Today my mom told me her theories on why so many marriages in urban India are breaking up.
She thinks it's because women today no longer want to sacrifice or work as hard as women earlier used to. We are nice girls, 'adjusting' even, but we just aren't as interested in 'making a home' as women in the old days were. We want careers, fulfilment, life outside home, equality in relationships. That's not how marriages work.
Besides that, parents are far too involved in their daughters' married lives. That's a total no-no if a woman is to adjust to her inlaws' way of life. She can't have her mother's sari pallu to run to each time there's an issue. The only way to learn swimming is to be thrown right in into the water - without floats.
It's not just my mom who thinks this way. I also recently met another middle-aged woman with similar thoughts. They may be right from their own perspective, but I could not help noticing how the onus of all things in a marriage, or relationships or society, falls on the woman. Even as the world changes, and global, social and cultural boundaries are re-written, it seems to be taken for granted that MEN will not change. It's the woman who has to make the choice, take the burden of it, carry it through to the end, and then get blamed if things don't turn out perfect. The man is a mute spectator - sometimes a vociferous obstacle course - but at the end, the default state of being. We, as women, must challenge our boundaries, work hard, fulfil biological roles, struggle to find a balance between self and society - all the time revolving around this untouchable thing called man in the centre.
It's unfair, if you ask me. If girls today aren't the 'homemakers' their mothers used to be, well, boys today aren't the 'family-men' their dads used to be either. So why blame one and not the other for collapsing marriages? The woman has always had it harder than men in achieving the same level of success. Why are we - as women, no less - making it worse for her with our lopsided judgements?
Change in society goes hand-in-hand with change in a collective mindset. If we stop being so hard on ourselves, perhaps things won't BE that hard for us, after all. As they say, do unto yourself as you want others to do unto you.