Monday, March 17, 2014

Arranged by parents, loved by choice


Courtesy -  www.caricatureking.com



When women meet for the first time, they immediately get down to the business of knowing each other intimately by asking uncomfortable questions. Give us ten minutes and we’re ready to file vital information about the square feet area of your apartment, your dog’s dietary preferences, your child’s academic records of the past 10 years and the name of the nurse who pacified your Mom while she was trying to pop you out. Men on the other hand can be friends for months and still be content with knowing just each other’s first names. They don’t need to know a person’s background to decide whether they will like or ignore them.

If you are married, you can bet your ass that by the time you’ve sipped your tea and are about to reach out for the Britannia Bourbon, the conversation will typically veer towards your marriage and whether it was love or arranged. This question is usually popped after it has been ascertained by clever means how much older or younger you are than what their mental math suggested.

In India, we are used to our parents make most decisions on our behalf, thanks to their inherent faith in our capability to do nothing right. So, we find it perfectly normal when they line up a list of eligible life-mates for us, factoring in position of the planets at the time of his birth, his braggability factor, bank balance and not just his qualifications and social standing but also that of his parents and their ancestors. If you are a girl, it’s understood that if you’re not fair, beautiful, convent educated, working but homely, you have no business getting hitched.

With such a stringent screening process, how can we expect anything but a prized catch to land in our laps! And who has the time to look for a guy to fall in love with when we’re too busy either disappointing our parents or making them proud.

Don’t we all want a spouse who fulfils our family’s and their Pandit jee’s expectations!

Granted that in a love match you get to tie the knot with your own boyfriend but in an arranged match you get to marry someone else’s. The only difference between a love and an arranged match is Cupid’s timing – he either strikes you before or after you marry. But we all get the same time, that is the rest of our lives to fall out of love and discover, everything you found endearing about your spouse was merely a hallucination.


In India we don’t get married to the boy but also his family, so it makes perfect sense to end up with in-laws who approve of our lineage. And since marriage is always a gamble, I’d rather end up with a mistake of their choice than mine and deny them the opportunity of being proved right yet again.

Agreed, one gets a rare thrill in defying parents and eloping with the nightmare of their choice but trust domesticity to be the greatest unifier of all. A few years of holy matrimony followed by parenthood ensures that we all end up looking uniformly harried. No one can make out that this was the guy for whom you were ready to jump off the building and drew hearts in your Chemistry notebook, when they see you both squabbling like siblings in the lift.

These days I see couples enjoying best of both the worlds – falling in love, getting their parents’ blessings and then having them host a big fat Indian wedding where one spends the equivalent of a small nation’s GDP on a trousseau that the bride will outgrow in a couple of months and a multi-cuisine lavish buffet where people waste more than they eat. Parents who were hoping that their child will elope and spare them the expenses are now compelled to throw a lavish party to show that they are broadminded enough to put their child’s happiness above their ego.

Things have come to such a point that one has to rely on Bollywood to give us the thrill of watching couples willing to brave all odds for the sake of love.

When I look at Gen Next, stuck to their headphones, lost in the world of their own making, and wearing their forever alone tags like a badge of honour, I have very little hope in them finding their soulmates. With the West discovering the merits of arranged matches where one gets to meet Prince Charming without the headache of having to date commitment-phobic morons, I feel this concept still has a long innings ahead.

Maybe, instead of calling it arranged marriage and making it sound antiquated, we could start calling it arranged sex. This could arguably be the coolest makeover ever for the sake of this super cool generation. Anything to get them hitched and off our backs, right?

Now I can’t wait for someone to ask if my match was love or arranged and have them choke on their khakras as I unleash upon them my newly acquired lexicon. 


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92 comments:

  1. "Granted that in a love match you get to tie the knot with your own boyfriend but in an arranged match you get to marry someone else’s." -- Mind blowing !!! :D :D

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    1. One woman's gain is another woman's loss :p

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  2. As usual, you have hit the bull's eye!

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  3. Ha Ha - You are making arranged marriage sound cool. But honestly not everyone has the patience to stalk women in clubs just to get married - much easier the Indian way.

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    1. Exactly! Who has the time to bat eyelashes, act coy and fall in love when your parents can land you a prized catch :p

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    3. you people are very right about this. and Purba-an amazing post.
      It seems to speak what i myself have been thinking these days

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    4. Happy that the post echoes your thoughts.

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  4. Oh! YES! Ours is a nation of committee decision-making, so how can we let the decision of who is to be the groom/bride be taken by one single person - even if that person IS the other half of the matrimonial tug-of-war? :)

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    1. The great Indian parivar, always there for you, no matter what.

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    2. And whether or not you want them to be there :)

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    3. Absolutely, everything is their business.

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  5. 'Don’t we all want a spouse who fulfils our family’s and their Pandit jee’s expectations!'
    Haha! True. Quite an interesting post! :)

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    1. Thank for reading, Anukriti :-)

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  6. We like to have our cake and eat it too... so the arranged love marriage is now an in thing:) The fatter the purse... fatter the wedding!

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    1. Most importantly - our parents are always right.

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  7. There is a saying in telugu, which stone does it matter to break your tooth? The same thing here as well. Arranged or love, after the marriage, it's the same story everywhere. When I was newly married, I was under a big illusion that couples in love marriage do not fight at all....but as you said, arranged marriage at least spares you the chance to agree your mistakes. btw, is yours a love or an arranged one? :) Jk...

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    1. It was arranged by my husband :D

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  8. 'I’d rather end up with a mistake of their choice than mine and deny them the opportunity of being proved right ' - wow! Am not alone :)

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    1. No, sweetheart, you have me for company.

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  9. lol phunnyyy truth of our lives

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  10. And I am absolutely certain that all the women who read this post thought of the question you voiced out in the end.. is yours a love or an arranged one Purba?? :D :D
    You know even with Indian love marriages, Parents go about checking the stars and matching the planets, its like they have to get those things done come what may :P

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    1. Like I mentioned earlier, it was arranged by my husband :D

      Exactly, for our parents we'll always be kids who constantly need their guidance.

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  11. I am still a bachelor and your post, hilarious though it sounds, is terrifying *bites nails*

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    1. Oops! It's not that bad you know. Especially when you come home to a warm smile :-)

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  12. You know when I was younger, I used to wonder why the parents even want to make this decision. Luckily, my parents were more than happy to go with my choice. I was too grounded to have eloped anyway. And, even back then I would not have married against my parents' wishes. But now I feel that parents and families on both sides can be a huge support system for you. Why do we push them away? If we know how to set boundaries both ways, nothing is more fulfilling then having supporting parents on both sides. But yes, I cannot imagine ever being married to someone I didn't know.

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    1. I'd like to think times are changing. Even with arranged matches, couples date and get to know each other before saying yes. I had a similar thing. We dated each other before making up our minds.

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  13. Women begin the mental math, taking notes about your social and financial health. Some men do it to though with more finesse and patience.
    And the best of both worlds worked for me.

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    1. Mwah, Alka. You're both lucky to have each other.

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  14. Hilarious and a bit nightmarish too. But I agree, after years of domesticity, we all look the same :)

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  15. arranged sex? can i have some?

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    1. I'm not your Mom, you know. You have to ask her.

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  16. Trust you to tell it like it is. Arranged sex! The oldest profession in the world?

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    1. Err...that's not what I was implying.

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  17. "Granted that in a love match you get to tie the knot with your own boyfriend but in an arranged match you get to marry someone else’s"
    GODDAMN!! Hahahahahaha...This terrifies me now!

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    1. Nahin re! All that matters is a deep understanding of each other.

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  18. In my case I had to make my parents fall in love with my husband (than boyfriend) ohh boy what a drama :P I sometimes wonder if love marriages see more drama or the arranged marriages. Coz no Indian wedding is complete without some drama :) I agree that when a girl doesn't just marry a boy, but his whole family. Ahh the newly coined term is going to send ripples across our society :P I can imagine Auntiji's cringing, with their hands on their ears :P

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    1. It's the various conjectures people draw that annoys me the most. It's not as if arranged matches are loveless and vice-versa. It's a gamble in both cases.

      And in both cases the MIL thinks her son could have done much better :p

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  19. Don’t we all want a spouse who fulfils our family’s and their Pandit jee’s expectations! ..Arranged Sex! Epic Purba! Bang on and you've hit the right nail on the hypocrisy of the Indian society across the globe..Guess, Marriage has become sort of business nowadays where everyone wanna get the best deal like Diwali Dhamaka, except the couple:)

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    1. And at the Wedding, everyone gets to have fun but the couple. Someone's gotta change that.

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  20. "Granted that in a love match you get to tie the knot with your own boyfriend but in an arranged match you get to marry someone else’s" - Hahaha could not be more true!

    I had a love marriage with the blessings of both our parents and everything has been good so far. Yeah, no parenthood until now, probably that's why :D

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    1. Hey, parenthood may not be a cakewalk but it does bring couples closer.

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  21. haha...mine was a love cum arranged marriage and honestly I could have strangled my husband while we sat next to the holy fire...the evidence of us pissed at each other is still there in the video which we haven't seen even in three years! Every kind of marriage in India is sooooo tough, the process is so arduous!

    By the way yours was an arranged or love marriage Purba ? :D

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    1. It was arranged by my husband, Naba :-)

      Why were you pissed off with him?

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  22. "Granted that in a love match you get to tie the knot with your own boyfriend but in an arranged match you get to marry someone else’s" this line i can se is already a hit still can't help not to mention it :D Loved it as usual true A-musings .... :D

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed reading, Kokila :-)

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  23. "Granted that in a love match you get to tie the knot with your own boyfriend but in an arranged match you get to marry someone else’s" ..This has got me so paranoid! I don't want someone else's boyfriend marrying me! Hahaha :D :D

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    1. Why not? He's will be well trained in the matters of the heart :p

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  24. So much have been said about this topic. I like your perspective. There are pros and cons with both. However, I guess the real success factor in every successful marriage is the mutual respect and choice they made by understanding the individuality of each other. Unfortunately, most arranged marriages in India happens over status, money, societal value etc.

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    1. You couldn't have put it better.

      Ours is a hierarchical society and I doubt if things will change for the better in the future.

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  25. Arranged & still loved by choice- isn't that a reason to rejoice & to welcome!
    In a world where divorces are common, good that India upholds marriage of all forms! :)

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    1. It's mostly because we don't have a choice.

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  26. Nice blog. I really feel pity on girls and parents where inspite of being love marriage boy demands all just like a arranged marriage and girls parents have no option as they cannot say no also. Its like couples want everything and at the end love marriages are more broken than arranged ones.

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    1. If the boy thinks he's doing the girl a favour by marrying her, he's better off single.

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  27. Its best to make ones own choice as arranged or love...either way there is no gaurantee.
    Why go through a process of someone suggesting a match,then a meeting,then pandit,Then Kundli and then rest of tamasha?
    Take your pick

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    1. I had an arranged match but the Pandit jee made an appearance only during the wedding ceremonies. No horoscopes, kundlis and very liitle tamasha :-)

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  28. It is a tough choice between deciding to make our own choices with all the naivete of inexperience against the weather braved greying haired wisdom of our parents when it comes to making such choices about life. Sure there is the thrill of living by your own mistakes, and on the contrary a certain advantage of letting the elders take the blame of misjudgement (should things go wrong), since true colors don't just present themselves from the comfortable distance that couples get, whether loved, or arranged, before they're actually living together.
    It's hard to gulp things down every time, not everyone can say 'teda hai par mera hai', so why not people strike a middle ground? I don't know what that might be, but then, I don't know what I want either :P

    Regards,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. Such things are never pre-planned. If you're meant fall in love, you will. And knowing the kind of romantic you are, I have great hopes from you :p

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  29. Maybe, instead of calling it arranged marriage and making it sound antiquated, we could start calling it arranged sex! Gonna try that one lolll

    And I surely dont want to get married to someone else's boyfriend. Really scary! Eye opening. Especially since I'm getting the arranged marriage pressure aajkal *sigh*


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    1. Just listen to your heart. You will know when you meet him :-)

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  30. ha ha.....great! And he gets to marry someone else's girlfriend. And arranged sex can also be forced sex... so on and so forth. It does look complicated :D

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    1. Very and in India women are forced to put up with abusive marriages for the sake of her family.

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  31. hmmmm about marriage ..arrange or no....really I dont know....I think its a secret cod

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    1. The success of which depends on both.

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  32. It is all a lie! All this marriage and love. Emotions and stuff planted in our heads by our alien overlords to keep us from knowing the truth and rising against them.
    Proud to be #ForeverAlone

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    1. Hahahahaha...Look who's talking :p

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  34. lets explain the concept of marriage.marriage is a medieval custom to keep society in order and stable.in ancient india ,opposite genders din't had scope to socialise, so to keep future generations intact and to flourish they introduced a custom called marriage.marriage happens between two strangers and the marriage is a commitment to be responsible for the rest of life.so they intoduced rituals ,astrology,all stuff around marriage to create stable society.in modern world ,opposite genders have many occassions from schooling to work place to public places to gather,meet and understand.why do we need a medieval custom called marriage which was meant for strangers to keep together. its very funny when people opt for marriage in modern world,marriage is belief of a coward with a weak commitment cuz they don't feel secure without a concept called marriage.i can live with a girl forever without marriage coz its really simple if you are honest.

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    1. I do see a lot of live-in couples and the Courts of Law have also accorded legal rights. But I wouldn't call marriage that cowards resort to.

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    2. is n't that true if we call ourselves as truly educated and if we call ourselves as rational.

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  35. Great Purba.....It's better to get married ( have to say so as I'm very much in it ) be it arranged or love ..and as you said..the only difference is Cupid's timing.. :-D

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    1. I don't have your blog link. Care to share it?

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  36. Great post. That was exactly why I did not want to go for love marriage. At least with arranged marriage, you are assured of your parents' support in case the marriage goes sour. In love marriage, you have blame yourselves. And I am really bad at making solo decisions in life. :) even husband and I dated for 3 months and I fell in love with him during that period.

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    1. Both have their pros and cons. I feel we should all have the freedom to choose how and why we should get married. To each her own, I say :-)

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  37. Hahaha! I tend to ask people if they had a love or an arranged marriage. I thought it was a conversation starter in a lot of cases. But now I assume it is as bad as 'When do you plan to have kids'! Ok probably not as bad .. maybe I can start conversations with 'What do you think about AAP'!! And why not, men do the same!

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    1. Quoting Devdutt Pattanaik - When questions are asked always check if the person asking is a curious seeker or a hawk-eyed judge, and only then answer.

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  38. loved it. seriously it is so tiring to date and also try to get a good career. i better have my parents to the match-making. you have hit all the points with never before seen clarity

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  39. Totally agree with you Purba.Have the parents filter out the best catch and subsequently date and get to know the other person---best of both worlds :)

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    1. I'm happy with any arrangement as long as it ends well. Marriage as they say is a lot of work.

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  40. Good one, I would love to know the reaction when you call it "arranged sex". But seriously the system of marriage in India really needs to improvise. Whether love or arranged the basics and reasons to get married need to be clear between the two people. Crazy love which will drop like air pressure when you go up is not good for long term health for relationship and in arranged the little time and too much pressure when making decision means people often go wrong with their choices.

    www.styledestino.com

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    1. As long as we are looking at the right reasons before saying yes to the chosen one. Of course, that requires a lot of maturity :-)

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  41. It is quite strange how everyone discusses the same things in "get togethers" these days. Maids and schools among the women folk, and, well, nothing really among the men. And since all couples behave exactly the same on the surface no matter whether they had a love or arranged marriage all those years ago, I am assuming the sex is pretty consistent and a great leveller!
    f

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    1. Rickie, we are forgetting the art of conversation. It's so annoying to see men and women at parties segregate to different corners and bore each other to death. Worse is when you have to put up specimens who think reading jokes from WhatsApp forwards is funny!

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  42. Reminded me of that dialogue in that classic Indian comedy, Golmaal, delivered by Utpal Dutt in his inimitable style. The one in which he tells his daughter that you will not get married to the person you love ... you will get married to the person I love. "Tumhari shaadi usse nahin hogi jise tum prem karti ho ... tumhari shaadi usse hogi jise main prem karta hoon".

    But you are right that later on it's not about how you get together it's about how you stay together.

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  43. Hahahaha! That's such a hilarious line and holds true for most of us.

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  44. arranged sex it is.. umm but I want to arrange it myself and not my mom for god sake..

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