PhD or Marriage — aamjunta decide first!

“So, when are you giving the treat”? I asked Bhim. “No Sir, I’m not the lucky man, the girl got married last week to a Software Engineer”, Bhim replied. “What !!” I couldn’t say anything more, had no words to console.

We changed the topic, discussed something else. In the entire conversation, I was uncomfortable. Bhim finally narrated his story…. The girl’s father found some Software Engineer (professional) who had 2 or 3 foreign visits in his CV, a high CTC and a flat in Mumbai (of course on Loan !) and fixed her wedding with him, without bothering about the commitment he had given to Bhim and his family. Bhim was merely a PhD for the girl’s father and was not a Software Professional — this was the clarification that he (Bhim) got from the girl’s side. Bhim was heart broken, he was in touch with the girl for almost 8 months 😦 and now he had to move ahead in life alone.

This is not the only story, this is a story (fact) among many other such stories. I asked myself, thought for some time, tried to analyze all the success and failures in marriages of some of the people who were doing or had completed PhD around me. I could not see the value of a PhD at least in Marriage Bazaar. Be it girls doing PhD or boys, the issue rounds up to “what /how much are you earning and how many times you have gone abroad”? In Marriage Bazaar, money and jobs have high bidding value than the intellect or degrees. This is a “Pan-India” phenomena cutting across caste and cultures. In a slightly similar case, Nakul, another PhD-ridden fellow could not get a girl to marry even though he visited some 15 would-be brides, registered in all leading matrimonial sites and spent around 2 months keeping his Post Doc on hold. Every girl he met and liked, rejected him on the grounds that he does not have a job. No one understood what Post Doc in a leading university abroad meant.

Even with a good job after PhD, getting a suitable girl or boy is difficult. For instance, Sahadev was forced to marry a girl with an age difference of 15 years even though he was well placed in a University as a Professor. Not only a visible age difference, there was a huge educational difference in his case. The reason- same, Professors do not earn as much as Engineers /Doctors earn.

Marriage during PhD is also a tough bargain. Even if some one finds a girl and gets married, he might find his marriage a costly affair, not only because of the commitment towards PhD and work load, but also due to his commitment towards his newly wed. First his guide, then finance and then his domestic affair… every thing demands equal or more attention. If he gets a marital accommodation in the campus, it is somewhat relieving, because one can hardly afford a rented house outside the campus with a meagre private or institute fellowship. You are lucky, if your sweet-heart is understanding and your guide is cooperating… you might enjoy your penury.

Work pressure is not the only thing that affects, peer pressure too has a high impact. Suni (also Manu) was constantly dogged by her (his) PhD mates that she (he) did not have a boyfriend /husband (girlfriend). Many of her (his) friends were engaged. In desperation Suni (Manu) made a wrong choice and proposed, only to be rejected: “I don’t see you as my long term companion, we can be friends 😦 “. Manu got into some sorts of alternative involvement (like alcohol) and Suni became depressive.

Doing a PhD after marriage is also full of risks. Taking the decision to join PhD when you already have a family is the toughest. The reason being- you have to convince your spouse, family and kids for the 4 or 5 years commitment. It is a calculated risk to be taken care of. I still remember Arjun’s wife jokingly but firmly asking Arjun to sign the divorce papers, when he proposed to go for a PhD after his MTech some 4 years back.

It is not just men who suffer, the girls have no better luck. A girl doing PhD is both misunderstood as well as over-qualified in the Marriage Bazaar. Misunderstood, because, she has chosen the untrodden path, which is time consuming and requires more commitment than domestic affairs. Over-qualified in the sense, that very few men choose to marry someone having higher qualification than themselves and even qualifications at par. Even if the girls marry during PhD, then the strain between domestic and professional pressures becomes so high, that it can disturb the marital bliss.

Having said all that, the world still goes on with hope and hit and trials. “Aap bhi free, mein bhi free… so, what do you say”, an opportunity not to be left in many cases; does not matter whether your engagement is broken or you are looking for some fresh start. This gives hope to desperate souls. Search continues for a partner who will fit into one’s long term goals or itemized list of desirable qualities — sometimes we become selfish, sometimes stubborn, sometimes opportunistic… but giving up hope is impossible. Who knows, some or the other trial may click … marriage is a research proposal in life for many. “Ye nahin, toh aur sahi…”

So, aamjunta… what do you think? Prepared for two marriages; PhD and Spouse !?! 🙂

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