23 August 2011

8 Marriages & 2 Oscars

That’s how, one of the media features on Elizabeth Taylor, described her life, after her death recently. It caught my attention. I thought it was odd to summarize a person’s life that way; two major milestones – marriage & career – numbered!!

Taylor was an accomplished actress, a mother, a fashion/style icon, was infamous for possessing some of the most incredible pieces of diamond jewelry, & had also worked towards AIDS. None of that mattered now. Her seven husbands & eight marriages did! Ok, the 7-8 because she had married Richard Burton twice! After 10 years of marriage, the couple divorced. 16 months later, they remarried. 10 months later, they were divorced a 2nd time!

The thing I found fascinating about Elizabeth was she always ‘officially’ married the man she loved. She could have easily had one of those flings/one-night stands/affairs, whatever you call it, with the person she was so passionately attracted to. She need not have committed herself into an institution. But she did. She didn’t just love & leave. She married.

We humans still find it abnormal, strange that a woman should or can have more than one husband. [Aside: animals seem to be quite okay with a female having multiple mates!!]. And if any woman has had, then, invariably, only that becomes the highlight of her life.

Would a man be described similarly? “Mr. NMY - 5 Marriages, 7 Live-ins, 4 Divorces, 20 kids, and 1 Oscar”? No, probably not. Why not, I wonder!? Why is marriage the identity definer only for a woman? Men tend to become more responsible, mature, and caring after marriage. Marriage has that sobering, settling effect on them. Well, at least, I believe it does! So, shouldn’t it be a differentiator essentially for a man than a woman? I know women who have totally and completely submerged their identities with their husbands’ and are seemingly happy about it. They never fail to fascinate me!

By the way, what would MY last line be? Woman married to the same man for X years? Ha! I am not quite sure if I want to be remembered just or only as Sathya’s wife. Of course, it is an important aspect, very important, of my life. But it’s just that I have done things without & in spite of him too. He came into my life when I was 28. A major portion lived, without even knowing, he existed.

59 comments:

  1. Interesting viewpoint about woman being remembered by her marriages.

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  2. interesting indeed...especailly the reason why she married so many times and divorced..i never thought of that :( ... thanks for sharing :)

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  3. Institution of marriage is seen through a different lens in India Sujatha. Certainly, news channels in other countries would be bothered about many other important things.
    We are bothered about TRP and hence we highlight some things which should be personal actually. Even if she married so many people or had so many relationships, practically it should not matter right?
    What she has given to the society?
    Our media loves making personal life of public figures public.
    May her soul rest in peace.
    I had been busy, didn't follow the news. Did not know that she died. Thanks for posting. :)

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  4. it's sad the way women are remembered. Pamela would be remembered for her plastic surgeries.... :)

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  5. I think I've seen this liner somewhere... I had felt the same jerk you trying to explain here. Just that you've brought in the right message with a better perspective of my thoughts. I agree - I need to be known for what I've done in my life.

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  6. @Nona: thank u

    @Israr: hmm i found it interesting too. but mostly "daring" if u know what i mean :)

    @Sahana: ya for the media highlighting d 2 OSCARS cudnt have got as much TRP as d 8 marriages

    @Chintan: agree :(

    @Ashiwni: 'jerk' dat was d word i was looking for.
    n yes i can so identify with that need

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  7. Sad ! She lived her life to the fullest . A symbol of professionalism ,courage and beauty ,that is how i like to remember her .

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  8. Its sad what media makes of a woman's life. And at times, we as women, try to identify with the image projected by this media. Elizabeth Taylor was a wonderful woman I think... love her movies.. they do not aim to be real life, but just surreal and a world in itself. Why isn't she remembered for her work :(

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  9. hmmm well said sujatha...btw she was such a beauty in her youth na...breathtakingly beautiful!

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  10. very well written.. Identity is what everyone crave for. Self is what one respect for.. Good work..!

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  11. See, that's my exact point too! Why does marriage mean the identity thing to a woman and not to a man.
    But elizabeth taylor kinda defied that! :)
    i would want to be that close to her. Sans the 7 marriages!

    Great Post!! :)

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  12. A gorgeous woman whom men drooled over but still,didnt manage to find that love she could stick too.She did a lot towards the end and did charity for many causes,but she was a woman in constant depression,like Marlyn Monroe or Madhubala.She constantly married to find love.Yes,we women excel in many things but our legacy is limited to the number of children we bear or the kind of wife we were.She has to stick out like a sore thumb to stand out in this male dominated society.I liked the idea behind this blog and its a thought to ponder on.

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  13. now a days human are compared with animals more than often :D

    And Sujatha I reached that AQUARIAN :D

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  14. very well said liked ur views abt women.

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  15. Guess it is always biased... even the supposedly progressive societies....

    Chaplin is not remembered for his marriages, that too with women less than half his age... he's remembered for his genius... tht's how it should be for everyone...

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  16. @kavita: well put Kavita. me too. that was of a lot more consequence than her men

    @Athira: exactly! why not her work??!! why!!

    @Mishi: yes she was incredibly beautiful

    @aerosum: our life is a constant search for the 'self' - man or woman doesn't matter
    thank u for coming here n for posting

    @meta: sans d 7 marriages -LOL - U BET :))

    @Suzy: Madhubala, Monroe, Taylor what screen personas n then their search for love. Feel blessed sometimes - to be 'ordinary' isnt such a bad thing after all.

    @Ifra: oh gud! i came across some more aquarians. will pass on their links to u

    @Anuradha: thank u dear :)

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  17. @Jitaditya: what an example u've given! Charlie Chaplin! remembered for his genius, not women -indeed. rightly said jitaditya
    btw, u have an absolutely amazing travelogue/blog

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  18. Very true. Often a woman's "scandalous" lifestyle is played up much more than her real achievements especially when it comes to celebrities. I also agree that there is much more to me than just one person or relationship. But, I do admire those who face no such identity problem :).

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  19. @Rachna: the lucky few who face no such crisis :).

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  20. Hi Sujatha, your posts are awesome with fabulous views.Can I narrate/post similar instance whom I found of late recently.With your permission.It's about a German lady who is my mom's good friend.

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  21. Very interesting post and view - I guess its never been anything other than bias

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  22. I make opinion of a person based on achievements only :))) A different view point you have presented.

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  23. @Vijaya: sure go ahead pls.

    @british: thank u for visiting my blog n posting ur thots. the bias has to be relooked at

    @A: it shud be that way - what a person does more imp than whose husband/wife he/she is

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  24. Sujatha: Thought provoking post you have put up there, very true even I am stilling wondering How am I recieved by people around, is it only being associated with my husband name and his achievements etc or the factor of me is anywhere visibile.

    Lost is this I am still searching real me!

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  25. @Ramya: of course, m sure, like me, u too, r very proud of being Mrs ... n of ur husband's achievements but we too have done things, individually, which we r immensely proud of n i just wish ppl cud see that too. but......yes the search is on..........

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  26. well, its all about perception and how one takes it...but yaa you have a valid point that why not a women must be known by her own achievements and actually there are women who have excelled in their respective field and have their own identity.

    Btw an interesting Post.

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  27. Ah. This is an interesting viewpoint. I am sure you will be remembered for many other things too. :)

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  28. @Irfan: i salute all such women from the bottom of my heart coz indeed they've achieved a lot

    @Zeba: did i tell ya i was waiting to hear those exact words???? :)

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. Thank you Sujatha didi for permitting me to narrate similar instance like the one in the above post. To begin with- my mom used to run a lodge at Puttaparthi where many foreigners used to visit frequently to this place to have darshan of late Sri Sathya Sai Baba.My mom had a one friend who kept visiting our hotel from past 20 years. I was quite young when she initially took hostage at our hotel.She used to bring her husband when ever she visited India.What surprised me the most was when she recently visited us, she was with her new husband who was from America.She began to introduce her husband to our family saying,"He is the sweetest husband of all I had and he is my seventh one".while husband too complimented his wife saying-" This lovely lady is my third wife".I was shocked to listen to this because, we Indians as a part of our customs,traditions and religious beliefs tend to have one loving relation either as husband /wife for rest of our life.These are the ideals of Indian society, while if we come across modern relations (complex relations) which are influenced by western culture they tend to deteriorate our value systems.The need of the hour is to protect our value systems and have a peaceful and loving family where in each one understand and love each other and respect each others.

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  31. Interesting style of writing. I enjoyed the posts. :)

    I like the ending para of this post. :)

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  32. @Vijaya: interesting real life anecdote you shared with us Vijaya. Thank you. I could imagine your shocked look.
    What is Indian value system? Dint Draupadi have 5 husbands & Krishna 16,000 wives?

    @Chandrika: Thank you Chandrika for taking the time to read n appreciate the post. See u more often :)

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  33. Lovely to read such a post from a very broad minded person. And I completely agree with your view of why women should have only one husband and men can have as many wives, one night stands, affairs blah blah. Infact I have heard many people say, the ultimate end for any woman is marriage. You don't marry there is definitely something wrong with you!

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  34. @Deepthi: that's not true or at least it shouldn't be - marriage the be-all & end-all of a woman's life. But sadly,as u said Deepthi, it is how it is.

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  35. you've made an interesting point...
    i guess it has something to do with the way our society in general thinks...

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  36. Dwiti: yes, society finds it harder to give women their due

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  37. I am hoping someday the people who make up the society understand the value of women and know how precious they are...

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  38. I guess society has these two parameters to judge your life- Career and Family...Honestly, for women life is more difficult and even the society is more demanding...

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  39. @Deepthi: Amen to that! Someday! :)

    @Saru: Yes, that's true. we juggle multiple roles no matter how hard it is

    @Vinod: thank u. m glad that you as a man found this post interesting

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  40. @ Sujatha.
    Hi there :), Nice post. I completely agree with what you say. We spend almost 25 years even without having the slightest clue about our spouses and it wouldn't be fair to just leave out everything for the sake of the marriage. Women should continue to live for themselves also, at least to an extent.

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  41. @Ashwini: glad u agree. true Ashwini, we too have worked very hard for our education, career etc & our parents too have done a lot for us. we should try to live for ourselves too.

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  42. I understand that you have not seen "Jerry Springer Show". This is Munir over here at Focus.

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  43. yes , she was a charming and charismatic woman and not only indian media but even the western media should not concentrate on this aspect of any celebrity ---man or woman . good view point ...

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  44. please check out on my blog about a film i saw yesterday on the new age womans attitude and if possible see the film ---its in malayalam though ... very fascinating
    http://drharoonhmarikar.blogspot.com/2011/08/women-power-malayalam-movies.html
    regards
    haroon

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  45. I have just deleted my initial comment.. 'Really Interesting', which I found to be very casual after reading the article and the valuable comments of other knowledgeable readers again!!

    Well.. I just don’t think that still our Social system is so sick. I can agree on the fact that improvement is still required and this need shall exist forever for any improving society. We have moved forward a long way..i believe!

    For this headline ‘8 Marriages – 2 Oscars’, I don’t agree to the general opinion that our society or social system is culprit for the same because in my opinion this headline is a brainchild of just few people from media, those who really don’t represent society. I guess these headlines are motivated with commericial interests, which is driving force for the Media to make such sick and society breaking news headlines. I believe that headlines like ‘8 Marriages or 7 Husbands’… does not truly represent the situation as this is not just an ‘exclusive’ or ‘her only’ attribute! Rather her partners, again from the same Society, may have done lot many marriages, which still remain unnoticed.

    Last but not the least… definitely there is a very strong message in this Article for the Society. Our Social System has many inconsistencies, like inequality, dowry, etc. We the people are responsible for such inconsistencies. I know many females who are still remembered by our society only for their outstanding career attributes, namely Laxmi Bai, Sarojini Naidu, Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, etc.

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  46. ++++ I know many females who are still remembered by our society only for their outstanding career or attributes, namely Laxmi Bai, Sarojini Naidu, Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, etc.

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  47. @Munir: no i haven't seen or heard of the show. what was on it?

    @haroon: yes, irrespective of the gender, true Haroon.

    will check out ur post. ab the movie: m not so sure. i need translator, i dont understand Mal. I love all Jagadi and Priyadarshan's movies which he made with Mohanlal and Srinivas (and Shobana). used to watch with a Mallu friend.

    thanks for visiting my blog/following & more importantly for sharing your thoughts

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  48. @Vinod: that is a great list and good perspective

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  49. Nice post. I admire Taylor's acting.
    You have a wonderful blog. Impressive.

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  50. I'm sure Osama bin laden won't be remembered as a man with some 10 wives and a gazillion children..u've brought out an interesting point..

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  51. great post Sujatha...you brought out the hypocrisy of our society... btw in some families in Ladakh a women marrying many men is still normal...might be the decedents of Strirajya...

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  52. A meaningful post. hats off to you sujatha

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  53. @Ana: haha surely NOT :)

    @SUB: Strirajya ?!! did you coin this term? i only knew of ramrajya :(
    ladakh women - really? didnt know. lucky haan?!

    @Latha: thank you Latha.

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  54. I adore her! I've always hated the tab that's been kept on her marriages. I'm with you-she officially put the stamp on each of her relationships by being married. So what's the problem?

    So glad we found each others blogs. You are truly delightful to read!

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  55. @Boobies: i am glad too! thanks to Chintan :)

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  56. Great post..you have an amazing ability to look at things in a different way and present it well. Headlines in newspapers are too catch attention so they served their purpose (they caught yours..) wondering why did they describe Taylor like this other than to sensationalize

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  57. @Kirti: thank you. yes they served their purpose pretty well. i was glued to the set when the headline flashed

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