Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Questions About Love, Life And Such Like

There is a girl I lived with for three years when I was in college, my room mate, and needless to say when you are sharing a living space of 8ft. by 10ft. with someone for three whole years, you pretty much know each other inside out. She joined college, fresh out of a relationship with someone, from back home, me never having had one ever, never wanting one either. That was back in the days I never wanted to marry, and had huge,possibly extremely unrealistic plans about my life ahead. (The DH of course came into the picture later, and messed that all up.) She was a tall thin girl, quite the waif like eye-catcher, so lets call her tall-slim-girl(TSG). I was rotund and tom-boyish.

She and I met, liked each other, and decided to be friends and room-mates. She started dating one of our seniors towards the end of our first year. A guy called P. P and she were into what we can term as a serious relationship. Fortunately for them, they belonged to the same caste, creed and all else that matters in a marriage. From choosing the kind of house they will live in, to the names for their children-to-be, pretty much everything was in place. I was a pesky friend, and whenever the poor TSG would narrate these or any other deeply romantic exchange between P and her, I would burst out laughing. Sorry, I cannot handle mush, just cannot. Or maybe I am just insensitive, don't know, but talks of moons, stars and such just make me giggle. Here they were with each other, almost every possible minute, with love and dreams in their eyes and hearts. P actually enrolled in a low grade B-school to stay in the same town after he completed his graduation, so that they could both be together. Even though I never initially believed they were there for the long haul, such acts, actually convinced me that the baby names planned, would actually be put to use.

And there was the nut that is me. A lot of male friends, no romantic alliances, no hopes, no chances. When I met the DH for the first time, I was rather uncomfortable, mostly because of the terrible planning, of the mutual friend who introduced us, and made the situation as bad as it can be. But as they say, fate works in strange ways, and here we were, becoming friends, close ones at that. Liking each other, but never saying it out aloud (yes, I know quite the filmy stuff, and hence my strengthened faith in Hindi movies), and finally deciding to date each other without strict commitments of any kinds. (May I add here, that the DH buckled first and decided he wanted me for keeps. Yes, yes, yes he did!) Of all my friends, who were in relationships, mine was the only one without any plans of a future together. The DH finished his studies almost as soon as we started dating, and left the place. I still had a whole year to go, so we did not even get a lot of time together.

Three years later, I was married to the DH, working, and happy. The TSG, was finishing her masters degree, her relationship with P, after almost six years broken, and she was engaged to be married. Indeed, strange how things work out. She went on to get married to a man doing well in life, chosen by her parents, and approved by her. The DH and I were on the other hand freshers at our jobs, struggling to stay afloat, and yet happy, while TSG was enjoying African safaris, unrestrained shopping and living in the US.

Though she and I were great friends, all along our years in college, things changed gradually post that. All calls from her, were about how well she was doing in life, and how she was enjoying staying at home, relaxing all day long, shopping and the like. I was not bothered by what she said, but got tiered of knowing how happy she was, by her saying it aloud so often. She had a daughter about six months after the BB was born, and when the comparisons started there, I shut out. I am usually nonchalant about competing, I don't get drawn in for more than a couple of days, but the BB is precious to me, and I am not getting him into pettiness, from anyone. I think that was the point when I reduced, and then finally shut out my communication with her.

The DH and I had tough years financially at the start of our marriage, and I mean REAL tough, not the I-cannot-buy-the-imported-brand-of-we LCD kinds, but the we-could-do-with-a-cupboard-for-our-clothes kinds. But we managed to sail through, we fought like cats and dogs then, just as we do even now. There are times in our marriage we feel like pulling the hair out of our head, at the thought of having to live with each other, and then we have our sunny, full of joy days too. Our marriage is not perfect, or anywhere close to it, we are neither mushy, nor supremely romantic. If one thing defines our marriage at this one point, its our dedication to the BB and our roles as parents. And we disagree on methods there too. So basically we disagree on way too many things, and in turn express that quite vehemently too. The TSG portrays her marriage as perfect, but I am sure, like any other, she must be having her marital woes too, and having them does not really make a marriage bad, unless we are talking of abuse and such like. She did not see the hard days, like we did, and I am sure its a lot rosier to be in that state compared to what the DH and I went through. In terms of material comforts, I am happy where I am today, and value each and everything that I posses. I believe she is too, from what I hear, she has more and if that makes her happy, it works out just fine.

Now coming to the question that M4 poses in her post about love versus practicality, love won for me. Practicality won for TSG. That would be the obvious way of looking at it, but I believe it is practicality that won for each one of us, because selecting our priorities is being practical. I think it would be safe to say we are both happy today. At the end of the day we all know our priorities, and stick to what is more important to us personally. It takes courage to break out of moral bindings and accept the need for material comforts in life, or social status and prioritise that. To each his own I think. I am not taking any moral high ground here, because honestly I don't think there is any, as long as one is honest to himself or herself, that is the best choice to make. Had I married a man of my parent's choosing, I would have been richer maybe, had a similar cultural background as my spouse, but would I be happy, I don't know. And I don't think so, because I doubt any man would accept me as wholly as the DH has, knowing all my quirks and flaws. To me personally, the meaning of my relationship means more than other things. Money and comforts, came as and how they were required, that is why and I am where I am today. So for me love was the practical decision, because I would not have survived without it, the rest, which is required too, but stands a little lower on my list of priorities, followed in, as it always does with time.


Piper .. said...

ohh what a truly touching post this is! I spoke to you about how I met the G. Infact I did so today itself! Your post makes me wonder.. what if I would have been 'practical' at that point? A lot of people told me not to go ahead with the marriage, because of the problem I told you about. Imagine if I`d not listened to my heart!!
Our marriage is not perfect either. We too fight pretty bad at times. A lot of times infact. But I know I wouldnt have it any other way :)

Sraboney said...

{{{giggle}}} I can't believe your friend and her beau discussed children's names when they were dating!!! Hee! Hee! Hee!

Nice post, GM...I think both love and practicality are required in a marriage...

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Your last para explained it beautifully. While 'love' is the only thing that matters for some, nowadays, it seems that those who take the 'safe, practical' route are doing something blasphemous.

Nowadays, the 'live on love and fresh air' variety of love seems to be in short supply. Marriage springs you many a googly, some painfl enough to shatter your heart. I can't help but wonder, if many of us had weighed our love on a scale of practicality, would we have gone on and married our spouse nevertheless?

That is basically what I was wondering aloud in my piece...

Anonymous said...

Yeah I mean, it all boils down to setting your priorities right for yourself. Whatever makes you happy!

Competing with others can really get dull, especially when the two people have completely different priorities.

Good that it worked out well for you GM :) as well for your waif-like friend ;-)

Anonymous said...

Yeah I mean, it all boils down to setting your priorities right for yourself. Whatever makes you happy!

Competing with others can really get dull, especially when the two people have completely different priorities.

Good that it worked out well for you GM :) as well for your waif-like friend ;-)

D said...

I had a friend like that in college too - exactly the same story.

I think I was mighty lucky to have fallen in love with a guy whom it was very practical to get married to. Because I don't think I could survive on love and fresh air.

On the other hand, there were wedding proposals from much more well-to-do families but neither me nor my family was swayed by excess of wealth. Also, I gave up some of my career ambitions to get married to The Guy and that couldn't have been a practical thing to do at all. So really, I think I was trying to strike a balance between who I loved and what I wanted from life. I don't think I struck the perfect balance, but I'm happy nevertheless.

Indyeah said...

Ah! like MM says the live on love and fresh air variety is still here and alive and kicking :D
I can say that for myself:D

fell in love without knowing anything at all :)

Though to be honest I can see how people want to see the practical side of love (is it love?) and I think its fine..

after all...love cant be the way we want it to be can it?
Who is to say our definition is the only perfect and beautiful one?

but yes just like you, give me too the romance I say and the moonbeams and the love that comes for a lifetime or maybe not..no guarantees you see and thats the beauty of it!:))no guarantees except something that one's heart whispers to oneself:)

Passionate Goof said...

Piper - i know exactly what you mean. But you know what? I think your decision is practical. Practicality is doing what will make me happy right? Living with a rich/settled man, who does not understand me or vice versa is not practical for me.

Bones - Really? It was so common in my college. It used to drive me nuts. The DH and I never discussed baby names till the BB was almost born. ;)

M4- I understand, but life is neither perfect, nor does it come with guarantees, had we married someone else, there might have been other issues, but worse if not equally bad.so....

Rakesh - Exactly, it is my personal priority which counts.

D - :) You say it was not practical D, but would life have been as happy for you had you followed that career path and not been with the Guy? Its not just work or money that makes us happy in life right?

Indyeah - Hey! How have you been? You are a complete romantic IndY, I can always see that. I just know you will love without weighing or thinking, going by pure instinct. Cheers to our kinds, coz we are equally practical and do what makes us happy!!

Anamika said...

Hi PG, commenting for the first time here. Just trying to put a different spin on this question. My life is comparable to TSG. When a relationship breaks at a vulnerable age many young people think marriage to someone else will fill up the void. Good that it does for many but isnt that a huge risk to take? Arranged marriages for the most part ensure the settled-well-in-life part and hence the kick start to a materialistic good life. But can you imagine a full life ahead without emotional committment?

Honestly speaking, it isnt about being accepted wholly by another. The harder part is to accept another wholly. When such conflicts happen, practicality says to make the best of what you have. Like you said, Love is a practical choice. If love happens then you bank on it and make your life. To me more than pratical, its an obvious choice.
In the absence of love, its wise to be happy with what you have rather than cry over what you dont.

Now chirping about how happy you are and comparing lives, that sounds silly but someone told me once that unhappy people usually try very hard to show themselves as otherwise. Isnt that sad? For TSG's own sake I hope that its just her personality to speak about her life, like she did with you when you were roommates.

Passionate Goof said...

Anamika - I am saying exactly the same thing. It was practical for me to marry the man I love, I could not have survived a marriage with someone who I don't live or vice versa.

Completely agree with you on not harping over lost love, it is just a sadistic attitude according to me. Any broken relationship is tough to deal with, but moping about it is sheer lack of self love I think. Its great that you moved on. Cheers to you for that.

Smitha said...

GM, What a lovely post! I can identify with it, because love won for me too :) As you said, there were very tough times when we first got married - financially, we reallt struggled - but not for a minute do either of us regret it.. It moulded us and made us what we are today.. And I think those tough times also made our love grow.. So though I did not opt for practicality - things worked out - touchwood.. Again, I do understand that some people may prefer to opt for practicality.. Then again - that is their choice.. and their priorities in life..

But yes, every marriage needs to be worked on.. It is never a cake walk..