I do — already?

LOOKS LIKE FUN Many young women have wrong notions of ‘happily ever after’, drawn from the world of films

LOOKS LIKE FUN Many young women have wrong notions of ‘happily ever after’, drawn from the world of films   | Photo Credit: Photo: AP

Many college-going women are tying the knot, either finding love early or bowing to parental pressure

If you are among those who think that college-going girls are always hanging out with their friends and generally leading a carefree life, then you are in for a shock. Jeans-clad, Gen Y girls are getting married in the first and second year of college.

The reasons for this are many. Even though women’s education is given importance, the social and familial roles of a girl are still defined as a wife and mother. In many families, good education and career are considered less important than finding a suitable marriage proposal. Michelle, a 23-year-old lecturer says: “I’m dead against this practice, and I think early marriages happen when parents have orthodox mindsets and consider daughters a liability.” And, all girls, except the most determined, readily give in to parental pressure to marry early.

The legal marriageable age for girls in India is 18, a crucial stage in a person’s life when she has to concentrate on her education and career. Mohan Mangathussery, father of a 19-year-old strongly believes that girls should become more mature and financially independent before they tie the knot. “What if the marriage falls apart? I would want my daughter to have something to fall back on in such a case,” he says.

But there are others who feel education and marriage can go together. Yasmin, a third-year degree student who is expecting her first child says: “My family is extremely supportive, and I’ll definitely continue my studies.”

There are other bigger problems associated with early marriages. A person at this age hasn’t the maturity to take decisions on important matters. Adjusting to a new family atmosphere and arranging your life around another person is no child’s play. There are also those who wish to marry at this age for the sake of love. These are the girls who, with or without parental consent, get married to the ‘man of their dreams’. Most girls confuse real life with movie-style matrimonial bliss.

If you feel that you’ve really found ‘the one’ for you quite early in life, wait a few years before saying ‘I do’. If he is the right one, a few years won’t make any difference. But if he’s not, it will make all the difference in the world. Latha Nair, a lecturer who got engaged at 17, married at 19, and still went on to get a Ph.D. and even a degree from Cambridge, might seem like the perfect example that everything is fine with early marriages. But she firmly says: “I’d never, ever, advice anyone to get married at that age. I was lucky enough to get a great family, but I still had to go through a lot of hardships. I think the ideal age to get married is after 23.”

So, all of you girls out there, think before you leap, and say “no” when you need to. Take it slow, do all that you want to do before you start your ‘happily ever after’. And, marriage can wait, until you get your own footing in this wild world.


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