The famous author arrived at a book talk. There was a silence as people took in his persona, his presence. After a brief introduction, he started talking informally. He said something about his wife and added. Oh… so casually…” As you all know, I have two wives”. It elicited a short chuckle from the men who were present and a squirm from the ladies. Yeah, everyone knew he had two wives and that the second one was half his age. He had three kids, now grownup, from his first wife and a boy, who was now around 5 years of age, from his second wife. Yes. A second wife, that too when the first one was alive, was something to feel proud of and flaunt to the public. “Oh, that author? He has two wives, lucky chap!” the other men, even those who publicly proclaimed that even one wife was a pain in the neck, felt a bot left out. Oh yes, there was some rule that government employees can’t be polygamous but who cares? Someone has to complain, right? And one could always brush it off saying its all false and anyways, no one could marry a second time in court, right? One would marry secretly in a temple, as they show in movies or right in the puja room. After all, its just a bit of “sindhur” or a “mangal sutra” which would distinguish between a live-in relationship and a legal marriage.
A famous actor marries a second time and yes, he has converted to another religion. So convenient! The first wife has to clearly give her permission for her husband to marry again. But that can always be arranged. The kids from the first wedding? Oh, they will always be on papa’s side as he is the one with the ‘moolah”.
A decade or two back, famous royal household proved this when the first and legal wife was thrown out and the kids supported their father and his new bride. So much for “mother” and she is being the center of children’s life! But that’s for the moneyed, honey. Not for people like us, the mango people, for whom “family”’ “maa”, “ijjat” are all sacrosanct. Many a marriage ended up with such an arrangement and probably still does, in many families, where the wife is submissive. And why is she submissive? It has something to do with education, financial situation, parental family support. societal pressures and more importantly, her attitude. So, a man go scot free or end up in prison, depending on the above factors which govern his wife’s reaction.
On the other hand, can a woman boldly proclaim” I have two husbands?” and get away from it? “Oh, an extra marital affair? To compensate what the marriage couldn’t give? Hmmm… ok, as long as its within wraps. Careful ok, in this age of internet, tracking, digital footprints and all. But a second wedding? That too when the first husband is married to you? Oh, c’mon, don’t be silly. The husband who is will surely bash up the husband-to-be. Worse still, kill him and go to jail. What about the kids. Oh, how could you be so inconsiderate? Haven’t you heard of horror stories of second husband abusing kids from first marriage? Let me tell you, my dear, even if you divorce and marry a second time, there is no guarantee that it will work out. Adjust na, men will be men. Don’t take his idiosyncrasies seriously. Just let it be. But never even talk about another wedding without divorcing, don’t think of it, even otherwise!!
Well, a mother’s role is more important than fathers, there is no doubt on that… but still….
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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