During a conversation with my mother, I revealed my plan of not marrying which she countered by saying “How will you have children and a family then?”. I responded that you don’t need to marry to have children. She looked at me with disbelief and the horror in her eyes was inexplainable.
In Indian conservative society, marriage provides validity. It’s like a couple is provided with an official sanction to carry out physical relation and populate the earth; but God forbid someone misses that step where people make those 7 vows, which on asking most are unable to remember, then all hell breaks loose. This deviation from the norm is blasphemous to society.
Hence, the news of actress Kalki Koechlin being five months pregnant is sure to rub a lot of people the wrong way. I won’t be shocked if someone claims that she’s spreading immorality and putting filthy thoughts in the heads of youngsters. However, I think she’s changing our rigid mentality. Her proud baby bump is a testament to that.
She is in a healthy relationship with her boyfriend Guy Hershberg who is an Israeli Pianist and a music teacher. So, this news should be a happy one for her and her fans.
When Kareena Kapoor’s pregnancy was announced everyone was elated so why should people respond differently in this case, just because Kalki doesn’t have a necklace of black beads hanging on her neck?
Why Women Choose Not To Wed
It is not just because of western influence as some elders would have you believe. “So they can have sex all the time” is also incorrect.
There was a time when marriage used to be the only goal in women’s life but that is no longer the case now and women want to be in a relationship without being laden with the expectations and responsibilities of the entire clan.
Physical intimacy is part of the live-in arrangement but the relationship goes beyond libido. Some couples choose it as an in-between step to get to know each other better before they commit to matrimony. Others just believe that no-one should authenticate their love.
Even without the exchange of rings, there is a partnership and cohabitation is a test of compatibility.
Not Caving In To Societal Pressure
About her partnership with Guy, Kalki said: “It’s a process of gradual trust.”
The enlightened women no longer give into society’s demands and bow their heads obediently at this world who would have them shackled and manacled.
Women were scared of having their reputation ruined and being called a whore, prostitute, concubine which only makes the wounds deeper but influential people can change this outlook. Women should no longer tolerate their children being called bastards.
Legal Status Of The Children
Although sex without marriage is considered taboo in India, our judiciary system accepts such a relationship and any child born out of it is considered legitimate.
And seeing how Kalki embraced it I believe children out of wedlock won’t have to put up with the Jon Snow treatment. Children are not a ‘kalank’ on their mother’s ‘izzat’ and gone is the age where they would be forced to wear the scarlet letter ‘A’ for adultery.
Progressive Ideas About Pregnancy
While talking about her pregnancy, Kalki mentioned that though the couple has considered marriage for the sake of parental rights and the nationality issue, she doesn’t want to rush into things.
As for her approach regarding motherhood, she said: “My concern is to connect with my child, not to have a particular rule, or expectation.”
She wants to be an engaging mother and her ideas such as picking a gender non-conforming name for the baby resonates with modern parents of the 21st century.
Celebrities With Similar Circumstances
Veteran actress Neena Gupta was in a relationship with Indian cricketer Vivian Richards but they never married. She now has a grown-up daughter Masaba Gupta.
And then there is the much-publicized case of actress Sushmita Sen whose adoption of daughter Renee in 2000 shocked everyone.
So it’s clear that Bollywood and a large section of the urban crowd no longer wants to be fettered by the tired belief that sex without marriage is a sin.
Reaction To The News
Bollywood has been quite supportive of Kalki with actresses like Radhika Apte, Richa Chaddha, Dia Mirza, etc. offering their good wishes and congratulations.
Other netizens too commented on her fearlessness and said they hope all is well for the mother and the baby.
Jamaal Sheikh of Hindustan Times praised her for doing things differently and wished her and the soon-to-be-born a lifetime of experiences, adventures and happiness.
If this new wave takes effect, Indian women wouldn’t have to seek abortions or shotgun weddings. Her decision may inspire many women to walk the road less travelled. I applaud her resolution and determination.
What do you think about this change?
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