The Changing Social Fiber

Most of us fondly remember our childhood days. Days where we had no responsibilities, no earning pressure and it was just playing and studying that mattered. Friends and cousins meant the world to us as and the only pressure we felt was probably during our exams. That innocence, that free spirited attitude, that warmth in relationships with relatives, neighbours and especially cousins and friends takes a step back when we get busy in our own rat race of earning money and bringing up our family. Though I agree that few relations do not change with time, but it’s also true that one needs to give time to nurture those.

Just when I was thinking on these lines, I got a call from my college friend. She was in town and wanted to catch up. We decided to meet in the morning when my daughter goes to school. She came over in the morning and we had years of catching up to do and gossip to share. She was the same, same in looks, attitude and same in her spirit. I knew that she was not married, but didn’t know whether it was by choice or by chance. Anyways we were so engrossed in our gossip that it didn’t matter, but some where it was still playing at the back of my mind.

At last I gathered the courage and asked her about her plans for getting hooked. She mentioned that it was her conscious decision and she doesn’t intend to get married, rather she told me that she doesn’t feel the need to get married to anyone. This statement of hers was not a surprise for me, as there are many acquaintances and close friends who think on similar lines. She told me that she is doing extremely well for herself financially, she has loads of good friends who land up whenever she is in need, she roams around with likeminded single friends, can go for a holiday when stressed without checking anyone else’s schedule and many more such things. Her life sounded not less than a fairy tale to me.

I asked her doesn’t she feel the need to have a special partner whom she can share her life with? To which she told me that she hardly finds time for herself and it would be injustice to involve another person in her life and not give him the required time and attention. Also marriage is not about just one person. His parents also do come in the picture, their expectations, adjustments etc. and she thinks will take away her independence and dampen her spirit. Her aim is to ultimately be happy.

I was looking at a different angle of this marriage institute all together. It does bind you to some extent but if you get a good partner it makes it all worth it. Having someone to walk with you is far better that walking alone is what I told her. But yes it’s a gamble…it’s a risk…but it’s worth a chance. She obviously disagreed.

She told me about a scenario wherein the girl gave in to the parental pressure and got married. Now, both husband and wife are so busy that they have decided not to have a child consciously. Getting a child is a big responsibility and they do not want to do injustice to the baby by having a maid as a substitute for the mother, or taking obligations from grandparents. A child is the primary responsibility of the parents, and if the parents are not in a position to do justice to this responsibility then there is no point in getting a child in this world. Help is very much needed to bring up a child but it should be just a help and not offloading the whole responsibility on others. I agreed to what she said. Having a child should not be the reason to get married.

In today’s world where mostly both husband and wife are working in a high pressure environment, taking care of a child is a challenge. Day care, full time maids, grandparents help (when they should enjoy their retired life) are just simple adjustments to bring up a child. But what about all the priceless moments and experiences of enjoying your baby, the new role and being with that small bundle of joy? Most moms who continue with their corporate job, carry the guilt of not being around for their child in the growing years.

The key point here is “your own happiness”. Taking an aware and conscious decision is very important, because if one just goes with the flow and follows the sequence of the traditional life of getting married, having children, along with being a part of that money earning rat race, then sooner or later the guilt, frustration, will set in and then there will be grim chances to reverse the decision.

After getting to know someone who had a different view point, I felt nothing is right or wrong. What is wrong is blindly following things, nor questioning them, staying in guilt, staying in a limbo. It’s for sure that our societal fiber is changing and women after being financially independent their need for marriage has been diminished. Even if someone gets married, there is a lot of thinking which goes in to planning for a baby, unlike in a traditional set up where it was expected to be so.

For sure, marriage as an institution would be challenged in the coming years and the definition of family will change. A few decades ago a family meant a joint family with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins etc. Slowly the uncles and aunts and cousins found their way out and only grandparents remained. Over the last couple of years, a family now means a nuclear family with just a couple and their children. Over a period of time, in many cases the children will disappear and so will the spouse. Family will then just mean the individual!

In today’s world when everyone is running, adjusting, compromising, with another person leave alone his/her family, having a child will complicate matters further.

In my opinion one should not judge people who take a CONCIOUS and AWARE decision in life. They know themselves better and they know what they can or cannot handle. Divorce rates are increasing, kids are being raised by maids…..

Not travelling a path is better than ruining it and not enjoying the journey and staying in guilt the whole life. What I concluded after talking with my friend is that ultimately it all boils down to how happy you are with your decision because getting stuck where you don’t belong causes you great pain. Take a well informed decision; after all it’s your life.

Our chain of discussion was interrupted by the door bell, and there she was… my world! She hugged and kissed me and said “you are the best mom, cause you gave my favorite food in my lunch box.” That moment I was very proud of myself to have taken a conscious decision 6 years ago:)

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