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.
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Almost same feelings echoed from my side when i turned 22!
OMG I SO agree with the whole marriage is a societal convenience concept. Sometimes I feel like it was invented so that women could be ‘taken care of’ – given that they were supposed to sit at home and couldn’t do anything productive to earn a living. Things have changed so much now, I really don’t understand why couples need to resort to getting married…it sounds like it’ll just about suck the fun out of anything! Its just so much better when two people decide to spend years and years together simply because they want to, and not because there’s some legal document binding them together and forcing them to ‘make it work’.
just a quick comment but on the onset — i am pretty much a believer of love marriage over arranged marriage so don’t get me wrong – however, to be the devil’s advocate –
I disagree with the fact that arranged marriage escalates the risk involved — before you gasp and switch off hear me out — when we enter a love marriage we enter with a lot of high expectations of each may be because of love we share….hence, the tendency to adjust isn’t as much as it is there for a arranged marriage..
However, entering an arranged marriage – is entering life with someone we don’t know for too long — and so we are in a mind frame to “discover” the +ves and -ves…to be adjusting n compromising..
And a come back would be then – that you are compromising and convincing yourself that you are happy because of the compromise — but if you really look at it – isn’t that the case with everything we do – very few brats can claim that I got EVERYTHING I ever wanted — most of us had to take decisions and make choices – sometimes settle for second choices — and we would definitely be elated if we got the 1st choice but we aren’t exactly depressed to get the 2nd choice..
Does it make sense? 😛
Its a gamble. Play it any way you want to! 🙂
@ Pavan: Did you get over them? :p
@ Radhika: Wow, I’m glad to know at least someone thinks exactly the same way as me! It’s true, there are so many things we’ve been doing as a society that even though they’ve become redundant, they’re so embedded in us that we do them anyway.
@ Premanjali: Interesting points. We shall discuss this in person very soon!
@ Vishesh: You should really be studying right now 😉
@ Amit: Or not at all 😀
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Dear Shivya (or anybody),
I don’t think ‘Love marriage versus Arranged marriage’ is any argument at all:
1) If you are in love, obviously it has to be a love marriage for you 🙂
2) If you hope to fall in love, you too are on the love marriage side, only waiting, rather hoping, to get lucky.
3) If you don’t want to fall in love before marriage (as if it were in your hands), but hope to get married and then fall in ‘love’ (working the other way round ;)), I don’t know in what way that can be argued as being better than finding love before marriage. That ‘higher-expectations-in-love- marriage-causes-it-to-fail’ argument I find crap considering the lack of chemistry that can come in an arranged set up. I mean love followed by marriage still looks like a ‘safer’ choice, if one were to look at it that way.
And while Love is a better option, arranged marriage could be a more viable option simply because love is not available to all, atleast true love. (Needless to say, forcing yourself in love (and we see so many around us trying to do that) can be most disastrous, and those are the ‘love’ marriages that bitterly fail, or why only marriages, most relationships too fail only because the people involved were desperate to fall in love)
And that brings me to the question I have always asked myself: What if one doesn’t fall in love? (Can happen, can’t it?) And so this question is for those who are in the #2 category (hoping to find love before marriage). Say when you do reach a marriageable age and are asked about your plan to get married, do you still wait for the right person to come? (and for how long !!)
I have always felt, and I’m sure you’ll agree, that it’s not really in our hands, falling in love that is. Hence, and this looks like one big advantage, or at least one big purpose of an arranged marriage, that it allows 2 well-meaning people to get married (that’s the ‘audacity of hope’ for you, is it not … “yes we can” :D) instead of ‘seeking’ love in people they come across. (Tell me, isn’t that what you’ll end up doing say once you start hitting high 20s and don’t have a partner??) That pretty much explains why people in the West keep falling in and out of relationships and marriages. Because they are simply afraid of not being ‘in love’ and end up being precisely there. 🙂
I do not intend to stand for or against love or arranged marriage. Given a chance, I’d be on the love marriage side (because I can’t imagine myself falling out of love, after, and if ever, I fall in love) but I have a very high regard for arranged marriage too for reasons explained above – that it allows for a more reasonable social structure.
My views entirely; comments are welcome.
Don’t forget my question though.
of marriageable age,
i found this to be quite an amusing post. amusing in the sense i found myself chuckling at few of the things you were saying. i’ve been seeing a lot of this marriage nonsense of late because my first cousin got married recently and my sister is on the verge of getting married herself. its strange how in the indian community, for much of the teenage years its regarded as taboo to be associated intimately with the opposite sex. then when you cross a certain age, suddenly there is this invisible pool of single men/women that parents can stick their hands into to pick out a desirable suitor who matches perfectly on paper but not necessarily in character. my cousin had to see 3 suitors before she married her current husband (who proposed to her after the failure of the 3rd suitor – was a love marriage). before she met the 3rd suitor, my uncle said to her, i dont care what happens you have to marry this chap. then there was a lot of crying and a big hullaboo from my cousin about my uncle being unfair etc etc. when the boy came to the door to pick up my cousin for dinner, he had an earing on and a skull t shirt. my uncle wasn’t having any of it, he told the boy to sod off and started apologising to my cousin. for my sister, when she told my folks she wanted to marry her bf, they said no way. they weren’t approving of the boy because things didn’t match on paper. well its coming to a stage where they have conceded defeat and are beginning to accept that marriage between my sister and her boyfriend is inevitable. but here’s the thing i really dont like about arranged marriages. Its that you have this invisible paper that has a criteria which involves things like, occupation, family background, nationality, education, etc which have absolutely nothing to do with the human being. i’m not like some staunch opposer of arranged marriages. my parents had an arranged marriage. also today i think most divorces are a result of love marriages rather than arranged marriages. which then opens up a whole different line of questioning. i just think that more can be done to make arranged marriages, more humanistic and reducing the pretenses associated with it. i dont like the idea of arranged marriages because its so unnatural unlike love marriages where purity of the love is vastly different from that of an arranged marriage.
i think when your young its easy to say ye i dont wanna get married, i dont need to put a ring around my finger to prove that i love somebody. i used to say that a lot. but i can see things evolving as you get older because most of us lose flexibility with age and we begin to prefer some stability. im just saying its easier said than done to not get married and to grow old with your spouse.