Who weds whom?

Marriage; the union of two souls, two people, hopefully forever. What happens when this union is preceded by a frantic search for eligible bachelors meeting a certain list of pre-defined criteria ? Does one have to actively search for their soul mate? In India we do.

I have two elder cousin sisters. One got married this January and the other is out on a “date”, as I type this, with the entire family in tow. This is the second time I am observing the “let’s get our daughter married” ritual from such close quarters and may I say it is hilarious and sad at the same time.

First comes the realization of the fact that the daughter is now of a marriageable age. As a courtesy, the daughter is asked whether she has any man in sights in a tone that implies that the preferred answer is a no.  At least they ask. This is followed by opening an account on any popular marriage-mate-matcher sites as suggested or recommended by our ever helpful relatives and nosy neighbors. Once the entry fees is paid, the hobbies and choices duly filled along with uploading the most flattering yet decent picture of one’s self; we wait. The suggestions start pouring in like ants crawling up a piece of cake left in the park.

Your parents, his parents, the parents’ parents, the neighbor’s parents, the pet dog’s parents; information on everybody is needed by everybody. You? Him? That can be dealt with later. Out of the many suggestions, the daughter along with the entire family shortlists a few men who appear to be decent with a good academic back ground, after all one wants intelligent offspring, right? The family of this potential groom is contacted. If none of the applicants on the site manage to pass the minimum standards of clearance do we lose hope? Absolutely not. When shall all those aunties be of use? A few men are suggested and the daughter may pick one.

So, a man is chosen and now his family is contacted. Bi-lateral talks begin. Over long phone conversations the families decide a neutral place for meeting and we wait.  During this waiting period appropriate clothes are bought, the daughter is primped up for display and a crash course in “How To Behave Like A Docile Lady”  is an absolute must.  The days until the big meet are peppered with tips and questions that a girl MUST ask and ones to avoid.The D day arrives and you reach the “neutral Switzerland-like” venue to meet your potential “soul mate”. Fake smile on the face, dead butterflies in the stomach and an oppressive air of formality that is ready to choke you at any moment. This process does not end after the meeting because this man might not be The One. There is no Morpheus in the marriage world. You might get rejected, you might reject him, anything could happen. Once the bilateral ties fizzle out the whole torturous procedure begins again.

How delightful!

In the case of my elder sister the guy turned out to be Adonis incarnate. Not only that, he was extremely likable and still is. The fate of tonight’s rendezvous is yet unknown.  Now I do not condone the concept of arranged marriages but the idea that my parents can find me my perfect soul mate just because they found me my perfect diapers is somehow unacceptable to me. I’d like to fall in love with the person before marriage. Get to know his every fault and irritating habit before becoming his wife, not after wards where one can do nothing other than cursing everything and everyone that got us together. For those of whom it works, great, I however doubt it will work for me though mostly because I am too much of a romantic.

The family is due to arrive home any moment. I hope things went well. I fervently hope I never have to go through this in my life.

Marriage might be the union of soul mates but I’d rather find my mate on my own.

 

 

 

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Image arranged from http://www.bubblews.com/assets/images/news/1455983901_1379025105.jpg

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22 thoughts on “Who weds whom?

  1. I find it fascinating that there are arranged marriages to this day. I understand it is a cultural practice and some people may prefer it. I like that you are honest about what you want in life when it comes to your husband to be. You know you wouldn’t want to settle for anything less than your soul mate and I love that ❤ Marriage can be hard at times but what makes it worthwhile is that you share it with the person you love =)

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  2. I had quite a few Indian friends when I lived in Michigan. All of the ones my age were in arranged marriages. I found it so strange at first, but came to see that it did indeed work for many of them… not all. It helps, I learned, if the families at least care what their children think, and don’t insist on a union. I see it as akin to marriage when my parents were dating. You met someone, added up the pros and cons, and got married very quickly… attraction played a big part, but initial attraction is so misleading, I think. Chemistry doesn’t always last beyond the deeper stuff… but then, maybe we over analyze unions today, and the divorce rate just keeps going up. In my parents’ day, that initial attraction was pretty much it, and divorce was mostly out of the question.

    I think romantic love is a little overrated… *she says from her middle-aged platform*… but I hope you are able to play a central role in your choices, Shreya. Interesting post. I am enjoying these cultural glimpses, into a world I am so drawn to. 😉

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    1. Thank you Dawn. Yes, even my mother does say romantic love is over-rated but you see I am young and there is that hope alive which cynicism has not killed yet.
      I am not saying arranged marriages per say are bad, I am saying that the process is quite staged and not something I look forward to. It does work out in most cases but when it goes wrong, it is terrible.
      Considering our society’s morals and ethics the partners do not even consider a separation and stay together unhappily.
      I am so looking forward to your trip and the possibility of us meeting!
      Thank you for the response here.
      🙂

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      1. Don’t get me wrong, Shreya, I hope you find romantic love, and I would certainly hope you don’t go through this challenging and somewhat demoralizing process… I’m just saying romance isn’t always ideal either. I hope only the best for you, my dear.

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      2. Sigh. Romance is far from ideal. I am in a relationship and have become become far more mature and wise now.
        In the end its best to leave these things on fate.
        🙂

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  3. Though I am not exactly ‘for’ this arranged marriage concept, I have seen it work for most people. And I actually find the part where you don’t know all the small habits and emotional intricacies of the person you are marrying, interesting! There is the ‘getting-to-know-him’ bit to look forward to, which is always light and fun, provided the guy is not a douche-bag… but then that part the parents usually cover! :p Great post!

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    1. It does work out and yes, the “getting to know” part might be fun but not in my eyes. What irks me is the process of finding that “one”.
      Thank you for reading.
      🙂

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  4. Lol.. As is with us hard core romantics, we worry too much and fuss on all things that might be our future partner. Rest assured, seeing around me.. I ‘ve realised this adage holds true a lot .. Man proposes, God disposes ! 😛

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    1. That is the sad truth but here no man proposes and the parents dispose off any proposal right at the start.
      God is not even considered. 😀

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  5. I simply loved it…it is so absurd to see arranged marriage still exists in India today where the youth is independent financially and also emotionally.It is ok if people want to have their marriage arranged by their parents but the kind of social sanctioning these ‘arranged marriages’ have in our society is bad.Love marriages are looked down upon.It is sad to see so many Indians still give in to the family pressure and do not assert their independence.

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    1. Thank you Swati! Yes, it is kind of sad that loved marriages, no matter how suitable are looked down upon and a certain taboo is associated with them. Like I said, if it is agreeable to the people involved, it is good but personally I don’t like the concept too much. At least not in today’s times.
      Thank you for stopping by!

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      1. Nobody likes this concept.People just go for it so as not to offend their parents(as parents have the full control over children’s lives in Indian Culture).Most of them are emotionally blackmailed.Arranged marriages do more harm to the society than good whether in the form caste system,dowry or honor killings.
        Many people express their disdain for caste system and dowry publicly but they never speak against arranged marriages that are a means to sustain these social evils.

        If a culture sanctions that the most important decision of a person’s life is supposed to be taken by the family then it is very obvious to witness the cases of honor killings.

        We silently permit such things to happen.

        http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/not-for-arranged-marriage/article5204945.ece

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