Love, Sex and Marriage – Indian Style !
Venkateswara Bhat (Venky) was my school mate. He is a priest in a Hindu temple now. Few years ago, he came to see me while I was working in Bangalore. He was on the way to Jagannath Puri. I insisted him to stay with me for a couple of days in Bangalore. He agreed to that.
We were sitting and chatting in my office when a young lady, Nandita Rao, came to my office with her boy-friend to invite me for her marriage. Nandita introduced her to-be man-in-life, Abdul Nazir to us, in turn, I introduced Venky to them.
Nandita was a PR person who was living together with another man. Without me asking she explained about her ex-boy friend: “Don’t ask me anything Uday, we were in deep love….we were living together for six months. Then I understood, he is a scum-bag and dirty shit…So we parted…phew…what a relief….”
Then she looked at the Abdul Nazir sitting near her and put her arms around him: “But, we are very open, we discuss everything. I didn’t hide anything from Abdu. This is my sweetu….” Abdul apparently beamed.
“I wish you all the best…” I said.
Suddenly without any provocation, Venky asked: “Is it OK if I ask you something. Please don’t feel hurt – I am from a different culture, so unable to understand your level of thinking…”
“Oh, any friend of Uday is my, no our, friend …you can ask anything….”
He asked her: “Was it expensive, your love affair?”
“Yes – of course, he was getting me expensive gifts…I also bought gifts for him…” Nandita said.
“Then, did you sleep together?” Venkat asked
“Yes- of course…we always made love too…that’s the best part, you know”
“And after six months, you are sleeping with this man…”
“Do you have any guarantee that this marriage will be a happy ever after story?”
This time reply came from Abdul: “How can we say sir? If we cannot adjust to each other, we will part peacefully – we won’t fight like street dogs, you know. We have decided on it. We have a strong legal system in India….but as of now, we love each other…”
“What a beautiful idea!!!” I told him sarcastically.
“So both of you claim that you love each other…”
“Not a claim, but a truth……” Abdul held Nandita’s palm. She said something in sotto-voice, the way you see in superficial love-movies.
“But I don’t know why you are using the word “love making” for your sexual act of intercourse?” Venky asked: “How is it related to love?”
“We are in love – love-making is the utmost expression of love…why, you don’t know?”
“No – I didn’t. As far as I am concerned, love and sex are two different words. Sex can sometimes be a part of love….but do you really need love to involve in sexual act? NO. Don’t you agree Uday?”
“Yes- I agree with you…Statistically speaking, If you take the total number of sexual acts happening around the world(given in this moment), only less than one percent of partners really love each other…” I shared my knowledge that I acquired from reading.
“So how can you call it “love-making”? Love is such a beautiful and divine expression and why should you misuse such words here?” Venky asked.
“Oh, you are taking it verbally…” Nandita.
“No…the concept of love is different here. For these people, love means dating, kissing and sex – is there anything more than that?” Venkat asked bluntly.
“These are parts of love, dude, this is a different generation…you know?” Abdul mimicked Venky’s voice.
“Oh, really? Now my second question – what is the difference between “hourly” love-making and “yearly” love making?”
“The difference between prostitution in the Red-Street and your act of sex? Please excuse my rudeness and don’t get offended, this is an academic question – apart from time difference, are there any other differences? I mean, in the Red-Street, you spend money on “hourly” basis for sex, in your words “love-making”. But your enlightened generation is doing it in a slightly longer-time basis, may be monthly or yearly basis. Here also expenses and money is involved. To cut it short, prostitution is one-hour paid “love-making” and yours is a six-month-long expensive “love-making” Venky asked.
Both of them got angry and red.
“Why are you getting angry? I said, I am coming from a different culture. I am not in this pop-up generation. Why can’t you explain this to an ignorant man like me?” Venky asked again.
Nandita got up and shown her finger to him and walked out of my room. Abdul gave me an angry look and got out.
“Hey, Nand, Abdu, wait, wait…please” I got up. Things were getting out of control.
Venky kept on telling:” I still have this doubt – do you need love to involve in sex? As long as hormones are produced in the body and you have health, you can have sex. Why do you mix both?”
“Venky, keep silent for a while. You have hurt them. I would suggest apology…” I said.
Then both of them looked back.
“I am sorry guys…this friend of mine comes from a different culture…let me apologize for him…”
“No Uday, I don’t have any hesitance in asking apology. You don’t have to steep lower for me. It was my game….” Venky turned to them and said: “Sorry…I didn’t mean to hurt you…”
“Sit down please…” I told.
All of them sat down.
“What’s your opinion Uday?” Venky asked.
“You belong to a generation just before the internet revolution in India…So, I would be glad to know your opinion too…” Nandita said.
“Hmm. For me too, love and sex are two different things. Sex may be a compulsive, physical, chemical and violent act. And it, of course, is pleasurable. The beauty of sex is that sometimes it ends up with a creation. Love is something else. Who can define it? If you believe in a concept, whether it is Eastern or Western, how can you experience? A believer never can experience. His/her mind is conditioned with concepts or beliefs, hence not free.”
– Everybody is an unique expression. Everybody is different – just like your finger prints. And the experience one has is different from the other person. No two people can have same experience – this is a simple, proven truth known to everybody.
“You mean to say a person in love affair cannot experience love? What an idiotic thinking…” Abdul said.
“People have different concepts, beliefs, perceptions, notions, etc about love. Nobody wants to experience the experience of love, as they are busy in interpreting their concepts and judge others. I have come across many couples in my life – of different age groups and different ethnic groups. Most of them face almost same problem – love lost, love failure and cheat.” I said.
“Even today, I don’t understand anything about this conceptual love… Could anybody please explain to me,” Venky asked.
“See, Mr.Venky doesn’t know about love…he might have married to a love-less pumpkin sati-savitri typo, who wears around huge silk sari, decorate hair with huge chunk of flowers and covered by gold jewelry” Abdul teased him.
“Uday, you too!” Venky said.
“No – this is a sorry situation of any typical Indian husband…I know lot of men use microscope to check if there is an expiry date imprinted in his marriage certificate…But you are done for the life…” I said, “But wives will have a different story altogether about their moron, lousy and idiotic husbands…”
“I am sure; you won’t worry even if your love-less wife eloping with somebody…” Abdul told Venky. I knew it will again turn into troubled fighting.
“I would rather be scared…” I said.
“Scared of wife running away with somebody…?” Nandita raised her eye-brows.
“No- would be scared that the so-called somebody would come back to return her…” I said.
Everybody laughed. I felt relaxed.
“Oh, now please listen to me – there shouldn’t be any hard feelings. There is nothing wrong in arguing, but fighting for an argument is fanatic. We should always agree to disagree…” I said.
“But you didn’t explain your concept of love…” Nandita asked me.
“I never had any concepts…” I said.
“But his love story, I would say, is the biggest miracle in the world” Venky said.
“Venky you know that was the only divine blessing that I had in my life…my experience of love…Please lets don’t mix it up here” I said.
“Can you please tell it to us? I know you have vivid experiences in life…” Nandita said.
“Yes – I too am curious to know…but before that I would request you to finish what you have been telling me about having concept and not having a concept” Abdul reminded me.
“OK. It is like this. I have heard today’s girls or boys saying these things: “I am crazy about him”. Crazy means nuts. May have attracted like a magnet. But where is love? “I fell in love instantaneously” Shouldn’t fall. It’s an accident. Especially when it happens instantaneously. You should elevate in love, right? “Our love is eternal…it is not like others, I cannot explain…” In that case, why do you break up? “We are madly in love and got married” A good reason to file a divorce petition in the family court. You can still accuse of the same madness.”
“Yes those are all common now… I agree” Nandita said. Others two nodded.
“The rate of divorce cases is alarmingly high now…” I said.
“Yes. Social scientists say – this is because, now-a-days females are financially independent and earning, so they don’t want to surrender to males and male-chauvinism, hence divorce happens. This explanation appears very logical,” Nandita said. “Previously, females used to have silent sufferings…not anymore. In short, today’s females are not yielding to male chauvinist pigs”
“But my question is that, was there any love? If it was love, then why did it break? How can a real love fail? When I talked to young gals and boys, though most of them (especially gals) say love is something like “soul searching”, “spiritual” or “divine” (they use very heavy words that I don’t understand). They say lot of concepts on love”
“Yeah. If you dig deeper into this, they have nothing, but just physical attraction and feelings created by sexual hormones inside the body. Those feelings may have come in disguise, as the person who experience may not consciously feel it as is. Thoughts can always deceive you, right?” Venky said.
“This is the greatest manipulation of mind. It won’t allow you to experience the real love…” I said.
“And they have termed a beautiful phrase for the sexual act that they do before and after marriage: It is known as “love making…ha…ha…” Venky said in between. Nandita and Abdul gave him an angry look.
“See…A man-woman relationship is compulsive and it is that chemistry of hormones that works – not love. The current concept of love is originated from misleading cinemas, advertising skits and Facebook stories. The nature put you together whether you love or not….”I said.
“Hmmm…In short, you are telling whatever Venky had told us earlier. But in a more diplomatic, soothing and scientific way. Venky was at least blunt in expressing his opinion….you Uday, you are very shrewd…” Nandita said.
“Yeah, yeah… Mr.Uday is very cunning…” Abdul said.
“No, I said, he was shrewd” Nandita said. “Cunning is a negative word”
“Oh, come on, both are the same, I am major in English literature” Abdul said.
“No Abdul, I was a copy writer before turning to PR. If you take Mahabharat epic, Krishna was shrewd and Sakuni was cunning. When you use intelligence for good things it is known as shrewdness”
“Oh, don’t bring those religious characters here – we have agreed to keep religion outside…”Abdul said.(Abdul is a Muslim and Nandita is a Hindu)
“Hey, lovers, you are arguing for silly things. You can call me whatever you want, I won’t feel hurt…”I said.
“Aha, coming back to our discussion, given a chance, Uday sir would say love marriage is a failure and arranged marriage is a success…” Abdul laughed.
“Let me ask you a question then – Is a marriage -whether it is love or arranged – pre-destined or it is just free will?”
“Things will happen based on Allah’s or god’s will. We have no role in it…” he said. (Allah is Muslim concept of God)
“Ok. Then, how is it related to love? If you believe in destiny, you can love the spouse after marriage- what difference it will make? It’s all destiny, right?”
“So, even in this modern world, you support arrange marriages?” Nandita asked.
“As a matter of fact, I have seen success rate is higher in arranged marriages….”
“Statistically speaking…”Nandita mocked in my voice.
“Yes- statistically speaking…both can be failures. But it (failure) happens more in love marriages”
“Why is it so?”Abdul asked.
“There is no fools-proof marriage systems. We can look at comparative figures – that’s all. In most of love marriages, both do not experience love. Both are getting attracted each other for various reasons, except for love. Both have different culture and different concepts of love. Mind would still be conditioned with various concepts. This will create a conflict of interest and develop into frequent fights, once the mutual attraction is over…:”
“That happens in arranged marriages too…”
“Yes. First, let me clarify something – love and marriages are two different words. Just as in the case of sex, it is not mandatory that all married couples love each other. It is really great, if they love. But in majority case, today’s marriage is a matter of convenience. But there is nothing wrong in it, as far as it doesn’t create violence…Marriage has become a basic foundation of family that constitute society. It is living together of two egos or two conditioned-minds. If love exists then the ego disappears. But it is unlikely in most cases as the human is auto-piloted by conditioned mind.”
“So, irrespective of love or arranged, you mean to say all marriages are not happy and just a social adjustment…” Venky interrupted.
“Do not put words into my mouth Venky. I didn’t say that. When one ego is surrendered to the other, the society will rate it as a successful marriage. But the couples and family members would know the reality. What would be the outcome – the surrendered person (wife or husband) would eventually develop psycho-somatic or other diseases as he/she is constantly suppressing the ego…”I paused.
“That’s true, I have read it somewhere…”Nandita said…”Just because married life is unhappy a spouse can even develop cancer…”
“So what is the secret of real happy married life…” Abdul asked.
“Love each other. Surrendering for love will give you happiness and produce happy hormones in the body. Both will be healthy. So we need to understand the difference between surrendering to ego; and to love….Where ever love exists, there can’t be ego or violence…So irrespective of what sort of marriage you are in, there need to be love.”I said.
“Indirectly, Indian system of arranged marriage is better, you would say?” Nandita asked.
“I didn’t say that…”
“What was the purpose of marriage according to Indians?” Abdul asked.
“Why Mr.Abdul, are you not an Indian?” Venky interrupted.
“I mean, Hindu marriage dude” Abdul replied.
Marriage is one among the 16 “samskaras” (purificatory ceremony) of the life as viewed by Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism). The purpose of the marriage is viewed as that of aiding the creation of the higher and higher intelligent species in the homo sapiens for achieving the realization of the supreme – that’s why the gotra (tribe), caste, community, lineage, parambara (DNA) etc became very important. This thought was viewed by modern men as the stupidity of the Hindus barring the individual freedom of the soul to enjoy free sex and free life.
“So it is not individualistic…”
“Not at all…our ancestors viewed marriage as a sacrament and not a contract. Hindu marriage is a life-long commitment of one wife and one husband, and is the strongest social bond to the community”
“How idiotic!”Abdul said….”still believing in caste and tribe…superstitiously traditional…”
“Why Mr.Addul, even if you buy a horse or dog, the first thing you would look at is pedigree, right? So why can’t we look at caste and gotra in marriage?” Venky asked. Everybody ignored it, as there was no mood for further fights.
“You still didn’t answer my question – you mean to say arranged marriages are better?” Nandita asked.
“Nand, have you seen your grandmother?”
“Yes. In fact, even my granny’s mother was alive till I was four”
“What would she call her husband?”
“Pati dev” (husband-god)
“And how did her husband address her?”
“Patni devi” (wife-goddess)
“So, it was devotion towards the end…a life started with blessings of elders, relatives, friends, society…the couple would grow up together. They developed physical attraction first; later to end up in devotion…that was our tradition…. And our concept of love – that developed without sex (of course, at a stage sex was a part of it) and ended without sex. They used sex for creativity, not for violence. Look at our ancestors – towards the end of their life, the couple develops devotion to each other, not a sexual hormonal attraction…It always lead to stronger and healthy society too”
“And child marriage too, you will agree to that…”Abdul teased me.
“Even as a Muslim, Abdul is dead-against lowering marriage age for a girl” Nandita said.
“In fact, physically a girl can marry at a younger age – that’s how nature has designed her. Legally it is wrong, but scientifically and naturally there is nothing wrong in it.” I said.
“Now he would say, even polygamy is good” Abdul teased.
“Only if you have capacity to love more than one person…but is unconditional love possible for you?” I asked, “My concern is that there is no love in so-called affairs or marriages – whether it is polygamy or child marriage. Even arranged marriages are a commercial event now. That means, today’s system is revolves around mind-body level, not beyond that. It doesn’t concern about our cosmic existence which is based on pure love. So in today’s world, there is no love in any (or most of the) marriages, even if it is a love marriage…” I said.
“The pure love never fails. I heard lot of couples complaining about love failure – how can love be a failure? The moment you think of love, an eternal happiness should engulf you – it was there, and it will be there. It is not lost. If love breaks in between, it was not love; it was some expectations based on one’s concepts or imagery.”
“Uday, I am sorry to say you are neither practical, nor romantic. You don’t know any concepts of love…”Nandita said.
“Ah, you are telling this to Uday…” Venky asked…”I was advising him to write his real life love story that can be made a wonderful Hollywood movie”
“Ignore him…What do you mean by concepts of love?” I asked Nandita
“You should read Romeo and Juliet…or go and see the movie Titanic”
“I have seen Titanic and all episodes of Twilight saga too. I have learned that Shakespearean drama. I know those are influencing your thoughts on love. And it develops a concept…”
“As a matter of fact, I have read about major concepts of love too…Have you ever read the love story of your own ancestors? Have you read Kalidasa’s Meghadutam?. If you add all Romeos and Juliets, Jacks and Roses, Edwards and Bellas – together, still those concepts will look too puny when you compare with Meghadutam….”
“Really, did our ancestors have love stories?”
“Nand, perhaps nowhere in this world glorifies the idea of love between two sexes as that was in India. We have immortal love legends…There are beautiful stories of Kacha and Devayani, Usha and Aniruddha, Savitri and Satyavan, Madhavanala and Kamakandala, Urvashi and Pururva, Dushyant and Sakuntala or between gods like Shiv Parvathi and Radha and Krishna…the list is endless…Have you ever heard about this? About our own ancestors?”
“No…not at all…nobody taught me that…You have been a techn-journo. When did you learn these puranic stories, Uday?”
“I know little bit from here and there.” I said.
“Hmm… this is a false humility. Uday always act humble – he really is not. Even when he was an atheist, I used to contact him to clear my doubts on Hindu puranas…He has professionally learned all Hindu scriptures” Venkat praised me.
“That’s not true…he is just hitting at me,” I said…”I have read something, that’s all….In fact we Hindus have a god for love too…”
“Who was it?” Abdul asked.
“Kamadeva, born out of the heart of Creator Lord Brahma (that signifies love from heart and not from mind) who is depicted as a youthful being with a greenish or reddish complexion, decked with ornaments and flowers, armed with a bow of sugarcane, strung with a line of honeybees and floral arrowheads…”
“Oh, what a beautiful picturization…I didn’t know all these things” Nandita said.
“You have to know about your ancestors Nand. Then only you will realize the strength and characteristics of your DNA. The real meaning of love…And you will be successful only if you follow the gentetical codes. If you try to imbibe alien concepts that would create conflicts and violence” I advised her, “It is not late yet. Try and search for the characters I mentioned just now…you may Google it – then you will at least know something about love.”
“Yeah, even Taj Mahal tells you a beautiful story of love…”Abdul said.
“How can it be a symbol of love Abdul? Mumtaz was Shah Jahan’s 4th wife, out of his 7 wives. She was happily married to another guy and was leading pleasant life. ShaJahan applauded by the beauty of Mumtaz, killed her husband, her kid and married her. And Mumtaz died in her 14th delivery. Imagine how Mumtaz would have suffered with continuous 14 pregnancies. Immediately after her death, Shah Jahan married Mumtaz’s sister….How can we say there was a true love ?” Venky asked.
“Venky, it is just a symbolic representation of a concept of love, that’s all” I said.
“Still you didn’t say your experience of love…” Abdul changed the topic
“Yeah, yeah, he is changing the subject” Nandita said.
“What do you think of your first love…”I asked her.
“He is an ass hole. If I see him, I would slap in his face…”
“And you loved him once…”
“Yes, I did”
“And what about Abdul, did you have love affair before this?”
“Ha! I know! I knew this. He was a love- Jihad agent…”Venky said. Abdul gave him a nasty look. (Love Jihad is an alleged activity under which some fanatic young Muslim boys and men reportedly target school/college girls belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love.)
“Venky…” I raised my voice.
“When you think about her, what would you feel now?”
“I feel like throwing up … nauseous…”Abdul said.
“See – this is the difference. I have experienced love in my life. Even now, if I face troubles in my life, or if I feel stressed, upset or tensed, all I have to do is to think about her and our love…In a moment, a cool gentle breeze of affectionate wind would come from nowhere and soothes my body with a magical touch… An unknown kindest divine energy will flow through. It would give me instant feeling of happiness and relaxation….that’s what I call love…” I paused.
“I know about his story…”Venky said.
“If I have a next birth too, this will be same for me…because I have realized that love is eternal….it is beyond space time continuum…” I said.
“But you wouldn’t remember who you were in the previous birth, right?” Abdul asked.
“I won’t. But the love won’t be lost. It will still be existing in the cosmic spectrum. And it would remember me. And I would experience it, I am sure and that’s the strength of my love…”
“I am curious…Can you tell me that love story…”
“I am not good in explaining it…words would fail me. It has to be experienced…”I said.
“Very true…I know about it. Even I feel happy when I think about his love experience…”Venky added….”That’s what real love is…it will spread fragrance and joy…”
“Who was she? Did you marry her? What happened?” Nandita asked.
“In this experience, there is no end, no comedy, no tragedy – love is love. It has to be experienced….and that’s the real and only divine experience that anyone can have in this universe…You have to experience the real love instead of chasing some idiotic filmy concepts and opposite sex” I said.
“Yes- but only if you have the similar blessings. Uday had god’s blessings…Lord Vishnu protects him, you know…” Venky added.
“Could be a blessing from the divine. Could be just a coincidence. Or could be result of persistence tapasya (penance) for years or lives together? I really do not know…but real love can happen to anybody. There is no limitation of space and time in real love…It is just as you experience the existence of divine energy.”
Nandita and Abdul looked each other. For a moment they were speechless.
“So, what’s your advice for us?” Nandita asked.
“There shouldn’t be any hurt in real love. Your marriage shouldn’t cause any dis-harmony to anybody and anything. Today or tomorrow, or in next birth. Your parents and your children shouldn’t get hurt because of any of your actions that you take in the name of love. If love is real, happiness derives from that. If there is no love, violence will erupt. So, if you are sure can take care of this aspect, then, yes, go ahead and marry – that’s my advice…: I said.
They didn’t utter a single word. They got up nodded their heads. They shook my and Venky’s hands and left.
“I know what will happen to them.”Venky told me.
“How, are you a soothsayer Venky Bhat?”
“No – you made them realize that there was no love in between them. They will think over it. It was just an affair or attraction that would end anytime if situation changes. Your love was eternal, irrespective of situation, space and time. Please write about it Uday – let people realize the truth of love”
“If it is a cosmic wish, I would. I don’t know…” I said. May cosmic bless all of us to have real experience of love. For further reading, please visit: udaypai.in
February 12, 2013
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© Uday Lal Pai. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org