Married is the new single!
If you go back in time, say one decade or so, single people were the city's most talked-about creatures. No matter the place or occasion, they were always the center of attention. No matter what the occupation, everyone's favourite pastime as well as singular obsession was focused on single folks. Or rather, to get them married!
"Beta, shaadi kab karoge?"
"Dating-shating bahut ho gaya. Ab it's time to get married!"
"Bas bahu le aa, beta!"
If you were single in the city, you were to be found, hitched and be done with!
However, things have only worsened with time. If you thought getting married would get everyone off your back then clearly you've miscalculated the motives of Pammi Aunty and Kapoor Uncle.
Because getting married is not enough. Bachcha paida karna bhi to zaruri hai, right?
We're a country full of gyaan-givers.
Even before someone has found themselves in a predicament, we're ready to share our words of wisdom. And most often than not, we give our two bits without the other person even asking for it. Because to ensure our society functions within the four walls of morality is somehow on our shoulders alone!
Take for instance, young couples.
Firstly, we have a problem if they date each other. Secondly, we're ready to do anything to stop them for indulging in consensual sex inside the privacy of their own bedrooms. And lastly, even if we somehow come to terms with their love, we're not willing to accept their singledom.
"Shaadi kab karoge, beta?"
It's our biggest worry in life. Seriously!
And when they get married, it's not like we're leaving them alone. Post the saat-pheras, it's time for our next move - to somehow ensure they become parents ASAP!
Has someone ever considered that maybe, just maybe, a married couple could have a happy life without having kids?
Frankly, it's none of anyone's business what two consenting, married-to-each-other adults do. But then, consent is not a word in the average Indian's dictionary. However, even if we ignore the consent part of the argument, there's still no denying that a married couple has the right to choose the kind of life they want to make together.
They can choose to have two kids and they can choose to have no kids. Or, they can choose to wait it out for a few years, say five or maybe ten, before they decide to procreate. Shouldn't make a difference to anyone else's life, right? Not in India, of course!
Because in India, a married couple is not a complete family without the addition of two or more little kids. Especially a married woman who is somehow never a complete woman unless she has given birth. Thankfully, this happens only in India!
Just to clarify - a married couple can be happy, complete and everything else on the face of this planet without having kids.
Parenthood comes with massive responsibility and it's imperative to be completely sure before taking on a new role.
You're going to bring a new life into this world and for the next eighteen years, you'd be responsible for their entire existence! It's not an easy decision and certainly not a frivolous one. Just because your chachi wants you to have one, doesn't mean you should actually go and have a baby.
A couple should have a child only when they're ready. When they know they've reached a specific stage in their individual lives, and their relationship together. When they've traveled enough as just two people. When they've saved enough money. When they've lived a more carefree existence.
Basically, a couple should only have a child when they've done whatever they wanted to before becoming parents.
Unhappy people with unfulfilled desires don't make for good parents.
What about those who never, ever want children? More power to them!
Who said that a couple HAS to have a child? There's no rule-book, no contractual agreement that states that if married, a man and a woman must procreate. Is it part of the marriage ceremony, an additional vow to definitely have a child? No!
With changing times and changing lifestyles, the concept of a family has also changed. For some, it's about grandparents, parents and children living under one roof and for some, it's about mommy-daddy and their little munchkin. And for some others, it's about a happy couple in love choosing to not reproduce.
When we're okay with the first two circumstances, why raise an objection to the third one? Besides, it's not our business anyway!
Having a child is not about checking off a to-do list.
It's a major responsibility, one not many are ready for. And no one but them should decide if and when they'd be fully prepared.
It's also about desire. The desire to have children. To nurture. To focus on your parental instinct. And while it may come as a shock to many, not every man and woman has a hidden nurturing instinct in them.
Having a child is not the next step a married couple must take. Just because you think they should be having one, doesn't mean they should do as you please.
They're mature, responsible adults who're fully capable of making their own life choice. Let's leave married couples alone, shall we?