Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Balancing Act

This is the 12th one this year, I screamed. All Hell has broken loose it seems, people have gone mad or has there been a virus attack or what? Why is everyone so hellbound on marrying? Never ever have I heard of so many of my friends marrying in the same year.
Never ever have you been in the age in which you are now, Shavak retorted. It's nothing unusual, normal people do marry around this age and if you and me are not marrying then our families are to be blamed, he continued with a chuckle.
You will see our hairs will turn grey in another year or so and we won't be getting girls to marry he said with a laugh this time.
Hell!! Who wants to marry anyways? It's so scary, I don't think that I am yet well settled or am in the right shape to marry and those friends of ours are mostly of the same age, how come they decided to marry?
C'mmon don't talk rubbish you know parents pressure, someday or the other you have to bow down to it Shavak shouted while picking up his helmet which was sitting on my television( I never knew why he would keep his helmet only at that place, I told him many a times not to but then he won't listen).
"Khuda Hafiz" he said and went out in the scorching sun.
After he went I threw myself on the couch, some match was going on the television in which India was not in a good position(no wonder). With my eyes on the television and my mind on the marriage thing, I started thinking,
"Is marriage inevitable?"
"Will marriage change us in any way?"
I knew the answer to the first one for sure, also I was almost sure about the second question too but didn't know exactly "in which way?"
I have seen my colleagues marrying, a few of my friends marrying.

For sure they have changed and some have changed drastically, even those have changed who have sworn by the vodka bottle, that come what may they are never going to change.
"C'mmon yaar, we have been friends since last 10 years with just a girl walking in, how can I change. It will all remain same, our parties, our outings and watching cricket too."
But alas!! such people have changed the most.
So is it right that everyone changes and more important is that change inevitable?

When my long time friend Vishal married some 8 months back, it was a sudden shock to him(don't talk about me I got many such shocks later). He went to visit his place in the weekend, parent were all ready with photos and all. Within 2 days of time he met 5 girls.
The questions from parents came "how was the girl?"
The poor chap replied with honesty "she was good" and promptly came the reply "so we take it as you are ready to marry her".
Hey dad, I never said that.
Why? Is there a problem? You just said you liked the girl.
Yes I did but I don't want to marry right now.
Now you don't give your father those sort of answers, even though you have started earning we still know what is right for you. So don't make a fuss of it, some day or the other you have to marry, so why not now? "Aur aajkal acche rishte badi mushkil se milte hai" (parents sometimes talk in such a way as if scarcity of good girls or boys is predicted in the years to come)

With such arguments and counter arguments lastly he relented and was ready to marry, nevertheless he was happy that the girl which was selected was very pretty and 98 out of 100 chances had he met that girl outside this 'shaadi' thing he would have liked her to be his girlfriend and may be later would have married her.

So in the end with grand ceremonies and all he was married, I remember his marriage because after a long time I had seen so many 'baraatis' (there were around 400) participating in the shaadi and by the time 'pheres' were concluded every dish in the non-veg section was finished. And yea I also remember his wedding because that was the first time I had to dance in a 'baraat'. I never liked the idea of dancing on the road but then for friends you have got to do things which you would abhor otherwise.
I started noticing the change in him after around 4 months of his marriage, we had hardly spoken at length in the past 4 months, firstly it was his honeymoon and then work pressure after coming back but then after all that settled down even now when he was not able to take out time, then it struck me.
I tried calling him a few times, we would talk for 4-5 mins, "how are you?", "how's work?" sort of things but it was just a formality. Even he would call me once in a while but our call still would be on the same lines. A few of the times when I called in the evening and his wife picked up I kind of felt odd, like I am invading their privacy. None of them gave me that feeling but just that a thought crept within me and I stopped calling in the evenings or nights.
Whenever asked about weekend plans he would have to go out with wife for shopping or to meet relatives or will have some work at home.
At times when we have met on some friend's party or function he would have to leave early and now no one could pursue him to stay.

So did Vishal changed? for sure he did but then why did he changed? And was this change inevitable?

When Robin married, a couple of months after that it became difficult for him to manage between office life and his married life. He had been working since past 3 yrs in our organization I would see him working for 12 hours on a normal working day and even when we would have asked him to leave he would keep on doing some or the other work (the initial work pressure, finished his social life and now when he had time he didn't wanted to go out and socialize as he wasn't in the habit of doing that now, same old story of a software developer).

Now after his marriage he wanted to leave after standard 8 hrs of work but couldn't, some or the other work keeps on coming as soon as he plans to leave. It became difficult, wife wanted his time his company wanted his time. The company didn't want him to change just coz he is married, if you were working 12 hrs a day till now the company would like you to work at the same pace now too. And after you are married you hardly can annoy the company, every person wants that job security whichever position he or she might be in.
Though Robin still used to finish his work but now the time that he used to spend in the company has reduced. He would seldom stay late unless the work is of critical nature. While in office he would get the phone call of his wife atleast 3-4 times a day, and then he would start worrying about the things back home.
No gas in the house, Groceries for the house, have to go for the tapestry today. Things started to happen in his life and his undivided attention that previously used to go to work and work alone was divided and may be slightly more on the house hold chores.
And after a while the pressure started showing on his work. It was not the same quality of work that he was delivering before, code with lots of bugs and logics implemented with so many bottlenecks, he would miss some obvious testing scenarios in his code (previously he would help out others with them). Your lead and managers don't give you much space to breath and this low quality code from Robin was unacceptable.
He had hard times then, he was trying to balance his life between office and home but he was a novice to begin with in this thing called 'marriage'. Friends and colleagues around him would joke upon the fact that marriage has changed him completely. The person who wouldn't go out with his friends even if work was pending had to at times leave when his wife would call him up for some urgent pending work at home.

So why did Robin changed? Did he now gave less priority to his work?

Ruchika has always been the girl I always admired, whenever in office she meant business, despite her drop dead gorgeous looks and several males around making passes at her, her attention wouldn't get diverted. I wondered how. Not that she wouldn't have light moments but yea if they came as part of the tasks assigned to her.
So when she got married everyone thought that now she wouldn't be too long in the office (it so used to happen that girls marrying would leave the job soon in pursuit of striking a balance between their married life and office work) but as I knew her, I had no doubts that she would continue the work the only thing I had interest in was in seeing as to how a girl changes after marriage.
As the time passed by yes she did change she would have to rush back to home at times, would have to take a day off at times (coz of some function at home) would get late at times and yea previously when she was always worried about her work and her weekends, that was now divided between her home, her husband, her inlaws, and office (you don't have weekends for yourself ever, once you get married).

The thing I liked was she was trying so hard to strike that balance, she would do things which she would have never done if she wasn't married, without any complains.
So yea when I saw her change it was like, may be it was a normal phenomenon after marriage.

May be there is a time in life when you are completely at your own, you work for yourself, when you are happy that happiness is yours only, when you are down and out you yourself would kick yourself up and get going. There are things that you would do for yourself, you are on your own, you like working, you like to have that separate identity of yours which you have created with your own efforts.
In short you love your life that way, without any bounds and most important even without anyone for you.
Marriage introduces a new person in your life and you are made to understand that your life is now not yours alone.
Yes things would change and you would change, even without marrying I can understand that now. You are habituated to things, to your surroundings, to people around you.
One fine morning when you wake up and see that world around you has changed, there is someone else with you now, sharing your bed and your life, you are no longer alone, you can no longer have that carefree and independent life, it must be a whacky feeling.

May be your slippers are not exactly by the side of your bed, may be your towel is not at the right place, things change, may be your morning tea which you used to make yourself is sitting by your bedside and it contains more milk then you are habituated to.
The first reaction of every person would be to revolt, you would like to scream and shout and do everything possible to show that you are not happy but then deep within the heart you realize, that new someone who has come in your life is yours and you have to live with him/her for the "rest of your life" (as they say) and you start understanding and start dealing with the things in a much civilized manner.
You start taking care of that other person much more than yourself (it may be an outcome of a fear that you have to get this new relation going or may be just a human nature) and may be the change becomes inevitable.

You change, you sure as hell do change, change for that someone new in your life, change to keep your new life happy, change in the fear that things shouldn't go wrong, change for the other new related people who have come in your life.
In which way your life changes? does it change for good or bad? these are tricky questions , it then solely depends upon the perception of the person. But nonetheless life starts teaching you some new lessons, to be patient, to work with people around you, the ability to understand, the ability to put your point across without hurting anyone (coz that anyone is now your husband or wife). May be you become more compassionate. Most important life slowly and gradually teaches you to strike a balance between different facets of your life. It is like you have gone one round up in a computer game and situations would be more complicated with every step you take in future.
The best way to play this game? the good or bad thing is that there isn't a standard way to do that, every person devices his/her own method to tackle the upcoming situations.

For a while the people you have known for so long takes a backseat and your attention is diverted towards those new people who have come into your life overnight. For a while you take those people for granted(be it your friends, your colleagues, your relatives or for that matter your company), that if they have stuck with you for so long and with all that you have done for them in the past, they would be there and understand you in this new situation.
And that comfort is the least that you can ask for with your whole life changing infront of you.