In a 2010 study conducted by Kashmir Universitys Sociology Department, it was found that the marriageable age of the present day youth of Kashmir had increased from 28 to 32 in case of boys and from 22 to 28 in case of girls.
Hope for love, pray for love, wish for love, dream for love But dont put your life on hold waiting for love.(Mandy Hale, The Single Woman)
It was one of those lazy afternoons when all you wanted to do was sleep. Suddenly the door bell rang. My neighbor, whom I fondly call Pinky, was standing there all red eyed with tears streaming down her face. On asking her about the reason, I came to know that her father had rejected yet another marriage proposal for her stating that the prospective grooms three storey house wasnt big enough. At thirty five years of age, she was now ashamed of visiting anyone, as every where she went people would only ask her why she wasnt already married.
Does this story sound familiar? Well it is the story of most girls today.
In a study conducted by Kashmir Universitys Sociology Department in 2010, it was found that the marriageable age of the present day youth of Kashmir had increased from 28 to 32 in case of boys and from 22 to 28 in case of girls. There are numerous reasons behind this change. Some state the biggest reason to be prioritization of education. If you had asked Pinky about her plans for marriage some 10 years back, her prompt reply would have been that I have to complete my education first, which wouldnt sound odd or strange to any girl living in our society. Since our society lays unnecessary emphasis on having kids right after marriage, many girls prefer completing their education before marriage.
Yet another leading cause is the unusual expectations todays generation has from their dream partner. Once my neighbor completed her studies, she began her search for the perfect partner. The qualities she had in mind were so influenced by Bollywood fairytale marriages that hardly any guy in the real world could fit in the picture. After a prolonged search (on her own of course), she miserably declared that there was no suitable match for her. So who did she turn to for a solution Yes, you guessed it right, her parents. But wait the story doesnt end here. Now her parents had a certain standard to maintain in the society so how could any pious hardworking guy be a suitable groom. After all, the neighbors had to be jealous of not only the elaborate wedding functions but also the huge amount jewelry and gifts the prospective in-laws got the bride. After rejecting nearly as many boys as their combined ages, her marriage was finally fixed with a boy from a well off family. The boys unemployed status was casually brushed aside saying his family is quite rich so he doesnt need to earn. All seemed well and every occasion would witness a huge exchange of gifts until the girls mother in law got offended because she was gifted gold jewelry worth much less than she expected. No amount of cajoling or buying her more gifts would soften her greedy heart and finally she broke off the engagement stating that she didnt want to marry her son to a miserly family. As incredulous as it may sound, this story is not fabricated. Most of the girls can relate to it. Be it the unusual expectations or the demands for expensive gifts, the result is that girls in their late thirties are sitting at home unmarried.
Everything in this universe has been accorded a specific time. The same holds true for marriage. Delayed marriages are a major source of depression. In a report published by the University of Virginia, it was found that the suitable marrying age is 26 for women and 28 for men. Unmarried people in their late twenties were reported to have higher rates of depression than their married peers. Women in their late thirties and early forties were also more at risk of giving birth to children with down syndrome and mental disabilities.
The need of the hour is to rethink our whole attitude towards marriages because if the present trend continues, we are looking at an era where people will lose faith in the institution of marriage altogether. Marriages should be made easier and simpler, not tougher. Marriages should be harbingers of peace and solace, not anxiety and depression. They shouldnt be a hurdle in realizing our dreams. Instead, they should act as stepping stones to a better and happier life.
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