Anecdotes on Arranged Marriage
By Mamata Hegde
Arranged Marriage is slowing fading away. But it shouldn’t be completely discarded. It has a deeper sense compared to arranged dating which is more of a trend nowadays. I personally feel it gives a wide variety of choices within the same community. Nowadays it looks like someone from the same religion (forget caste, community, creed etc), nation, then extending to nations where our ancestors migrated etc is also acceptable, which is fair enough.
In the olden days arranged marriage was more of a decision of the seniors with the youngsters not even seeing their future partners, or expressing their interests. Slowly came a time when only the photos were seen. Or even a glance while serving tea and that was it, it was like getting a cup of cake with the spicy masala chai to subdue it.
Then came our era the 1990’s where the moment the daughter was 18, she was worn the best clothes, even her younger sister new clothes had to be worn by the eldest so that she has to be married first. Even community event was a must attend function. Mum with girls used to please the entire community mum with boys. Every marriage boy within the community was a best suit, irrespective of compatibility of thoughts. It was the discussion of kitty parties, puja houses etc. But the girls/boys had a lovely choice. Horoscope, aunt, uncle, grandparents, parents contribution was major compared to the youngsters’ decision.
My aunt used to joke about why a boy or girl got rejected.One affluent gujju family girl, she rejected the boy since he drank his tea pouring it in the saucer provided. Saucer was something given with the cup for fashion, but it should never serve its purpose.
Another reason was he enjoying sound made while drinking the chai. And the same girl after marriage would have got angry for not expressing the beauty of the chai taste atleast some purring sound by hubby dear.
One girl was made to stand near the door to gauge her height approximatey. Also confirming that shoes were not worn, so that the correct measurement of height was clear cut.
One girl who had defect with her fingers was asked to scrub the floor, to check if she is capable of giving excellent house service to the in laws, she in return, asked the boy to remove his specs and tell the total number of triangular shaped furshan (chiwda) in the plate given.
I was also liked because I had my nose pierced, which I did three times, due to the wound, but it was a must, and my parents thought that helped me to getting married.
Boys and girls were recycled, if rejected by one, was/wasn’t recommended for others.
But you had an array of choices. Like me, I had choice to refuse the first 12 boys, before I agree on the 13th one, my lucky number.
My first boss, also one of my community uncle (well wisher) wanted me to get married to an engineer, asks him to meet me at office after hours. So the intro is done after my parent’s permission, and he is asked to walk me to the station. I am worried, if my name will get spoiled, since I am seen with a boy. That boy wanted all frank answers, says he drinks some times, and I a non alcoholic is almost choked, and then asks me if I had some hidden defect/disease by any chance, and I can see him scratching. Then he says if we both like each other, then we can get a quick court marriage, so that he can get house loan from his company. And I am thinking I want a wedding with lots of people. And so I convince my dad, to drop him out, much to the dismay of my mum and boss
My uncle is worried why I am doing masters, and then the choice gets limited. He wants me to marry a rich shopkeeper, from Sirsi, and I am worried. I liked my Mumbai. That guy looked a hero, chewing his pan; I think I want a gentleman not a hero. Luckily I could convince dad, didn’t marry him, and heard he divorced his pregnant wife since she didn’t entertain his friends well.
Next there was this guy, who came to see me, he was kind enough to realise that his age was 34 whereas I was just 22 so mutual no was said.
Then comes this guy, who cooks very well, has a house in Mumbai, brings his relative to tell me that your parents can give whatever they can afford for the marriage, hinting dowry indirectly. Asks a question to me and answers too on my behalf. Writes letter to me how lovely I talk; I can’t remember me talking to him at all. Always brags about his uncles who are gold medallists. I wasn’t interested. Dad supports me, mum is adamant, saying sister too needs to get married, finally dad visits him on different occasions, and we come to know he has taken house with his dad’s money. He wants to marry a working girl, for the continuous flow of money. Tells even one he is an interior decorator but always at home. Phew, lucky escape, but the girl whom my hubby rejected got married to him. God bless her.
My aunt was adamant of me marrying anyone who is rich and has a house, which will remove us from the slab of middle class poverty, also fair in colour since I am slight dark. Good affluent boys, slights affected by polio or with funny eyes were her selection. But I could see her love for me.My other relative used to walk around in Gokarn in the evening with torch to get a good view of the perspective girls. She had sugar, but didn’t want the girl to have parents with sugar, since chances of her grand children getting sugar will be more. Hard to believe, isn’t it.
My another relative herself wasn’t so good looking, married a handsome guy, but was stressing when her would be daughter in law did look just average.
But in arranged marriage atleast the platform is formed where there are some boys or girls. There are many who have to opt for love marriage, may be because no jathka (horoscope) of girls came their way, and then they easily say girls from their community aren’t good, story of sour grapes. But sometime in love your choice are limited, provided the compatibility is worth it. Someone studying with you, working with you makes you feel more at home, than some unknown stranger. But may be the compatibility might be in studies, work life, but culture connections, regional film connections, food habits etc might be a lot to adjust. At times all this looks minor when the love is always there.
Nowadays instead of friends or parents showing you an arena of prospective partners, it is the website like eharmony, RSVP, Bharat matrimony, shadi.com,mangalorean.com caters to one’s liking, and then after the partner is okay/ticked by the girl/boy, parents permission and their choice is considered before finalising, which too is okay, instead of marriages where the youngsters have eloped, or elders are crying during the wedding, instead of enjoying.In India atleast there are many functions, slight flirting or appreciation by the opposite sex, making an average girl confident, even road side Romeo try their luck, eve if unfit, here it takes ages to get one valentine rose too. I see lonelier humans than couplets. Or too much young immature couples followed by broken relations.
Youngsters here are particular about boys grown up here, so that they doesn’t have a curry accent, Boys from India are considered FOB (Fresh on Board). But the choices will be so limited. There might be good compatibility; also not everyone from India has an accent other than that magnified by the Simpson’s Appu.One is not comfortable marrying a friend, but the synchronising of thoughts and wishes would be better I feel.
In a seminar I met this girl from Philippines, who was lamenting about her broken marriage from a partner of her own choice during her immaturity, and her parents not being assertive about her marrying a boy of their choice.
Another girl from China told her parents, till 25 if she doesn’t get a boy of her choice, then parents can start searchingTo get a boy within postcode distance, the choice gets very restricted, and one has to leave their career, job, country, childhood memories etc.
In love marriage you are so satisfied, that you can cut down all ties, but then comes an age where you are lonely want to connect with your childhood culture, relatives, family and feel disconnected.
But sometimes choices made by youngsters turns out to be beautiful compared to the elders. So the spark is something which has to be sustained in a relation till the end, otherwise you always close the chapter earlier.
More the delay more the parents get worried, the child bearing days turns into menopause, so time plays an important role in everyone’s life.
My blessings to all the spinsters/bachelors all around in whatever decision needs to be taken, but take a decision, don’t be confused, we, the desi believe god has made someone for you. If not, Bollywood movies always show that even if you had an ex boyfriend, you can fall in love with your husband due to the strength of the black beads (mangalsutra) & god made relations, not necessary in all cases, (abusive partners etc)
Fall in love with someone whose some characters always makes you fall in love with the person again and again.