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The gamble that marriage is

Only where there is true love, marriages will manage to sustain

One of the most successful Bollywood marriages was that of Shammi Kapoor and Geeta Bali. The effervescent and bubbly Geeta came from a rather humble background, and she was, by all accounts, an excellent human being too. Geeta chose to act with the unknown actor Bhagwan Dada in the musical Albela even when she was high in the popularity charts.

 

The whirlwind romance between Shammi and Geeta blossomed over time, and they finally decided it was time to walk down the aisle. But they had to have a secret marriage, owing to parental opposition. Away from prying eyes, they became man and wife at Mumbai’s Banganga temple at Walkeshwar.

 

Tragedy struck when Geeta Bali, all of 35, died of small pox. Shammi suffered a nervous breakdown after his loving wife’s sudden death even as he had to grapple with the task of bringing up two small children.

 

A few days later Shammi was shooting for Teesri Manzil. Reports suggest that he broke down when he had to lip sync for the song, “Tum ne mujhe dekha hokar meharban”. The lines reminded him of the days when he was wooing Geeta. Such an irreparable loss mellowed the dynamic and vibrant Shammi. His swan song as a hero — the 1971 hit Andaz — saw Shammi at his best as a widower trying to bring up his young daughter all by himself.

 

Love stories such as this are becoming rare today. In Chennai, the Tamil writer Ram Mohan (who wrote under the pen name Stella Bruce) committed suicide unable to bear the loss of his wife following an illness. Stella Bruce wrote some beautiful novels centred on the intricacies of human emotions. One of his novels, Mayamaangal, was serialised on television.

 

I know of a couple in Mumbai. The wife died a few days after her husband’s death unable to bear it. The heartbreak caused by her parents’ demise left their children under a pall of gloom.

 

At a time when divorce rates in India are increasing, these love stories sound more like outliers. When it comes to selecting a partner people either take too long to take a decision or get married in a hurry. This is inscrutable.

 

Whether it is a love marriage or an arranged marriage, the fact remains that at the end of the day marriage is essentially akin to a gamble. Marriage is a commitment between two people who exchange vows to stay together through thick and thin. True love transcends the physical laws of attraction between a man and a woman.

 

There have been instances in our family where the bride and groom have got married under parental pressure and generations have suffered as a result. When a husband

and wife are bickering forever, it is their children who bear the brunt. Having healthy arguments is one thing, quarrelling day in and day out is quite another.

 

In a few cases, loveless arranged marriages have somehow been sustained even as love marriages have crumbled due to cultural disparities and ego problems that surfaced after the marriage. Many arranged marriages have also failed as a result of irreconcilable marital discord. When the situation becomes uncontrollable or manageable, it is always better to seek a legal separation. Sometimes this is in the interest of both the parties. In case of celebrities, moving away from an abusive marital relationship is not an option — it becomes a necessity.

 

Children often become the binding factor in unhappy marriages but this cannot always be the solution if there is far too much acrimony between the couple. A warring couple can cause serious psychological hurt to their progeny, the couple remaining unaware of the adverse impact.

 

Marriages are all about give and take — it is all about making adjustments. When these adjustments make life a virtual hell, then it is time for a hard decision. There are so many women out there who suffer mental abuse and domestic violence and there are men too who become unsuspecting victims in a loveless marriage.

 

Bollywood is replete with examples of women who endured abusive/ unhappy marriages for extended periods of time — they include Nutan, Zeenat Aman and Rinki Bhattacharya, Bimal Roy’s dear daughter. There were exceptions too, such as Meena Kumari, who had the guts to walk out of an unhappy marriage. However, in her case, instead of picking up the threads of her life and moving on, she chose the path of self-destruction. In stark contrast we had actress Usha Kiron (actress Tanvi Azmi’s mother) who had a hugely successful marriage with Dr. Manohar Kher despite the fact that she had had a past with director Amiya Chakravarthy.

 

Marriage is a tight-rope act — one has to walk with a fine sense of balance. Accepting each other’s shortcomings is one of the ways to develop an enduring relationship between partners. Where there is lack of tolerance and misguided expectations between a couple, marital discord is bound to swell.

 

It is hard to define a formula for a successful marriage, but where there is true love, marriages will manage to sustain!

 

gvenkatesh69@gmail.com

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 12:21:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/The-gamble-that-marriage-is/article16946791.ece

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