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By Satish Rajamani,
Twenty nine years old and smugly single, I consider myself to be a part of the niche clan of people who have never quite achieved their potential, are lazy, know they can do much better and aspire only for the best. We are that clan of people who can talk sense and are always open to trying out new things.
We also have aspirations of meeting the perfect one who looks like Monica Belluci and can talk intelligently on literature, music and movies and also be an ideal woman at home. Yes, we aspire nothing less than the superwoman but we are rational and practical enough to know our limitations – that we are mostly Clark Kents and Peter Parkers (without any superpowers).
Over-zealous Aunties/Uncles Inc
Thanks to the over-zealous aunties and uncles and of course, my dad, who believes that I need to be tied in the “bonds” of holy matrimony and thus fill the void in my life and thus prove my mettle as a man… I am in the dreaded place that is more commonly-known as “the arranged marriage process”.
The eagerness of the “concerned” elders, I believe is more to absolve themselves of any remaining responsibilities towards me. I have felt the entire gamut of emotions ranging from despair to desperation thanks to these aunties and uncles especially the ones who have grey hair, bald patches or both. The most common question they put across to me is “What type of girl do you want? “, which is usually followed by, “Do you want a working-type girl or housewife bhi chalegi?” The fact remains that such questions drive me away from the sight of grey hair in any function. Ironically the older these uncles get, they tend to be more sensible in their advice as they mention about waiting for the right girl and going slow 🙂
Arranged Marriage, a Compromise?
Honestly, arranged marriage is a compromise one makes. You have little time to analyse the stakes or the nature of the opportunity; you are usually sold on the pros, and accepting the cons is a step which is very difficult to make. The time factor becomes the sword of Damocles hanging over your head – so you don’t have a choice but to make your decision quickly!
Bearing the above, one must remember that my generation is a confused lot for starters. We find it difficult to let go of Doordarshan serials and admire their simplicity but still want to live a life like Barney Stintson or Robin Schebartsky of How I Met Your Mother! Hope however makes us believe that we can evolve the arranged marriage process and tune it to our constraints.
Achieving “status quo”
With the little experience I have, (thanks to my observation and listening skills), arranged marriage seems to work when you have made up a sketch in your head. Of course, this sketch becomes relevant only after matching horoscopes andfamily compatibility verification – which is another litmus test and usually is purely subjective. Post that, most men are scrutinised under the following criteria:
a) Decent job with a decent profile and good money (has to be more than what the woman earns for sure!) irrespective of industry or domain.
b) Presentable looks and speaking skills.
c) Reasonable bad habits (Read: Drinking at pubs, etc allowed but not to be publicly declared, smoking a strict no-no at least for appearance sake).
So, if someone fulfils all three above categories, he is a potential life partner. Rest of the parameters are “give or take” wherein all things considered compromises can be made. Lack of common interests can be usually negated, newer tastes magically acquired and pursued in order to achieve status quo. The key aspect being that major points are ticked off and the rest you go with an objective of adjusting and reconciliation.
Screening Prospective Brides
Of course, the trend ensures that men also usually judge the girls on the following parameters only:
b) Relative smartness.
c) And finally, the ability to make the man feel that he is the hero of her dreams and the apple of her eye.
The irony today lies more in the prevalent lack of faith that all things will fall in place and this makes the prospect of arranged marriage seemingly more archaic and painful.
Things to Consider
I sympathise with the women who are getting their marriages arranged as well. Why? Because they are brought up on par with men like me and enjoy all the freedom and experience similar to their counterparts. Marriage thus demands that they make a much greater sacrifice than the modern man.
This is something men have to understand deeply and thus gauge a person not only through their parameters but also do their best to balance the expectations of their future wife and their parents. Having said that, the women of today have to be clear in their head about the level of responsibilities that marriage brings on their shoulders where the presence or absence of the in laws result in equally big responsibilities. The numerous constraints put on us by our culture and to a certain extent, the crazy real estate prices make it difficult to start a life post marriage easily in a new setup.
Arranged Love, Anyone?
I feel for today’s women I meet but at the same time can’t help but expect her to be a superwoman. I am not hypocritical when I say the above as I can definitely assure that whether she remains a Louis Lane rather than a Bat Girl, I would definitely become the best Bruce Wayne that I can be. One thing that still remains unchanged is the aspect of love which makes a Louis Lane live with all the quirks of Superman and still trust him when he flies away at night:) The key is to try and fall in love with the person you are arranging your life with. The rest, as they say, will fall in place.