One of the side effects of turning 21 is that the word ‘marriage’ seems to be floating in the air, all the time. It makes people emanate all kinds of sentiments – obsession, fantasy, detest, and the most boring, acceptance. Lately, too many of my discussions with people revolve around the subject, and I hope this post is going to be a closure.
Given how rapidly our Indian culture has progressed, generation gaps are so glaringly obvious. Apparently generation gaps work in multiples of 7, and on some level, I have started to notice that. Anyway, this cultural progression seems to have been segregated by community, and some orthodox ones are still in the 20th century phase of arranged marriage, where girls are showcased to boys and only one-sided approval is necessary. I won’t address such an outrageously ridiculous custom here.
Recently however, I had a long debate with a friend who compares arranged marriages to Swayamvaras of history. The similarity is uncanny, if you think about it. Back in the day, suitors would line up and a girl would choose her husband by putting a garland around him. Arranged marriages (modern ones, with a courtship period et al) work in the same way, except that both sides get to choose. I bought my friend’s argument uptil here, but I beg to differ when this arrangement of marriage is given an upper hand over a ‘love’ marriage. Agreed, once in the marriage, the risks in both cases are about the same, but to begin with, an arranged marriage escalates the risk involved. While it’s possible to fall out of love in both, the possibility of falling ‘in’ love, unlike in an arranged marriage, is clearly definite in a love marriage. I rest my case.
In the bigger scheme of things, it still never seizes to amaze me why people need a legal stamp to endorse their relationship. To a large extent, it seems societal, redundant and conformist. None other than the state of Thakeray seems to agree with me, for Maharashtra has become the first in India to legalize live-in relationships.
There’s a whole anti-marriage literature that I’m going to read on Wikipedia now. So much for closure.