Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Arranged & Love Marriages Part-IV

///In Mumbai, too, more and more children of parents I know are leaving it to mom and dad to look for the right alliance. ‘My mother knows me better than I know myself,’ a young man confessed, ‘I trust her judgement. My dad has seen the world, he has more experience. They know what’s good for me.’ And these are guys in their mid-thirties, who have studied in foreign universities, dated a few girls, done the party circuit. And yet, when it came to marriage, they were more than happy to settle for a conventional, old-fashioned match. Much like their grandparents!

It was my generation that stupidly rebelled against a system that had worked perfectly well for centuries. A lot of us paid the price for letting our impulsive hearts decide who our life partners would be. No regrets. Just that I fear we were blindly following the West and taking our cues from Hollywood, just to prove to our parents how ‘liberated’ and ‘modern’ we were.

Our kids are smarter. And more realistic. They’ve seen too many marriages collapse and they definitely don’t want repeat performances in their own lives. Force-fed on romantic drivel from countless movies, it’s a generation that laughs at the old Mills and Boon version of marriage. They ache for performance and stability. If an arranged match can provide both, they’re not averse to considering it.

My own girls receive proposals from suitable (!) boys, through well-meaning intermediaries. So far nothing has clicked. But at least the girls aren’t scoffing. Ditto for the boys, who shrug ‘whatever’, which translates to ‘It’s okay’. Which is perhaps why I wasn’t caught entirely by surprise when I met those desi young marrieds in the US.

They were refreshingly candid while talking about the methodical manner in which their parents had gone about the whole thing. The girls were all educated, attractive professionals who looked happy enough as they adapted to an entirely alien culture with an entirely alien partner.

We got to know each other only after the wedding. But it has worked out,’ they insisted. Some had had earlier relationships, but claimed that fact did not colour their decision. They’d made informed choices and expressed no regrets.

On the other hand, I also met alarmingly young divorcees (some with babies), who lamented the day they’d said, ‘I do’ to a boyfriend of long standing. ‘We thought we knew each other so well. We were used to each other’s ways, too. God knows what went wrong after we got married. It reached a point where we couldn’t stand the sight of one another.’ Can happen. Does happen. Love . . . passion . . . desire . . . madness . . . where does everything vanish? Nobody knows.

7 comments:

Dawn....सेहर said...

WOW! thats a kinda analogy...!!! I would agree...! Today I heard one of the lawyer she was telling me that she has a friend who is punjabi but doesnt like to be married in Indian community...and the parents are forcing her to...as she has reached a certain age...and all her other 3 sisters have married to sards...in their community as per parents selection...this gal has lot of pressure as she is considered to be the black sheep...and I was just wondering what to say...as I have no clue to say anything..all I could say was parents have to know of these facts when they decide to move from one country to other...this cultural shock and the perceptions has to be liberated...being too strict makes one rebelious...she has been raised here..but then...she doesnt like any indian man ...but a white guy!!!
I was thinking whole my way...what could be a solution!!>???!!!

KL said...

I don't think that only arrange marriages click and love-marriages don't. It all depends upon your mentality, attitude, etc. My whole family (almost) has love marriages and love is still strong among them. Westerners, chiness, Japaness, Koreans, most Iranians (and I don't even know about what happens in the rest of the world) do love marriages and their marriages don't break up (well divorces happen, but not all the time). Again, I've known people who have done arrange marriages and are not happy, but they are not divorcing just because of social pressure or family pressure.

Key to any successful marriage is love, trust, honesty, and giving freedom and space to your partner.

REally hungry. Gotta go and eat and then read your other posts.

Manish said...

What I feel KL is rather than the type of marriage its the combind endeavour of two individuals which makes marriage a success or failure. And on this account probability of making it or breaking it is even in both cases. However one difference from individual perspective is that one goes into an arranged marriage with least amount of expectation as compared to arranged ones.

KL said...

Manish, your last - one goes into an arranged marriage with least amount of expectation as compared to arranged ones - is confusing. I think you meant to say one goes into arranged marriage with least amt. of expectation as compared to loved marriages ones?

If that's what you meant, then I think I've some different feelings. In loved marriages, you already know each other - know others negatives and positives sides, but still love each other. So, there should not be much expectation.

Whereas arranged marriage in the Indian context has lots of expectations. In most arrange marriages, parents decides on all these qualifications - groom looks handsome, has a well-paid job, educated, has a bright future; wife looks beautiful, educated, sociable so that she can live together with her in-laws, can cook, take care of people, look after houses, that is well versed in every sorts of domestic chores, will not spend too much and pay attention to how husband's income is spend, and perhaps some other qualities like can sing or draw and soft-spoken and shy and what not.

So, you see there are lots of expectations by husbands about how the wives will be after marriage and of course vice-versa. But, then after marriages, how good each is in their claimed qualities comes out. And, that can lead to marital instabilities.

Manish said...

In love marriages, you already know each other - know others negatives and positives sides, but still love each other

I am not so sure abt this KL. It may be true and also may not be true. Isn't it a fact that we keep our best mannerism for the special one in our life during dating time. Some of our negatives shades remain suppressed when we r infront of our would be partner.

And thats the point i want to make
jisko hum jana hua samjhte rahe hon use badalta dekh jyada takleef hoti hai...

And it seems u read those matromonial adds in indian magzines and newspaper too seriously! Hey KL its standard stuff Beautiful gori convented,homely.....blah blah & what not!
Aree! likhne mein kya jata hai wo alag baat hai ki mangne se kya moon mil jayega :):)So these expectations are superficial

Money or beauty are external traits! Its the internal traits which more often make or break marriage! When u go for arranged marriage u r pre conditioned to accept what is in store for u & that brings mental preparedness for adjustment !

KL said...

I don't know whether we keep our best face for others and then slowly we reveal our true face. Because to do so all the time, we've to be real good actors, don't you think? Whenever you fall in love with a person, you would be spending some time with him/her - over emails/phones/chat or just hanging out together. Through all those, there will be so many events, discussions and so on. How can you keep on acting so effeciently all the time.

Hmm... about those ads - from my personal experience (family, neighbors, friends, acquintances and so on and so on..), I have seen that whatever are demanded in those ads are real demands by groom/wife's family. I've seen educated girl from a very rich family not getting married because she was too thin. Then, I've seen girls getting married only because she could sing beautifully. I've seen girls not getting married (though she has all the qualities) because she was not beautiful. Similar things I've noticed about boys - not getting married because he is not from IIT or not getting married because he doesn't look handsome and so on.

So, my experience says those ad demands are really true but exceptions are always there.

Manish said...

U need not to be an actor for behaving differently
that why i used the word supressed aur traits are suppressed naturally due to tonic called love!
but as the intensity of the tonic dilutes our mannerism changes!

Thats why the off repeated dialogue

aap to pehle aise na the

Coming to the matrimonial advt ur observations r correct but as i have said these r external traits ! Good looks, figure , artistic qualities these will attract anybody in general . These factors are equally responsible for generating love bug!

I only wanted to say that these advt can not ensure the internal traits of persons involved so u have to prepared for the uncertainties when u start ur married life!