When women choose not to marry these days — and many, as we all know, are opting to stay single — I begin to ponder the oft-pondered question: what manner of man does a woman look for when she looks to marry?
In Hindu mythology there are many gods we profess to worship. Who would fit the prototype? A Ram is impossible. He abandons his pregnant Sita. The last thing a woman would tolerate would be a rejection when she is at her most vulnerable. Lakshman is too weak. What woman would want her husband to be always following his brother's orders so blindly. A Krishna is a Casanova, too many women around her even if she was his Rukmini. That is not what she would want, no matter how high his philosophy. A Hanuman is too much of a follower, she wants a leader. Besides he is the perennial bachelor, yawn.
An Arjun would have been good, except that he rejects her the moment his supreme authority over her is threatened. Yudhisthir does not mind playing dice with her as pawn, so please would he find someone else to marry? And keep his sense of justice and self-righteousness to himself?
A Bheem, aah, a Bheem is good. He loves her blindly, protects her. He is simple and caring. He has muscles, even if he has little intellect. She can control him. But even he cannot help but stray.
Now in modern times when a woman is financially independent, she does exactly what she pleases. She wants complete devotion, no authority figure. She wants her space and she wants girlie time. She wants him strong, and be his own man. But she wants him faithful. Oh the vagaries and demands of the modern woman.
She wants to have her cake and eat it too. After all, what is the cake meant for if not both the wanting and the eating?
Shobha Sengupta owns Quill and Canvas, a bookstore and gallery in Gurgaon
The views expressed by the author are personal