India is gripped by election fever and voters, myself included, rush enthusiastically to voting booths, to usher a change. Our vote is precious and we exercise it judiciously, knowing that the secret ballot empowers us to kick out a government that we don’t like. We also exhort other voters to cast their vote and be a part of forming the government. A bit like marriage don’t you think?
When we get married we try to convince others along to join the ride, extolling the virtues and benefits of being married. Suddenly, being married, feels so much better than being single. In fact, we even try to pressurise the singles into marriage and are constantly trying to set them up on blind dates with potential life partners.
Marriage itself, isn’t a solution to all problems in life, in fact it may be the start of a series of problems. Like we see with bad governments or bad leaders. The newly elected government under Trump in America has everyone alarmed and the sense of unease isn’t abating. If anything, it seems to be increasing the uncertainty. Everyone is on the edge, because you are thrown into a vortex of problems that were essentially non-issues like Indians working in the U.S., sudden change in visa rules, and now you have to face the consequences.
But a good marriage, can also be the start of a dream run of your life, much like good governments and governance. When we look at Singapore to what it was 60 years ago, almost a nonentity to one of the biggest commercial hubs in the world, despite so many disadvantages like small size, few natural resources. Similarly the transformation of Dubai from desert to desert Disney has been remarkable.
Bad marriages and bad governments of course put you in a tight spot, not only within the marriage but also with the outsiders. Think North Korea- we have a situation of extreme unhappiness and internal strife coupled with poverty and low levels of education, in which everyone seems to be on the losing side. And the downslide continues unabated. It puts you on the back foot while dealing with the realities of life and make you ill-equipped to deal with most situations in life. Similarly it upsets all those around it -the outsiders. How many times have we shuddered at the thought of interacting with a couple in a bad marriage because their negativity and sarcasm flows through the entire evening.
Neutral marriages are like the government in India. All of us know that when we go to elect a government we do so with enthusiasm but with almost no expectation, we elect them expecting them to do minimal work and how to protect ourselves is what our primary aim in these situations is. Still we go for elections, something like marriage, our expectations from marriage are not of a dream life but rather because it is the expected thing to do. Although things are changing now yet we have a long way to go where the majority of Indians believe in the concept of happily ever after in Prince meets princess fairy-tale marriages. We can’t forget that 70 percent of the population lives in the villages and most of them have arranged marriages where the parents approve of the boy and girl-requisites to be seen- horoscopes and family matching -topping the list.
But things are changing, slowly but surely, and with the advent of the mobile phone revolution our dreams are peppered with greater expectations both in marriages and governments. And in case they don’t perform well there’s the next election or…the
Originally published at medium.com