Saturday, June 11, 2011

Arbit thoughts about an arbit event

In countries like mine, arranged marriages are the norm. It involves the parents hunting for that perfect bride or groom for their children and having a match that's based on so many different parameters. The horoscopes, the caste, the religion, the lifestyles... the list is next to endless! And when one finds all these parameters matching to a certain extent, (a perfect match is a hypothetical phenomenon!) the prospective bride and groom talk to each other. Now, there is the question of compatibility. Does the girl go on and on about her favorite saas-bahu serial? Or does he talk about work and very little outside work? The proposals are dropped then and there. And then, if the two people find that there is a very good chance of them being capable of cohabiting a room without boring the other person to death, they move on to the next step which looks like a business negotiation. Sure, there are quite a few families that don't expect anything from the girl's side and vice versa but there are an equal number of other folks who put their demands out into the open with not an ounce of compunction. Sometimes the talks stop then and there and sometimes, the negotiations are made and the marriage materializes on middle ground.

And after all this is over, the engagement happens. This is like an unwritten deal between the two parties signalling that the boy and the girl are reserved for one another and they can now talk freely and work out the kinks if any. Sometimes the engagement is the day before the wedding and sometimes it is a year before the wedding. And the girl and the boy are expected to get to know each other by then (read: the girl must memorize all of the boy's likes and dislikes!).

And then the marriage happens and the girl and boy are left alone to do what they will with their lives together. the grownups will interfere only in the gravest of cases (though the mother-in-law is more than happy to decide everything for the couple... she knows best!).

In the midst of this pandemonium, the girl and the boy are sometimes (more often than not), overwhelmed by it all. I'm in a way happy that arranged marriages these days involve more of the ones getting married than from my parents' times. But still... it is so overwhelming. If the guy is someone employed in some other country, then the girl needs to adjust and adapt to the new place immediately!

Then again, if all of this is so troublesome, why do so many people choose to get married? Why don't they just choose someone for themselves and then bring in the family at a later stage? The answer is quite simple. Irrespective of how advanced we might pride ourselves to be, there remains one corner in every one of our hearts that yearns to hold onto the frayed strands of a yesteryear age. One where everybody had a say... one where we were all one big family. One where selflessness was a virtue that wasn't just preached. And we know, in our wisest moments, that those were some good old times!

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