Imagine food without salt, a garden without roses, a clock without chimes or a tree without roots — you could if you were a chronic weight watcher, a seasoned horticulturist or a deforestation expert. But even the most ardent marriage addict couldn’t imagine a successful marriage without kids.
Marriage involves fulfilling two basic needs — one of seeking and acquiring true companionship.. and the other of lineage — furthering our bloodline and expanding the family chain to create inheritors of our wealth, legacies and surnames. Aren’t we responsible for furthering the human race in as efficient a way as possible? Not really, think Zameer and Pooja, my distant relatives.
They are a young couple in their early 30s and have been married for four years. Theirs is a love marriage which hurdled over barriers of religion (he’s a Khoja Muslim and she’s a Gujarati Hindu), cultural inequities and the temptations of youth.
But they are astonishingly cemented by this ‘chic’ thought of not disrupting their marital bliss ever by having children. On peeping into their worlds, I realise that they are caught up in textbook notions of togetherness.
They believe there’s so much to do — travelling, exploring the contours of continents and each other’s personalities, sharing knowledge and happiness, celebrating endlessly the invisible joy of togetherness. So, where’s the need to have children and start a family?
I rationalise this thought — can two individuals survive the tightrope of marriage and its inherent tremors of shifting desires, jealousy, boredom and fatigue without adding a third dimension — children?
You could have a perfect window seat on a train, but if you get an intolerable co-passenger, you would still put up with it for the sake of the outside view and a common destination.
Many a pitter-patter of small feet have drowned the collective noise emitting from senseless squabbles. It acts like a glue when the delicate tapestry of marriage threatens to tear at the seams. I suspect Zameer and Pooja are afraid to get caught in the tiring process of family building. Perhaps they have seen around them, the energy-sapping ritual of nurturing a life through the infinite task of feeding, cleaning, caring, raising and providing, which parents admit to as loving, though haltingly.
Will an issueless marriage be precisely that, a marriage without issues? It’s an individual space I tread by passing judgment if children are necessary in a marriage or if a marriage can surviveby just feeding off romance, intimacy, love notes and frequent flier miles.
I feel children are a necessary offshoot of a marriage. Although temporary, they create marvellous worlds through their innocence, tactless guile, their small adventures and their rapidly changing antics.
Raising a child is also the ultimate personality rectifier. Mistakes committed by us as infants because of circumstances, insensitive parenting or poor communication are rectified by us through our children. Human progress is linked to the fact that we strive to give them a better life than ours.
Nothing serves as a more pertinent visiting card than your child. Good or bad, he or she is the sum of your personality, the net of all your worth. As I write this, my son, all of two-and-a-half years, wants to be taken to the moon. I’m trying to figure out how.