As the evening hour strikes every day, my father sits down with his headphones all ready to get on a Zoom call for a reunion with his school friends. The whole house reverberates with his loud laughs that sometimes bring a smile to our faces too in this gloomy period. But when I look towards the kitchen, I see my mother sweating it out to prepare a meal for the family. She has no reunion on video calls to attend, shes is not in touch with any childhood friends to laugh so heartily with. Not that she didn’t go to school, she is a Botany graduate. But once she got married, the life before it slowly became insignificant. She got busy in her married life and lost all contacts with her friends. Why do women lose connection with their individuality and friends once they get married? Why does the life that they had before marriage suddenly cease to exist? And why are women expected to be content with this change?
We all know how important friendship is when it comes to coping with day-to-day struggles. But once a woman gets married, she often loses contact with her childhood and college friends, satisfied with simply reliving the fond memories of the time that she shared with them. Rarely do women try to contact each other because they assume that once married, the husband’s family becomes every woman’s priority. But just because one gets to nurture a new family, does it mean that sustaining our old friendships isn’t important? Is friendship only about having fun with each other? Can’t old friends be your support system throughout your life? Helping you cheer up through struggles of family life or even a pandemic?
It is not as if women stop forging friendships altogether after marriage. Often a woman is expected to fit herself in her husband’s life and friend-circle and befriend the wives of his friends. Sometimes these friendships turn out to be wonderful, but it doesn’t change the fact that she may have let go of her old circle, being too busy to fit in and function well in her new life. She is expected to go to the husband’s school reunion parties and listen to and absorb all his childhood stories and youth experiences.
Is an average Indian husband equally interested in his wife’s personal life when it doesn’t concern him? Why can’t society stand with the fact that a woman can have a life outside of the one that concerns her husband or family? The major reason is that society never perceives women as individuals with choices, happiness and freedom. They are expected to dissipate into their husband’s life, happiness, and problems.
But, it is high time that society stops resisting when a woman takes charge of her life and refuses to restrict it to marriage, husband, and house. Dear women, don’t lose your old friendships after marriage. Never let matrimony take away your sense of self even if it is reaffirmed by catching up with your childhood friends. Talk to them over the phone, invite them over or visit them and just relive the good old days. Make your old friendships a part of your married life too. Because marriage is only a part of the dynamic spectrum of life that only you can own. To have one’s own social life and a reliable friend circle gives a sense of freedom, support and ownership in life. And women deserve it all.
The views expressed are the author’s own.