Saturday, 15 October 2016

M for Marriage !

Last week was a festive week for us here in Calcutta. 

"Durga Pujo" as the Bengali's call it.  It  is more of a week long festival than a religious event.  The Bengalis go really berserk during this period, specially in  Calcutta. The streets are flooded with people. All ages, all sizes, everybody donning new clothes, laughter , food and festivities fill up the air. The "Pandal" or the makeshift area where the idol of Goddess Durga is put is really breathtaking.  Every year I am amazed at the passion and creativity of the people here. For four days , everybody forgets all their woes and joins the festivities.  Starting from communal lunches,  music, 
devotional chants , new clothes,flowers, sandalwood, Dhak and of course lots of food ,  the environment is just ethereal.  It is something to be experienced. 

Pujo is a period of togetherness. Friends and families come together. My daughter is also here for a week and yesterday one of her friends came to visit her. We were having a nice chat in the evening and the conversation steered around to relationships and marriage. 

And she asked me a strange question.

"Tell me one thing Aunty, don't you sometimes feel that you are tied down for ever ?"

"Well ..." I said, floundering for words,  "It depends ... " 

And then a more direct one .

"You still do love Uncle , don't you ? "

"I ... er... Yes ... I do , but over time , the nature of love changes , you know ..."

It made me think what must be going on in the minds of these young girls ... lots of questions, doubts , random and erratic thoughts , confusion ... 

So, though this post is not related directly to leadership, it is dedicated to all such young people , who are on their threshold of life, ready to take off on their careers, relationships ...

And I being married for almost 28 years , do qualify to give a bit of advise , isn't it ?

For my readers who are not well acquainted with the Indian culture and our ways of "arranged" marriages,  a bit of introduction. 

In India, when girls and boys are of marriageable age and they have not been able to find a suitable partner for themselves, parents "arrange" their marriage. In fact, this is more preferred than boys and girls dating each other for "Love" marriages. The parents then look for appropriate partners thru relatives, friends and my overseas friends find this most amusing , through "matrimonial" sites. And let me tell you this, these sites are really thriving !

 Once they find suitable candidates, they meet (with parents of both the sides !) and they have to decide within a few days ! 

Scary, what do you think ? ( Ha , Ha ... not really ... ask me !) 

So, coming back, my dear young friends , here are some tips or pointers for the new and a very important chapter in your life ...

  • Let there be space : All of us are individuals with different needs , wants and preferences.  After the initial euphoria, we need our own little space. It is very important for partners to understand this and allow this space or "me time".  You should be comfortable with the idea that some of your liking might not be as likeable to your partner and vice versa. No need to get upset about it . 

  • Respect each other : I think this is the most important ingredient for a successful relationship.  If you do not respect your partner, the relationship is prone to get sour at some point or the other. When you are in a relationship or are about to get into a relationship , ask yourself, "Do I respect him/her ? " If there is any iota of doubt here, then re-look at the situation .

  • Stand up for yourself : In India, specially for females, there is tendency for us to put ourselves at the altar and doing things which you really don't want to do.  But girls, you have to stand up for yourself.  I am not saying that you should not adjust . Marriage is mostly about adjustment and compromise , but there are certain principles which should be dear to you and there should never be any compromise on those. You have to be assertive about whatever you are sensitive about.  Remember, the world is a cruel place and people will take advantage of your submissiveness and trample over you.  For me , some principles which are non negotiable are self respect , good behaviour, financial freedom etc.  You are the only one who can stand for yourself.  Don't quarrel and be rude. But clearly, firmly , make it understood what is important to you. 

  • Communicate : Communication is the lubricant of a great relationship. Talk, laugh , discuss, debate with your partner. Tell him/her about incidents at workplace , home, your feelings , your day , what made you laugh, what made you cry ! Sometimes, when I am upset over any incident at office or something at home , I vent out my feelings to my husband. And he says "What am I supposed to do ? " and I say "Nothing .... but you have to listen ... !"

  • Trust each other : If ever there is a depletion of trust in the relationship, the crack starts and it usually widens to a point of no repair.  So, dear friends, handle with care ! Don't let this ghost get between you and your partner.  And if you can sniff any odour of doubt, just diffuse it with frank conversation , before it engulfs you completely.

  • Do things together : There should be several things which you should love to do together. For example watching movies or a cricket match, listening to music , travelling, cooking, playing ... anything ... 

  • Best of Friends : You should be "friends" with your partner.  Let friendship be the foundation of your marriage. Don't ever lose your friend. 

  • Complement as well as Supplement : Your best can never be your partner's best and vice versa. Try to complement each other with the deficiencies as well as supplement each other with your qualities. Don’t Keep Score. Marriage is not a contest so don’t walk around with a watchful eye making sure your partner carries their share of the load. 

  • Be sensitive : Never ever criticize or make fun of your partner in public, even if you think that you are saying things in a lighter vein. Small things like a smile, holding hands or a light touch in public helps. Show gratitude and appreciation in subtle ways, give priority to him/her.  

  • Create your own rituals : It could be as simple as making your husband a coffee in the morning while he lets you lie in at the weekend. Whatever you choose, a ‘couples’ ritual is a way to connect with your partner in the madness of a busy life.  Have a ritual of anointing your wives back with talcum powder at night etc.

  • Cuddle : In the morning, a 5 minute cuddling sure helps in making the day brighter. Try it. I am sure you will love it. 

  • Love : The most important ingredient of a successful relationship.  Love changes its form over time.  But love has to be "kept" ignited.  You have to work on it. It does not grow by itself. Marriage and love have to be nurtured. You have to fuel it with your actions, attitude, communication, and the points which I have mentioned above. 

Remember that it is very easy to let go of a relationship  and more difficult to maintain it.  You have to care about it. 

So, Nurture it.  Water it. Fuel it.  

Nurturing does not mean that you sacrifice your principles for your relationship. These go hand in hand and are reciprocal. 

Sometimes married people think that during courting you talked for hours about various things  and now all you seem to talk about now is the grocery list or how much to spend on a new sofa? Try to re introduce meaningful conversation.  Asking about each other's day isn't enough.Try making a remark about something your partner deeply cares about that's bigger than the both of you—sports, politics, anything to get the ball rolling.

To have a happy relationship , YOU have to be happy first. 

Give time to yourself , spend time with your friends, be financially independent,  have a hobby and do things which makes you happy. 

Be happy ... and have a happy , meaningful and a great marriage !

Cheers !


  1. Very useful tips to make marriage s successful. Can u kindly give some tips for the couples who r in the corporates and hardly find time for each other ? What nd how they should deal with each other to make their arranged marriage happy and stable ?

  2. A much needed blog post for confused 20 something millenials like me! Thanks!