Never too old to get married

Companionship carnival for elders to be held in February first week.

Chennai: As Rupert Murdoch and Kabir Bedi give themselves another chance at marriage, individuals in the city ask why despite living in the 21st century it is not so easy to find another chance at companionship or marriage.

Saran (name changed) was 11 when he lost his father in 2000. His mother, who solely handled the responsibility of bringing him up, is now considering the option of finding someone to spend the rest of her life with.

“My mother was supported by her two sisters for remarriage but she still has her own doubts. She fears that people around her will be talking about her. Initially, she was worried about my reaction but I was supportive,” said Saran.

Dignity Foundation, which has been working for over two decades to help the older age groups find companionship, will be conducting a Companionship Carnival in the first week of February.

“It will be a meeting where people willing to find companions, not necessarily marriage, will come together and meet each other,” said A. Dhanapaul, the foundation’s helpline manager. According to him, 22 people, including divorcees, separated persons, widows and widowers have registered in the past one month to find a partner for themselves.

When Rajan (name changed), 61, lost his first wife to cancer in November 2013, he went through a period of depression, hypertension and loneliness. To have a secure life sans loneliness, he wanted to get married again. With his children’s support, he tied the knot again in January 2016, after spending months trying to get his wife’s family convinced about the remarriage.

When nothing worked, he walked out of her home taking her with him. Now, he is happily settled, though his wife still deals with emotional trauma from her family not accepting her decision to remarry.

“Over the past two years, the number of persons registering themselves for finding a companion has increased. Earlier, the elderly looked for someone to go on a walk with or talk to, but now the concept of companionship is spread far and wide. Every month, we get around 10 to 15 requests for the same, which are referred to other organisations who take up finding companionship for elders,” said a spokesperson from HelpAge India, Chennai.

There are fears about companionship too, owing to past traumas. “There are women who were earlier not interested in marriage, but only live-in, because of earlier failed attempt at marriage. But there were also some who had bad experience of live-in where there were left by the partner who went on to find other partners after some time. This leads to women being apprehensive about finding a companion,” said M. Rajeshwari, founder of Thodu Needa, an organisation focusing on companionship finding based in Hyderabad.

When NGOs like HelpAge receive requests for companionship and marriage, they refer the requests to Thodu Needa who then help people meet and find their partners.

In most cases, it is the support of children that drives many in their choices.
Saran’s mother was apprehensive of hurting his feelings by finding another partner. But when she found that her son too wanted her to be with someone she would be happy with, he was more than happy, and supportive.

“She faced issues from family members who believed that she is old and I am earning. They did not see the ‘need’ for her to get married again. But once I told her I am fine with her, she is confident about the step,” said Saran.

Rajan’s wife was earlier married to a man who was a divorcee. Months after his death when she decided to remarry, her stepsons were against it; but when her son supported her decision, she found courage to take the step forward.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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