The great Indian marriage is dead. The carcasses are still lying around the urban landscape and have not been cleared yet. Nobody has a clue what to do about the death of this mighty institution. But the beast that has replaced it has driven fear into the heart of the Indian man.
This beast is quite biased towards women, quite like King Kong had a soft spot for Ann Darrow. How can anyone forget the scene where King Kong picks her up and holds her under the waterfall and loving looks at her while she takes a shower?
What will the woman do with this beast? She will tame the beast and make it her pet and then what? The Indian man will become a plaything for the woman, much like she was for centuries when the great Indian marriage was still well flourishing. Of course, the pati parmeshwar, a translation of which means the husband God, is still struggling with his fall from grace. But he needs to recover quickly from his dethronement from the throne of invincibility.
Not only has he fallen, but also lies completely exposed. He has gone from being a powerful God to being a mere mortal whose failures are exposed to counsellors and best friends alike. He has nowhere to hide. And in many cases he gets booted out for not being competent enough or emotional enough or supportive enough.
But the Indian man may not become completely redundant if he decides to break through the paradigms that he is familiar with. He too can be a part of the new world order, if he manages to evolve fast enough that is. This will be as difficult as learning a new language after the age of 35. It basically means he will have to go against his conditioning.
First, he will have to lose his sense of entitlement. This is probably the hardest step. The Indian man is born with a great sense of entitlement. It is in his DNA and it is the primary reason why he is in this pathetic state.
In the New Age marriage, he has no exclusive privileges or rights for just being a "husband". A husband is no more synonymous with worship or indemnity. And to accept this, the man has to do something he has never had to do before. He has to look at it as a marriage of equals. Where his wife can do to him what he can do to her. This is a new equation that he will have to quickly learn.
Another problem the Indian man will have to figure out is how he is going to reinforce the balance in the marriage. He always had the scales tipping for him, as he was the sole breadwinner. But when that is taken away from him the scales go completely awry. And they tip dangerously towards women.
When a woman earns as much or more than her husband and runs her home like clockwork, why does she need him? The Indian man has to answer this question. Not a comfortable one. A marriage is all about give and take. And the woman has no reason to stay if she gives way more than she gets. And the age-old answer of "I-am-the-breadwinner-and-can-do-what-I-like" doesn’t cut it anymore.
But there is a solution to this mess. And it is actually quite a simple solution. From what I have gathered from most stories that I have collected over the years from friends and strangers, what changes drastically from the honeymoon period to the later years of marriage is the sex. Men become lazy and the sex becomes unsatisfactory. But say there is a marriage where the sex is great (I have only encountered one such case in the many people I have spoken to) why would the woman have reason to complain.
If the husband is giving her attention in the bedroom, it is likely that she will forgive him most of his failures and stay with him.
Again his sense of entitlement makes the Indian man a poor lover. He only looks at his own pleasure and not that of his wife. She is there to please him. He is by nature, a taker and to be a great lover you have to think of your partner and her pleasure and be ready to give. He has to work hard in this department. Women are harder to please than men and a little bit of effort will go a long way in keeping the wife satisfied.
There is an interesting point to be made here. The greatest lover we have in Indian literature is Devdas, who was so self-absorbed that he could barely see beyond his own misery. We don’t have a Don Juan in Indian literature. Strangely, where Indian literature has no great lovers, mythology is abundant with them. Krishna was supposed to be an irresistible lover – who charmed milkmaids and princesses alike and had them swooning. Have we as a culture lost its passion along the way? It’s possible.
But it shouldn’t be too hard for the men to relearn the art of loving and sex. After all we come from the land of the great Kamasutra, which has 101 positions to experiment with. Of course he will have to also work at being fit because these positions are impossible to pull off with a paunch. This would actually be good for him, as it seems that he is the unhealthiest specimen on the planet.
He absolutely needs to pleasure his wife or he is on his way to joining the congress in becoming extinct.
Some men have already understood this new version of the Indian marriage and have seamlessly moved into this operating system. But most men are struggling and they don’t have a clue about what’s going on.
The Indian wife can be kind and nurturing, but in her new empowered avatar she can be ruthless when she is unhappy. And if you can’t make her happy she will throw you on the bus headed for divorce land.
I feel quite sorry for the Indian man. But he had it coming and he had a long time to be prepared.