The college-goer of today is different in many respects. For instance, there is a perceptible change in her style of dressing — the once-popular half-saree has been replaced by the salwar-kameez and Western styles. Again, today’s undergraduate exudes independence and confidence and appears capable of making plans for her future, including selecting her future partner.
Once, eligible would-be-husbands for college girls were limited to a few professions like engineering, accountancy, medicine and law, not to speak of the civil services, which offered status and security. Today, there are a wide range of career options for her to choose from while selecting the prospective husband.
Some undergraduates of a well-known city college talked to me recently about their future plans and the careers they preferred their future life-partners to be in.
Mona, a final year Literature student, wishes to enter the lAS as her father and sister are in the IPS and IRS respectively. Given a choice, she would like to marry an IAS officer because both of them would be in the same field. Geetha, majoring in History, is also keen on taking the Civil Services exam and marrying someone in the IAS, because her father is a bureaucrat himself. Prema, who is graduating in Economics, has a different reason for wishing to marry an IAS officer: “I would be happy to be an IAS officer’s wife, for I would feel proud to have a husband held in high esteem by the public.” Seema, studying for her Corporate Secretaryship, has ambitions of becoming a journalist and marrying a professor, as she comes from a family of teachers. “1 am sure that a person who moulds future generations will be a good match for me,” she feels. Leena, majoring in Maths, wants to do her M.B.B.S. and marry a computer engineer, because he would always find time for her and understand the problems of an employed wife. She also considers engineering “a profession a person gets into through hard work rather than recommendation”. Meena, pursuing the same discipline, however, wants to do her C.A. and marry an M.B.A., preferably employed in Madras, as he would have a 9 to 5 job. Radhika, doing Zoology, wants to study enetics/Bio-technology/Microbiology and, like Leena, wants to marry a computer engineer, though for a different reason – “in this field he will have rapid chances of advancing his career and have enough time to spend with his family,” she feels.
Seetha and Rani, both studying Physics, want to do their M.C.A. and Engineering and marry computer professionals (engineers) because “our problems would be common and we could discuss them together”. However, Rani is particular that her husband should be in a more senior position than her, “to avoid developing any complex”.
Sheela, a Chemistry student, wishes to get a doctorate in her subject and marry a doctor/professor of science, so that “we can work together”. Most of the girls seemed interested in careers and in getting married to men in professions not too different from their fields of study.
Why do these girls want to take up a career? “We want to work more for an identity than for money” was their unanimous reply. Everyone felt their would-be partners should be broad-minded, have a sense of humour and an understanding nature. They preferred nuclear families, which meant their future in-laws should not stay with them permanently. “They could visit us, but not stay with us forever,” was their refrain! However it was different when it came to their parents ,they added.
Doctors (medical) and advocates did not figure as the first choice of many of these girls. The civil services, engineering (computer) and teaching appear to be the most sought-after professions, as before. But today’s undergraduates prefer an M.B.A. added to their would-be husband’s degrees. And they felt that the man each one of them marries should be more good than good-looking.
N Meera Raghavendra Rao