My understanding of arranged marriages is this. First, the horoscopes are exchanged, then the astrologer approves the 10/10 match. The boy’s and girl’s sides exchange profile pictures, followed by a girl-seeing session. I guess, this is more for the boy’s side to assess the girl’s wealth, culinary silks, and her interest in Bharatnatyam and Carnatic Music. The date is then fixed and they get married. If they are lucky, they will be allowed to meet up and maybe write to each other until the wedding.
Surprisingly, I seem to have seen more of the abnormal ones. The 70’s saw many love marriages in the family. Some cousins married each other. One made his sister’s best friend, his wife. While one married her colleague, another married her tuition teacher. A third married a North Indian friend of hers.
In my circle of friends too, there seem to be many who have married their childhood sweethearts, colleagues, friends etc.
My sister married a nice guy she met at a family friend’s wedding, and my other sister married our paternal cousin. I married my foodie friend from work; there seemed to be more love for food than for each other.
When somebody asks me if mine was arranged, I say no. The next statement is that it was then a love marriage, and I still say no. I think it was somewhere in between, a convenience marriage... a food bond, that progressed to a ‘I know you so well, I might as well get married to you!’ or ‘A known devil is better than an unknown angel!’ state. The two families had nothing much to say, so we ended up married.
Today, arranged marriages almost seem extinct. If at all there is one, it seems like the girl or the guy wasn’t smart enough to find his/her own match. The compromises that one has to make to stay married (leave alone happily) these days are unimaginable. I see many love marriages falling apart, wonder how the arranged ones carry on.
In fact, 10 years ago, at the peak of my independence, I was completely against getting married. It felt like I would lose my freedom to buy whatever I wanted, eat wherever I wanted, and not worry about where I lived and what bills were paid.
I see the youngsters in the family sailing in the same boat now. They don’t want to get married, they don’t believe in love, they don’t want to live in someone else’s shadow, they don’t want to be tied down, they don’t want to have children. But, they are ok with living-in with partners, having a steady partner or just have a specific bunch of good friends to hang out with.
Is this commitment phobia? Is the society changing? Is it the financial independence that they don’t want to let go? Is it the fear of the unknown? Is it the impact of broken marriages?
I don’t really know which one..... but one thing is sure, there is no hope in hell for those lovely kanjivaram sarees sitting in my wardrobe...... they will wear out at the folds and wither away over time, and never see the light and air of a wedding hall!!!