Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Of Human Bondage




The formative stage in one’s life, experts say, is during the period of one’s adolescence. Some even go farther behind and state character and one’s idiosyncrasies are formed during the life period ensconced in the womb. 

I have known a couple of brats (formerly) in their toddler days and would be horrified at the thought of them coming home with their parents on their evening strolls. They were enfant terrible while awake and in sleep. Two score years have elapsed since and they are now perfect gentlemen; two charming young men and both in respectable positions in life certainly capable of enchanting any potential bride. And loving grateful sons to their parents!

I look back at myself and wonder if there has been any change in me as a person. The temperament and character I have possessed score and five years ago and what it is now. Being wed locked to a woman changed me, my foibles -my outlook, my temperament, my fear, my fads, my obsessions, my hypocrite shadow? Honestly a self-assessment is possible. But I fear that may be understood as conceited and infelicitous.

I feel that one cannot deny that a person with whom one has been associated in life day and night will not have extended his/her influence .Can we deny? The proportion and the depth of the tentacles of influence and ensnaring as we can call it vary from person. From trivial mundane matters to subjective things with deeper resonance, spouse can influence and again it varies from person to person.

The bloke who relished mutton and beef steak or hot spicy veal in Kerala masala suddenly confessed to his greener and vegetarian ways of gastronomic shift. He claimed that his physiological propensity to retain flab around the midriff and the fear of losing battle of the bulge made him forsake the most relished of all viand. The amusing fact was that his physical appearance had not changed an iota horizontally since the teen age while in college. The fact understandably was that after having married a Telugu Brahmin lady he found the going unpleasant with his gastronomic indulgence. He later said in passing his abstinence helped as his spouse was Brahmin. Call it sacrifice, relinquishing, pliability, adaptability and so on. Perhaps to some the latter is the way to extricate from the quagmire.

In a yet male dominated society, I guess that women are far more influenced or forced to adhere to changed ways and habits to suit the fantasies, fallacies and habits of their spouses- their idiosyncrasies in general. But men are pliable and do so to suit to the whims of their spouses. Survival, adaptability, ingenuity and sometimes helplessness ending with biting the bullet to avoid a bitter home! A bondage and bondage is – “subjection to external influences and internal negative thoughts and attitudes”.

Though there may be visible shifts in one’s character, attitude and other characteristics after the alter ego’s influence post wedlock, I guess no one is impervious to change ipso facto. There may be subtle change in one’s self, which may be conscious or otherwise. Some hit the bottle in worse case scenarios. Difficult to pity them but one can be amused.

I wonder what will be the general take on this matter. The cliched argument and supposed platonic statements such as, “give and take or quid pro quo is petty and doses not retain heart and soul.

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12 comments:

....Petty Witter said...

Having known several such brats I found some of the questions you posed interesting in the extreme, your wondering if women are far more influenced or forced to adhere to changed ways and habits to suit the fantasies, fallacies and habits of their spouses totally thought provoking.

NRIGirl said...

Very true @Anil: we are so influenced by our spouses. I can see that clearly in our wedded bliss of 13 years. We have come a long way from where we began to where we are! It is scary we even complete each other's sentences!

KParthasarathi said...

Yes spouses are influenced by each other in varying degrees.I have known a chain smoker took to pan masala after the wedding and another taking a walk to street corner to have a fag and conceal it by munching 'Asoka'betel nuts.Men have remobved mustaches to please their wives but I have also noticed that some men could never be changed from their disorderliness is keeping things and their clumsy ways.On the whole marriage mellows men except alcoholics in the lower strata or wicked men and women by their spouses.

Kalpana Bindu said...

Yes Anil you are right I am yet to experience that still I have seen my parents especially my father changing from a completely dominating person into a fun loving open-hearted man, similarly my brother. It does make a difference but there are exceptions as well with people changing but then again going back to their idiosyncrasies....

rama said...

You are right, couples do have a way of influencing and being influenced by each other.
We might have picked up certain traits from our parents, but we are also prone to change willingly, most of the times, for maybe we like certain traits in our spouse, and are willing to adopt that in our lives. Similarly they too might have been different, but have changed willingly being with the person they have married. It is a natural thing to happen in all good relationships.
Remember we have spent more years with our partners than our parents.
Of course, sadly there are couples who have to change themselves forcibly, for they have no other option, for one of them is too dominating to change, so for the peace to superficially reign one person, usually the weaker ones are the ones to given in.

Balachandran V said...

It is all about priorities - of survival!!

Meera Sundararajan said...

It is interesting that we as human beings are constantly changing and evolving. Yes , our upbringing influences considerably but as you say, marriage also has its role. After 17 years of marriage I find I am becoming more like my husband and he like me - for e.g I find it difficult to tolerate fools while he is able to suffer them better than before. Infact it was he who pointed that out to me last week when I was complaining about some idiots in my office. Yes, food habits change a lot when one gets married - even if it is within one's own community since one has to adjust to the other's likes and dislikes in matters of food .Like your friend mine has also become a near vegetarian ( though he does have these binges where he eats a lot of non veg). There is a study that says that couples who have been married for a very long period even begin to physically resemble one another!!!

anilkurup said...

@ PettyWitter
I hope you can give your take on my poser?

@ NRIGirl,

I guess you have a long , long way to go. And you may not recogonise your old self and perhaps he, his.

@ Kparthasathi,

As Balachandran rightly said, question of survival.

@ Kalpana Bindu,

I wonder if we will know or notice.May be an outsider can notice.

@ rama,

Yes indeed we spend more time of our life span with the spouse than with parents. Change as you say happen willingly . Sometimes unwillingly . Again question of survival.


@ Balachandran,

Priorities are happening for survival sake. Like the cart before the horse or vice versa.

@ Meera Sunderajan

I can visualise your husbands binge eating and you do enjoy that. This is the difference between a wonderful blend and bondage . Good for you and him.
Don't' know , perhaps without our knowing physical and mental state is altered by the influences and proximity of the spouse.

Happy Kitten said...

Have you noticed that they even tend to look alike in many ways :)


The characters rub on each other and some get polished while others get jarred!

I became more oraganised after marriage since my Hubby is a cleanliness freak... as for Hubby, he has mellowed down from the short tempered individual he was. Either I scared him away :) or he realized that one can face situations with less emotion.

Overall it has been good and soon it shall be twenty years...

Shilpa Garg said...

So true... many things do change after marriage for both and some things never change for example leaving the wet towel on the bed or not being able to find things!!

In our case, I have started eating non-veg food coz of hubby! :)

sujata sengupta said...

I think the generation has passed where the women changed their lifestyle for their husbands, just because it was required. Now, if someone is doing it, it is of her own free will, which is okay. Many men also change to fit the cohesive unit of a marriage better.

As long as the change is sustainable it is okay, but then there are deeper states which cannot be changed. And certain traits that should not be changed, just because you decide to share your life with another person should not be the reason you change your individuality.

Also a point that I believe in deeply is that if it is love, you just let the other person be, why try and influence a change. The fun is in the differences, after all.

anilkurup said...

@ Shilpa Garg,

That is a rare happening - I ve heard people go veg and vegan because of the preference of the spouse , but you went the other way!!


@ Sujatha,

True , it is the dominating factor in us that want the spouse to bend her/his ways to our ways.
Love or no love, it is the matter of two distinct individuals is forgotten. When even siblings are different how could to aliens be on common grounds or demand that the other follow suit.