This post is one of my very dare attempts. An Attempt to challenge principles and practices that pose problems to today’s practicality. Culture is a cumulative collection of practices by people over a period of time. As time ticks, period progresses, and changes happen, good and bad, forming and deforming culture as it goes. Today’s working generation is exposed to globalization and have a bird’s eye view on cultures across countries. How do we discriminate the right and wrong when different people have different perspective on it? Who made us the judge of character or the moral police of the human society? What was practical a generation ago has either become a blind custom today or at times obsolete. What to carry forward and what to leave behind is a debate that has to get addressed in time for the progress of people and nation as a whole.
As discussing culture is too vast a topic for a single post and can get boring enough to encourage my readers to leave this page, I take up to talk about dating and sex which is still a taboo topic for discussion, especially by poised Indian women folks, but interesting to secretly read or hear from someone else. Sex is largely seen to be associated with Indian culture, sometimes synonymous even and yet we have a significant number of sexual crimes in our country. I myself agree and disagree to some of the points of my post and decide to do both the sides of the argument in this debate. My only intention is to leave open ended questions to various viewpoints, to ponder inside one’s own head, not to assume any supporting or defending status. If talking sex is blasphemy to you, this is not your post, skip it. If you can read it from a neutral, rational mind, uninfluenced by culture, religion, beliefs or teachings, there you go.
With no further delay, let’s get bang on the topic, DATING and CASUAL SEX. When you say that you are going out for dinner with the opposite sex, it’s not so offensive to hear but the moment you say that you are on a date with someone, critics pour in to point fingers at your morality. What is dating really? Isn’t it not going out for dinner with the opposite sex, or precisely just going out to someplace nice where you can spend time with a person and try to get to know them? Agreed, arranged marriages are still predominant in India and it’s sad that there are families which issue curfew on dating with even the fiancé on the pretext of culture. When friendship itself happens only when people share interests and have a basic level of compatibility, how do we decide to spend our lifetime with a person without having the slightest clue about him or her? If a person’s qualification, earnings, caste and family background is supposed to make marriages, where is the place for love which is the foundation for a solid marriage? Post marriage love is most often compelled love, when it doesn’t work out, a pretentious love. Is there really an option? True love is only for fables and fairy tales, is it? Why not for us?
An argument from the older generation – it worked for us and it will work for you. Years back, life was simple. Women had domestic duties and men were the bread winners. There was a pre-defined template for every role and everyone fit into one or the other with minimum expectations. When a match was made between the right templates, it clicks. Simple, isn’t it? Are we still in the same place now? With feminism on the rising ebb, communication bringing world at your doorstep and expectations in manifolds, templates have blurred, mixing a little of here and little of there and ending up with confused individuals who find it difficult to adhere themselves to any tampered template for the society’s sake but persue stealth interests for their own sake, eroding the grounds which formed the basis for arranged marriages that worked in the previous generations.
An argument from the younger generation – We do it for our parents’ wishes. I would simply have to say that if you are old enough to get married and lead your life with a co-aged partner, you are old enough to come out of your parents’ wings, make decisions of your own and be responsible for it. While Westerners arrange their marriage ceremony with their own earnings, here we are still counting on our parents’ bank balance or even worse, dowries from in-laws. Shame! Shame! All parents want their children to be happy. By choosing your own happy life, you will be happy, thereby making them happy in the long run even though they sulk in the beginning. On the other hand, you choose a blind marriage and get messed with conflicts, you end up sad, making them sad and guilty, even though it had a happy beginning. Which do you want, a grand start or a happy ever after?
Do all love marriages succeed? No, that is because we fail to identify love in the real sense. I am not going to go into stories stating differences between love and infatuation for those have been told for ages and ages now. I am just saying that a special category called lust marriages disguise themselves as love marriages and I have to blame that on our culture. We can get attracted to a person, or infatuated to a person or fall in love with a person. All may or may not happen with the same person. Homo sapiens are polygamists by biology and animal attraction because of hormones is inevitable. Casual safe sex with the attracted person would bring the hormone levels to balance and clear it out. Since casual sex is not accepted in India, some chose to quench it with deviated sexual behaviour, sexual crimes or by getting married to the attracted person. When that attraction fades after mating, marriage breaks. Come on, you can have sex with the person you love but you cannot love a person just because you had sex with him or her. Marriage should be built upon love for that makes the essential bonding between the couples and the off-springs they produce.
That makes me ask the next question, why is casual consensual safe pre-marital sex prohibited in our culture? Mind you, I stress on ‘PRE-MARITAL’ because I still believe that post marriage, one that was made out of love and understanding, infidelity is a moral offense. Why is losing virginity before marriage an unforgiveable crime? Human beings are not fruits or vegetables to go bad at one fling. Even so, people go bad all the time by nurturing wrongful thoughts in their minds, by bad-mouthing others, by being envious. Being a virgin makes no one any better if they store trash in their heart and mind. Purity of a person to me means purity of thoughts and soul, not the body. Oh man, you remain a virgin and don’t take bath for 10 days, you will still stink. Paid sex is prostitution. Is pleasure sex too? If casual consensual sex was an open option, people wouldn’t get married for lust sake or commit crimes to satisfy their over-powering needs.
In those days, our culture prohibited casual sex because there were not much measures or awareness for safe sex. Casual sex would cause unwanted pregnancy, affecting the mother and the child’s future. Today, we come to know over-the-counter safety measures before we are even 18, don’t we? Women’s active sex life is from her puberty to her menopause that is roughly between the ages 12 to 45. Earlier days, women were married within months they reached puberty to contribute their role to the ecosystem in procreating. That’s not the case today. Women want to soar to heights and achieve results before they tie the knot in their later twenties or even later. Just because they postpone marriage, isn’t our culture limiting their sex life as well which is already limited by nature? Love should be packaged with marriage, why should sex?
Casual sex is so much better than the traditional arranged married sex where the bride and groom would have hardly seen each other before their wedding and would be expected to consummate their marriage by the end of the day. Crude! Let us see it this way. In an arranged marriage with everything matching with everyone, all background checks done and clear, how does the bride or groom come to know that their partner is gay or a lesbian until the wedding night? What if one of them is a sexual sadist and derives pleasure in unacceptable, intolerable fore-plays? Which background check reveals that? What is the fate of the person who had got entangled in such a marriage with a sadist that he or she didn’t even love in the first place? Tolerate and stay put as that is what our culture teaches us or divorce and become an object of ridicule in the Indian society which still hasn’t come around the concept of divorce fully yet. Won’t casual sex give the answer to it before you say go?
Marriages are made to last. When love between the couples is lost, marriage becomes meaningless. Bold people go out and nullify their void marriage with a divorce while meek ones stay put, accepting their fate and preaching to the society that they had long lasting marriages. What’s the point really? I would say, fall in and out of relationships many times, burn your fingers and shed your tears. But when you marry, marry once, marry for the rightful reasons to a right compatible loving partner and stay married happily ever after.
When Indian constitution is subject to amendments from time to time, why not Indian culture too? Let’s be proud of our heritage, of our monuments, art and art crafts, of our diversified community, different life-styles, basically everything that also makes up our culture. Where we need to upgrade and progress, we need to. Change cannot be stopped but we can move on. Even though we were hard-wired from birth with beliefs that makes it difficult to agree and follow the change, we can at least accept it, can’t we? After all, we live this life just once, why not live fully and happily?