February 09, 2010

Couples - yesterday and today

There is something nice about couples of my parents' generation. They always go everywhere together, and are seen together more often than not. In the early Hindi films also, there were established couples who were paired together in every other movie. Raj Kapoor-Nargis, Dilip Kumar-Vyjayanthimala, Dharmendra-Hema Malini, Amitabh Bachchan-Jaya Bhaduri, Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Singh...very often, the screen couple became a real-life couple.

In my own family and among friends, I have begun admiring couples, including my own parents, who seem to lead their lives together, despite the bickering that is inevitable in a marriage. If there is a social event, they invariably go together; they plan holidays together; they visit people together.

In my generation, us women have rightfully sought---and got---the freedom we deserve. After marriage, we begin our lives as a couple, but slowly, as we discover that we don't agree on everything, we decide at some point, to 'agree to disagree'...that's when we begin to find friends and 'do our thing'. Go shopping by ourselves, go to a play or a concert with friends, I even go on trips on my own.

Yes, life's fun...definitely better than if one becomes a 'Gandhari' and does not do things one likes because the spouse does not like it. While I have enjoyed and still enjoy doing things on my own or with the children, I have suddenly begun to miss being a 'couple', and have begun envying others who have managed to continue being one, years and years after their marriage.

As they say, women are never satisfied with what they have. I now need to work on Vijay to get back to being the 'couple' we used to be. In the first years of our marriage, he even accompanied me to a Kathakali performance (did I hear someone say "poor Vijay!")!

Can couples who 'agree to disagree' once again 'agree to agree'? Or will this happen only when the children leave home?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

the process "Agree to agree" must begin before the children leave home.It cannot happen all of a sudden.Slowly and steadily,the couple must work together towards that end.The couple are not two human beings living their own lives under one roof.They have so many things interlinked and inter twined in their lives,if only they give it a thought.
.....Wish all the young couples,the very best of luck.

RMB said...

Great post. I think you capture in many ways two struggles. One, the struggle of feminism to secure independence without losing the essence of womanhood. Second, the question of seasons in relationships. I think there is a difference perhaps between agreeing to disagree and distance. Sometimes we use differences as an excuse to build space between spouses. There is less likelihood of unpleasant encounters with greater distance between people. But to answer your question - I think that couples can come close again. But I would urge that a great part of that equation may involve not using "agreeing to disagree" as an excuse to "agree" to be apart too much. Distance fosters disconnect.

Thought
www.rmbpcola.blogspot.com

Sadhana Ramchander said...

Anonymous: Thanks for the advice. Will certainly give a thought to what you say.

RMB: I agree with your analysis. You are right in saying that distance fosters diconnect...shall work on that. Thank you.

Ramesh said...

Hi Sadhana,
Very thought provoking piece.Couples do get closer when children leave home(we are in this stage)but this may be a reaction to the sudden vacuum in their lives. Perhaps a better approach would be to schedule a long weekend every 6-8 weeks when you dedicate the time to rediscover each other.--this should happen if feasible even while children are still at home and we are going about our lives and careers at a breakneck speed. Not easy,requires compromise and commitment from both parties.I just turned 50--so wisdom is flowing !!!! Always refreshing to read your blog --also enjoyed your depiction of the Music Festival in Pune
Ramesh