So I know what an engagement means, but just looked up Wiki... it says it is a promise to marry.. a time period between the proposal and marriage... the courtship time. Last few months have been full of news for me, few of my dear friends got engaged :)
So there was this one friend who called off her marriage. She was not very happy the way things turned out between the families after the engagement, so fearing further problems decided not to go ahead with the marriage. The friend I am talking about is a girl and an Indian. So now I guess you have calculated what I will be writing about. Exactly, why is it so difficult to break off engagements? Few years back my cousin sister called off her engagement in Kerala. Reason she was not happy about the guy's drinking habit. Maybe its a small thing for someone but for her since she already came from an alcoholic family, she did not want to take the risk. But let me tell you it was not at all easy. Family pressure was just too much. But finally they gave in. Well she is now happily married to someone else :)
Why is it all so difficult for us in India to survive a broken engagement ? And as I always say I am not a feminist, so I do realise that there is a problem for both boys as well as girls. Parents are reluctant to marry off their daughters to boys who have a history of broken engagement and vice versa. At the same time I also agree that the taboo is more for girls in our society. Sometimes the parents or families or the even the bride and bridegroom themselves feel the need to break off an engagement, but the immediate question "What will people say?" . Really !! I cannot understand why exactly is the society's opinion so important to decide the fate of your own life. I wouldn't say the same about marriage, I think you should do everything to keep your marriage together, again not for the society but for the sanctity of it.
But engagement is a period of courtship, you get to know your would be spouse better, his or her family better. And if one thinks that in the long term it is not worthwhile to be in that relationship then should the fear of society stop you from taking a decision ? Society is important, the collective and collaborative thoughts for the progress of human kind is necessary, but the phrase 'progress of human kind' is noteworthy. If these rules or laws are going to interfere with the progress of an individual then how are they supposed to be good ? Is it because we come from a Collectivist society ?
Fear of rejection is more in a collectivist society than in an individualistic society. I fail to understand why a collectivist society cannot respect an individual choice. In simple mathematics, happy individual = happy family = happy society, so finally happy individual = happy family. Hence if as per definition the goal of a collectivist society is a happy society then happy individual is an integral part of that goal.
Coming back to our 'Broken engagement' issue, why is it an individual who takes a decision not to create an unhappy family, and eventually an unhappy society, regarded as a shame and rejected, instead of being applauded and respected? And the main concern, of getting a marriage proposal again, is something that gets me bonkers. Here is a person who is level headed and has clear thoughts about marriage, knows what he or she wants, why wouldn't someone marry such a person ? Calling off a marriage is not really a good news, and lets face it, its not easy for either parties. It is sad that dreams are broken and something which would have been a lifetime has been so short lived. But it is certainly better than breaking off after marriage, where then a lot more emotions are at stake.
In my opinion, breaking off any kind of relationship is not the ideal thing. You should not only give everything you have but also anything you don't have. This statement surely comes from personal experiences, where I feel I have been too naive to just give up, instead I could have tried harder. But having said that, if your decision is based because of the fear of a society rejection, then you are thinking on the wrong platform. A society that will come for your marriage, eat, drink and merry, and incase you break a troubled marriage will not only label you but also condemn you is not a parameter worth thinking while taking a life changing decision. It is only you and your family who would be suffering, so if you got to decide against those sufferings before you reach the altar, then it is entirely your choice. You go ahead and make your choice because you want to make it, forget the society. According to me society is like a flowing river, it is made up of people and thoughts that keep coming in and out all the time. Nothing is stable so they will forget all about it, and if they don't appreciate their memory and move on.
Oscar Wilde said "Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals."