the fondness you might expect, yet putting up a cheery facade.

Two weeks ago, a family member got married. He was 50 and the bride, a divorcee, was in her late 40s. An arranged marriage. For the bridegroom, it was an achievement of sorts. For years, he had toiled hard, looking after his parents and sister, making ends meet. He had let go thoughts about his marriage, scouting for prospective men for his sister. He never succeeded. Textile business was hard work and Tirupur, Salem, Erode and Triplicane in Chennai are not really the sort of picture-postcard places that come to mind. To cut the long story short, the bridegroom’s father who attended his engagement, did not live to witness the marriage; his mother was leading a vegetable’s existence in a wheelchair, oblivious to everything happening around her.

In spite of it all, the face of the bridegroom was one of cheer and happiness. Remarkable, I thought. The bride appeared as coy and demure as any other half her age. She harboured dreams too, I was certain. May they both live happily ever after. And may they find true companionship and love.

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