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"The honeymoon is over when he phones that he'll be late for supper and she has already left a note that it is in the refrigerator". -Bill Lawrence, American screenwriter, producer and director.

Our society, today, is reeling under a glut of information. Be it regarding medicines taken, railway reservation status, the recipe of a food item, in fact, everything from A to Z, can be obtained through the all pervasive internet at just the click of a button from our personal computer. The world keeps shrinking as the clout of technology grows, day by day. Nevertheless, the increasing modernization and westernization of the society has a negative side as well. Finding a suitable bride or a groom has become an easy task with the help of the matrimonial websites. Would-be life partners get to know a lot about each other before tying the nuptial knot. However, the travesty is that after getting married, as days pass by, many find it hard to allocate time to spend with their family, due to increasing work pressure. The old days when couples spent time, faced life and shared their feelings, happy or sad, together, are history. This is an era where many career women hire wombs to carry their babies even when they are physically fit to do so. The way of living has become almost fully westernized in the metropolitan cities. Such an atmosphere creates a trust deficit between a husband and wife and the problems prolong and proceed till it reaches the point of divorce, in many cases.

Sky rocketing pay scales and perks have raised the economic status and the standard of living of millions of techies, but the joy of a joint family is certainly missing among many of them. Many of the city dwellers have gone in for western type nuclear families. The elderly are forced to stay separately and in case they are not in a position to manage independently, the only way out is to resort to the senior citizen homes. In many households, it is not the grandma or grandpa who takes care of the kids but it is either the maid who does the job or children are left to the care of the crèches. However, people fail to recognize that it is not only their children who miss their grandparents' love and care but also that they themselves miss their parents' or parents-in-laws' deft advice and help during times of crisis. The presence of elders can lighten a tense atmosphere, their arbitration can settle disputes and prevent divorce in many cases.

Dating has become a hobby these days. Teenage couples sitting together in restaurants or coffee shops, is a common scene today. In addition, live-in relationships have now become a way of life, especially in the metropolitan cities. The government has also accorded them legal sanction by making those women who are in a live-in relationship eligible for protection under the purview of the 'Protection of Women against Domestic Violence' Act, 2015. However, there were difficulties in identifying those under live-in relationship and the Supreme Court, in a recent judgement, in 2010 defined and specified certain conditions to declare a relationship as a 'live-in'. These conditions have been a topic of heated debate in the recent past. Although judicial remedy is available, the social protection and support by relatives which helps prevention of a breakup in the case of traditional marriages, is totally missing in the case of a live-in relationship.

Any change initially starts on a positive note and westernization also did so. Before the nineteenth century, our society was ridden with many superstitions such as sati, child marriage, untouchability and many others of the same ilk. The reformers used western education as a tool in the process of eradication of these evil practices. Westernization was also promoted as a result of foreign rule in the country and grew at a steady pace in our society. Today, in an age of globalization, westernization has increased manifold and has engulfed the society in its various aspects, from the way of dressing to the way of living and has brought along all its attendant ills. Therefore, it is essential, on the one hand, to keep up the sanctity of our traditional culture and on the other hand, to take up only the good aspects of western culture. Couples have to treat their profession and family at par. Maintaining such a balance, though easier said than done, if kept up, would definitely go a long way in preventing divorces and thus would help in keeping the fabric of the family intact.

Dr.Purvaja Mahadevan

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