Remember the Eastman colour days of Bollywood? The ending was the Hindi film equivalent of riding into the sunset – the hero and heroine would get married and ride into an unknown future of which we would never know anything except the end credits that said ‘The Beginning’.
Whoever thought of closing the film with ‘The Beginning’ and not ‘The End’ had a crazy sense of humour. There is obviously an ominous ring to those words. Almost like that cynical Uncleji at your wedding laughing behind your back, cracking those sad wife jokes, saying “Now you will know.”
Look at the irony of the words – The Beginning. It should have been accompanied by a background sound of evil laughter instead of the shehnai that was oft used. And then followed by a sequel with babies in it. The closing credits of that one – “You thought THAT was the beginning?”
The laddoo of marriage
The aphorism shaadi ka laddoo is the most fitting one. Neither can you swallow it nor can you puke it out. There’s a very fine line of people standing at the brink of it. The ones that stay away will never know what it is and the ones that cross over will finally be privy to the mad laughter club that WhatsApp marriage forwards typify. Entry for Members only.
I wonder what it is that makes generation after generation bite the dust and carry forward this one tradition. There must be something to it apart from bearing progeny… something about sharing your life with another. And if it is ultimately about sharing, why are there so many articles telling you how to strengthen your bond, how to keep your marriage alive and active? Like healthy bacteria for your gut.
An organic marriage with probiotics garnished with special herbs from a certain Baba for stamina in the bedroom and for longevity outside it.
The one special bond
Jokes apart, I do believe that a healthy marriage or partnership provides comfort in the long run. It gives you a sense of ownership over your partner. So even in a room full of strangers when you hear that one special voice…graze against that hand…look at each other across the room, it releases oxytocin in your brain that stabilises your heartbeat and washes you with warmth like the winter sun.
In the highly individualistic world that we live in, marriage, if redefined for the current times, can actually be a bandage for your wounded, lonely soul in the crowded cacophony of social media.
Trouble is, how to survive a long marriage?
How to make your marriage last
I think marriage is an art. And every great work of art looks effortless. But every artist would agree that it has taken painstaking hours of practice to reach the best version of that piece of art – the one you show to the world.
Just like marriage. You keep working at it behind the scenes day in and day out, not as a chore to be completed but as a passion to be pursued. Yes, there are days of frustration when you almost give up but the end result of the Holy Grail of Happiness keeps you hooked.
Ask any successful writer and one of the first tips they share would be to show up every single day at the writing table. Whether you set a word on paper or not, the fact that you showed up was enough. Perseverance. The one quality that many almost-successful artists find elusive.
In a marriage too, you have to show up. Every day. And night. The only difference is that there are two artists who pursue a common vision. The day your vision is separate, the marriage no longer works. Now whether that vision was monogamy or open relationship…support for each other’s dreams…living with in-laws or not…equal partnership in child care…as far as the vision is clear and pursued honestly, the marriage works.
It’s not that difficult really. In theory and in practice, it’s simply walking together, holding hands and maybe from time to time removing stones and thorns from each other’s paths, helping each other cross over, smelling the roses along the way, walking into that promised sunset. The one we call The Beginning.