Saturday, 28 June 2014

Sense and sensibility

Sense and sensibility ... the village actions are rooted in practicalness and harmony.

Affairs are not uncommon. There are couples faithful to each other, and one also hears of one or both partners having extra-marital affairs. This is taken in stride. The marriage is not shaken by this. It is considered important that the marriage is preserved for the children and for the dependent elders of the family. When N’s affair with R became known to the husband, he beat her up, and was himself devastated. The day he came to know he was weeping and banging his head against the door. For awhile, N, mother of three sons, the eldest about fifteen years, went around with head hung. But life went on, and the affair was off. R got married soon after with no apparent difficulty.

M had a crippled husband, paralysed waist down due to an accident with a tractor. She was a young woman in her twenties, and had other relationships which the society chose to turn a blind eye to. But when she ran away with a truck driver, deserting the family, it was seen as unforgivable. She later returned and was subsequently again a part of the family.

Re-marriages are societally frowned on. But widows having affairs is not much commented on. When P who was widowed, ran away and got married, the village barred her from entering the village. That was amended later by her paying a prescribed ‘fine’.

Elopements happen, but are frowned upon, and the village imposes a fine on the family. Daughters who elope are, after some initial grieving, brought back into the family fold. In recent years, elopements have also been on the rise. One theory is that this may be inspired by more TV watching.

The boy and girl from the same village may fall in love, while the wish of the parents may be to find the girl a bridegroom based in the town as town life is seen as an easier life for the girl. The boy and girl may elope. The family weeps together for some time, they feel disgraced. Then they wipe their tears, and invite the couple home. The community usually makes terms with situations and adjusts.

Sarojamma’s daughter Anjini had eloped with her cousin. Sarojamma was tearful for a while. The boy was illterate while the girl Anjini had studied upto the tenth class. Mangamma wept long when Poorna ran away and got married. But Poorna, as she was a widow, she could only have had a runaway marriage. Roopa eloped, and subsequently Varalu eloped, both with boys in the same village. In all cases the family has felt humiliated but later made up with the daughter. Only in the case of Roopa, her father Siddiah, completely broke off with her. His sense of social standing and hurt prestige was very high. The daughter went through her first pregnancy with no help from her natal family and her own mother was devastated by this estrangement from the daughter and became a shadow of her former self. But the father was adamant and only at the second daughter’s wedding, and through her attempts, were matters patched up. Once patched up, it seemed as if there had never had been a rift. But such a severe reaction is very uncommon and the villagers, especially the women, were condemnatory of the father’s extreme reaction. His son also subsequently eloped, but that was not seen as a blot on the family, and the daughter-in-law lives with them. Chinnapapakka’s daughter Varalu eloped with Chinna Bojjiah of the opposite house. Though her natal family gave full support to her after the initial grieveing she is now stuck with a drunken husband. Again when that became intolerable it was the natal family that had to come to the fore and take her back.

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