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The Sassy Side of Sixty: Relationships, Then and Now

by Aiden

Dolly Koghar gives her generation’s take on sex, living together, and marriage.

Ok, young’uns, if you think we oldies belong to the dinosaur era, you are so badly mistaken. We might be wrinkled and gnarled and forgetful of things that are no longer significant, or those that we couldn’t care less about, but if you bother to make time and actually listen to what we say, you’d discover that it’s not that we don’t ‘get it’, or don’t comprehend the fast-changing world the youth face. Neither do we refuse to stand up for our convictions. Rather, it’s because we’ve “been there, done that, seen that, felt that,” and there’s not much left that we haven’t experienced first-hand, second-hand or from a distance.

So, don’t be fooled by us, the dadi and nani sitting unperturbed, chameleon-like on the sofa; we understand the struggle and dilemma our children and grandchildren are facing with the rapidly-changing norms of live-in relationships, trial marriages, and even multiple premarital sexual relationships in search of the imaginary, perfect soulmate. However, since we are once removed from the issue, we choose to keep our gobs shut till when and if our input is needed, and will be respectfully considered. Meanwhile, despite our cataracts and dimmer hearing, we’re watchful of the drama and its aftermaths play themselves out. We silently pray for fortitude for the parents of today; and for bhuddhi, a discerning mind, for the grandchildren, one that perceives what’s good for the eventual tomorrow.

Below are the sassy oldies’ takes on the issue:

• “We girls didn’t talk to boys, not even one-on-one with our fiancées, with whom we were engaged very early on; as we were always chaperoned. If our parents were alive today, everything their great-grandchildren are doing would be haw haei (sacrilege) for them, especially concerning girls.”

• “I’m absolutely ok if they are upfront and honest about their relationship. Although it doesn’t guarantee anything, maybe it’s better to know each other more, rather than regret the marriage later.”

• “We have to change along with the world.”

• “Their life is their choice and we have no say, so no use saying.”

• The wind is blowing in their direction and they are well capable of fending for themselves, including the girls. They’re choosing to have relationships that lasts as long as they like it; unlike our marriages which were meant to last a lifetime and beyond. God bless them! Yeh jawani hai diwani!

• “I think it is morally wrong to have such open relationships before a legally- binding marriage, which is a bond, a union of two people. It’s not a contract, where you agree to live-in together and if things are not dreamily wonderful, you part ways, which I think is due to lack of love and easy boredom.”

• “I’m fine with it since anyway, nobody asks our opinions or tells us who they are dating and what their relationships are. But luckily, my children respected my wishes that in the initial stages, I preferred they met up in groups. It was important that my son didn’t treat the girls he dated as playthings, and that my daughter wouldn’t accept expensive gifts d unless the relationship had a legitimate name to it.”

• “I view premarital sex as a personal choice if it’s consensual and built on a responsible relationship. Similarly, ‘trial marriages’ might be a good way to understand each other’s habits, expectations, financial dynamics, and compatibility, before deciding for a lifelong commitment which might help towards a stable and lasting marriage.”

• “It’s important for individuals to make informed choices based on their own values, ethics, and emotional readiness. Open communication, mutual respect, and responsible decision-making are crucial in any relationship, regardless of societal norms or expectations.”

• Osho’s take: “Each child is a born pagan; he is happy the way he is. He has no idea what is right and what is wrong; he has no ideals… but sooner or later he will lose that simplicity. That is part of life; it has to happen.”

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