"Especially after the death of a partner or getting divorced, there is a gap that children cannot fill."

A second innings at love Looking for partners way after the bloom of youthGettyImages
news Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - 14:37

People do dissuade a woman from wanting to get married, as Ratna found out. After all, when she said she wanted to get divorced, her family accepted her decision, but a second marriage was just asking for too much.

Three years ago, Ratna decided to file for divorce; 15 years of being married had given her nothing but sleepless nights.

“He would come home drunk and even beat me up. After so many years, I felt there was no point in being married to him and decided to file for divorce.”

In 2009, Ratna left her husband in Koppal town where they had lived together, and came to Bengaluru in search of a better job.

A teacher at a special school in Yesvantpur, Ratna eventually gathered the courage to file for divorce without the knowledge of her husband and other family members in 2013. Aware of her troubles with her husband, her family accepted her decision when she finally told them.

Ratna now wishes to find a partner for herself, but found that her family disapproved. “What is the need to re-marry? You can live with us,” was the response Ratna got when she told them. But she has refused to let the pressure weigh her down. 

Krishna Kumar (name changed) was in a slightly different position. He lost his wife of 32 years. Four years after her death, when he announced that he wanted to get married again – at the age of 60 – he got a generous dose of ‘what will people say?’ responses. 

His partner is a fellow doctor at the hospital where he works in Thrissur. In 2014 the pair got married in a small ceremony attended by close relatives - many of whom, including one of his sons, did not turn up. 

Ratna is very excited. On Sunday she went to a senior citizens’ matrimonial meet in Bengaluru. “I got three proposals,” Ratna says. “I met one of the men on Sunday, but I will have to take time and think about the proposals I have received.”

However, having had to endure an unpleasant marriage for over a decade, Ratna says that she is nervous but determined. “Half of my life is already gone… with an unhappy marriage and the constant struggles. It’s high time that I think about my own life,” she says.

But marriage, for Ratna, means security. “I just want to lead my life with someone who will support me,” she says. Children need not be part of the equation.

For many people like Ratna, Ahmedabad-based Anubhandh Foundation has been a ray of hope. Its founder Natubhai Patel decided to launch a matrimonial bureau for senior citizens in 2002, after witnessing the ways in which the Kutch earthquake had shattered lives in Gujarat.

“More than in youth, it is in old age that loneliness begins to creep into one’s life. Especially after the death of a partner or getting divorced, there is a gap that children cannot fill. Children are always busy with their own lives and jobs. They tend to leave their parents in old age homes,” he says.

Over 200 people registered themselves at the Bengaluru event, Natubhai says. Although the bureau has received close to 8,000 applications since 2002, Natubhai calls only around 120 cases “successful”, read got married.

More men than women approach the bureau. “Even though women desire to re-marry, most of them cannot take the step as they are dependent on their children,” he says.