Move over Large Families: DINKs Are Here

New Delhi, May 22: Traditional Indian society attaches great importance to large undivided families including a large number of children. Family life is unthinkable minus children. This is possibly why society frowns upon or criticizes absence of children whether by choice or due to biological reasons.

Now all this is passé.  The country is witnessing the rise of the DINK (Dual Income No Kids) brigade.  They are educated, young, upwardly mobile, professionals who voluntarily give parenthood a miss. They are commonplace at least in the metros and larger cities.  Their watchword:    Children are NOT the be-all –and-end-all of life. There is lot more to life than parenthood.

An ASSOCHAM (Associated Chamber of Commerce & Industry of India) survey on “Changing Consumption Patterns of Delhi” reveals that DINKs spend lavishly and flaunt a far more luxurious lifestyle as compared to  their counterparts with children. Their options:  eating out, gymming, books and music, purchase of consumer durables and personal care items, besides entertainment and travel.

Anirban and Aparajita Bhattacharya are well into their 40’s.  Both are central government employees based in Delhi /NCR. Right after marriage the couple was determined not to plan a family. Why?  Aparajita says candidly, “Simply because I can’t quit my job. It is lucrative and comfortable.  And if I don’t give up my job I feel I won’t be able to do justice to my offspring.”  Their income is spent on travel and acquiring property.

Meet Harvinder and Manjeet Singh, a DINK couple from south Delhi. Manjeet is a software engineer, and his wife a Yoga instructor. Married for 16 years now, Singhs are literally footloose and fancy free. They go on vacations at least twice a year, own a luxury car and a luxury apartment.

How do DINKs battle an orthodox society and the stigma attached to barrenness? Harvinder says, “It is an uphill task convincing people. They are stunned and eye you with suspicion. They suggest all kinds of pills and remedies.  You are advised to resort to occult powers, weird rituals and mumbo jumbo. If you don’t buckle under pressure you feel great afterwards.

” Aparajita says “My mother in law, being educated and enlightened, solidly backs our decision though she does crave for grandkids at times…”

Researches highlight manifold causes for the high incidence of DINK­s- aversion for children, traumatic childhood, fear of weight gain and distorted figure owing to pregnancy and childbirth, fear of loss of personal freedom among many others.

Soumyajit and Mohua, academicians at a prestigious science Institute, have barred parenthood from their marriage of nearly two decades.  Soumyajit has a severe vision problem coupled with genetic diabetes.  Mohua says in a poignant tone “Why bring a new life into this world when we are fully aware that these medical problems would most likely be inherited by our offspring.”  They are into music, reading, and jetting around the world when they have time.

Successful Kolkata based lawyers Shyamoli and Bishwajit Chakraborti, are far too career minded to raise a family. Since they live away from their family home, they escape being branded childless on a daily basis. And that’s a blessing feels Shyamoli.

Doesn’t the future appear bleak to the DINK? Affirms Harvinder, “Not really. The concept of children looking after old folks is outdated. Nowadays youth have their hands full.  So it is wrong  to expect them to be dutiful towards parents. In a way, being DINK has made us self reliant and confident enough to take care of ourselves.”

The Chakrabortis feel, life offers so much experience and adventure. Why forgo all that to raise children who might desert you once they are grown up?”