Arranged Marriage Chronicles : Final Part – A Personal Epiphany

 

Its been long since I have written a post . Been caught up with life. Well I began this series to chronicle the journey through arranged marriage of a Gen Y Indian, mid twenties, working, confused as hell but enjoying the ride with its ups and downs: Me.

I believe it’s a 10 part series so far and there are many more anecdotes I would have chronicled but the journey of the writing itself has come to an end.

No Groom in sight yet. And its bit of a relief.

I am neither mentally nor emotionally prepared for marriage. Am going through a personal renovation of sorts and that journey is one that must be undertaken if I am to make a sensible decision with respect to life partner.I like to see it as the universe giving me a required break so to speak. To discover myself and not just discover but to sincerely project it to the society and thus to be truly sure of who I am and hence be ready when the time is right.

For it is my conclusion that no matter  –

what you/your parents think are your respective choices

what your ideas are about those choices or ,even

(as believed in some cultures) the pre-written choices allotted to you are and so on;

Whatever maybe our collective different thoughts about the entire process, there is a thing as destiny, it works in ways absolutely incomprehensible to the human mind.

So we simply believe there is something as a person written for you. You or your parents can move mountains and then some but it will come when the time is right.

This comes as a relief in so many ways(no more breaking head about whom to choose) and a sense of trepidation(how will it happen, who will choose, will I be happy). But we simply trust and let go.

Being from mixed cultures in terms of origin and upbringing and exposures,there is a lot of confusion in me as to who I am and what are my cultural perceptions and projections. Knowing these things matter, because at the end of the day you are society.

And who you are, moulds that society.

And marriage is nothing but your own extension of society. So One must really be sure what one brings into a marriage or be ready for the immense confusion that a huge transformation like marriage would bring.

Especially for a person with a modern outlook and yet part of the still conservative but transforming society. And I know of couples who have gotten divorced because of this huge pressures of not being able to define themselves and thus projecting to  the other person a wrong picture. This in turn leads to huge disillusionments and  consequent separation. And this goes for both Arranged and Love marriage. However, the classic definitions of ‘love’ and ‘arranged’ marriage has achieved some sort of fluidity in my time which causes me to simply group them under the term Marriage.

And in this time and age of complete potpourri of cultures and societies and not to mention the evolved mindsets, I choose to believe that this my journey is a universal journey. A journey reflective of the society that I live in. Destroying its old identity, weeping for it and yet forging new identities . Hate it, Love it, the process is real and so one better go with the flow of it.

Most importantly, if anyone has survived reading this to the end and are still in search of a partner. Don’t neglect any aspect of yourself. Past, Present, Personal, Familial-It all matters. Moulds you. For better or for worse.

Embrace it all and then when the time is right, it will happen if marriage is even important to you at that point . Even when it does happen embrace it when it comes with an open mind, like a whole new baby who needs a lot of care and nurturing before it can walk on it’s own.

Take Care.

P.S. I wind up the Arranged Marriage Chronicles with this post. I will be attempting to write on other topics henceforth. Thank you for your patience.

 

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Arranged marriage chronicles part 10: A word of caution-On a serious note

It was a scary experience. So a proposal comes around and all looks well, in fact really really well and as is custom, all queries regarding the family was initiated.

All turned out well, family was exceptionally well known to the point that the potential groom and his siblings were well known as children in the area and were of impeccable reputation.  The family name itself was pretty reputed in our community as a religious head was from the said family.

The guy himself, as is considered a matter of pride among my people, was ‘working abroad with PR status’ in a known country in the western hemisphere.

All seemed well and I,true to my word, actually said yes after a lot of sleepless nights and anxiety ridden days as to how will I acquaint myself with complete stranger

Until..

One simple question unraveled it all..

What year did the guy pass out if college?

Mind you this is after being assured that the guy studied from an extremely reputed college in the country and also worked in various well known firms in our native land and abroad

The mother of the groom , who was actually at the forefront for the whole process , gets extremely ruffled and speaks disrespectful ly towards my parents..My father along with being offended felt something was oddly off and set off into a detailed search of the guy himself  and sure enough..

Every detail given to us about the guy was false!

The family and it’s reputation was all well and as is general custom further questions about the guy specifically are avoided in most cases.  If that had been the case here I would have married into a HUGE web of falsehoods!

So here is a word of caution to all out there who are considering this process..

Please don’t be afraid to ask all the necessary questions!!and if anyone seems hesitant to answer please probe into asuch detail as possible before proceeding any further as a marriage is a NOT a joke!

If your relatives seems hesitant to ask questions bluntly pertaining to the guys /girls orientation, education ,work  or health status or any damn specific question under the sun PLZ make it a point that you dear reader take the initiative and find it out ! Coz our politeness or old customs should not become a barrier for us as I witnessed first hand just how close a call that was!

Rattled and shaken

Rosepens

 

Arranged marriage chronicles part 9: career caste system

So I continue my observations of the great indian arranged marriage circus not to mention my willing participation. On these lines a worthwhile point of note is that the caste system in india is supposed to be a thing of the past.

Or so it was thought.

Wait till you step into arranged marriage.

It’s almost as if all you are worth is your profession or if it appears in the profile in some way that your father is loaded

Ofcourse preferably both

Not to mention your being tall fair and slim is like the holy grail combination and not being so is well not-so-holy-grail-esque.

Doctors and engineers get the cream pick because no matter how they got the degree or where they practice now or what quality of services they impart,they are rreeaaalllyyyy high up the hierarchy.

An SLP (speech language pathologist i. e. Yours faithfully)

is I guess imagined to be a person of not exactly high intelligence and/or lacking in an interesting repertoire in general (also read as maybe her father isn’t as loaded as we would like

I am embarassed to say this system is being firmly anchored into place by none other than my own generation of people.The people who are supposed to be of  the most open minded generation in indian cultural history. .Indian Gen Y

Gosh.

This bizarre journey continues and an end is no where in sight

Blah

Rosepens

Arranged Marriage Chronicles part 8: Personally speaking

This is more of a confession I think and a declaration. To myself. To at least put it out there, to allow me to accept this decision of mine because these are times where I am navigating this whole process alone with not many ‘go to’ people in the picture , maybe partly because am not willing to seek help or because I seem to go to all the wrong people most of the time.

I was almost stubbornly clinging to the idea of romantic love happening to me and that leading to marriage for the longest time. Subconsciously rejecting any proposal as part of the arranged marriage process before it even got to stage where I interact with the potential groom because I thought there must be someone out there. And not just anyone, it had to be someone already known to me, at least the families were familiar to each other so that it would simply be the union of two friends with the promise of a filial love and the families would naturally develop a cordial bond with no effort.

Something like what we  Indians like to call ‘love & arranged marriage’.

And for what I now have come to believe are childish reasons like ‘Destiny’ and ‘Meant to Be’ and ‘Believe’ and all that( I can almost hear the Disney Background music)

Deep down I held on for the longest time (more than 5 years: Don’t ask me how I know that so precisely) to that hope and that dream while leading a very normal life of a seemingly cool person. I am happy in the meanwhile I can claim to have lived a full and happy life with every possible experience a young lady in my time and age should have to be content and a career she is passionate about and proud of even. To my credit there even was a gentleman in the picture who ‘fit the bill’. But the universe had other plans. One cannot be such a hopeless closet romantic and have a  successful personal life by shutting away so much.

Maybe I need to let go of the idea that whatever is in store for me simply must happen a certain way. After all isn’t the destination what is important, or is it the path??But is it being stubborn or simply going with something that just resonates with you so well. I am just tired of figuring all that out.

It is of course no great tragedy  that has occurred here. But I see it as a surrendering of my spirit, something I was truly proud of. Or maybe it was simply my ultimate barrier of fear preventing the universe from granting my heart’s true need.Or just plain old ego.Who knows anymore.

From here on my participation in  the arranged marriage circus (Yes, it is still one grand circus)has become true and complete. Or at least I will strive to do justice to the process as much as this petrified heart of mine permits.

Surrendering

Rosepens

Arranged Marriage CHronicles part 7: Ponderings – Romantic love, Marriage and Indian GenY

So apparently romantic love became the basis for marriage only since the 18th century(Yes, I faithfully follow the american sitcom Big Bang Theory). And into the uber conservative Indian families of the 21st century, the concept of romantic love is even more recent and it is utter nonsense that romantic love even be made a premise for marriage.

But the fact is that it does not stop our current generation who have been brought up on a staple diet of Bollywood and (post-globalization) Hollywood love stories and romance from falling in love anyway and quite stubbornly clinging to the concept of finding the ‘One’ on their own.

And its a lottery either way, Because if entered in complete awareness and maturity and the willingness to mould yourself into the requirements of a marriage partnership, I believe that is what universally contributes to a successful marriage no matter how the path to the marriage was chosen.

So we have a generation of Indians who are totally unprepared for the aftermath of what a married relationship post romantic love is like . Whose parents refuse to wholeheartedly support the marriage in many cases as it was not conducted with their whole hearted acceptance and lo and behold! Sky rocketing divorce rates.

Which the parent-generation conveniently blames on the fact that ‘they took the decision themselves’. The more concerned parents lament that they wished their child had listened to them. The point being, there is a lot of lack of understanding of the explosion of cross-cultural influences that no one is prepared to deal with resulting in a lot of pain and heartbreak because of the ‘ illusion of choice’ ‘mad consumeristic lifestyle’ .

But I refuse to believe its all that bad.

There are more than a lucky few who have dodged the bullet and found their better halves and lead more than successful lives in the process but the fact is its right now a hot piping mess. It will simmer maybe a few generations down the line when people appreciate the differences and a better understanding and acceptance evolves but till then all we can do is to hold on tight and pray to dodge the bullet.

Observing,

Rosepens

Arranged marriage chronicles: The other side- part 6

So call me narrow minded but I never really gave a thought to the other side of the  arranged marriage circus

The guy’s  side

I mean considering they are an integral part of the while process you’d think it would strike me faster that they too are a species going through the exact same insecurities and hilarious ironies that this entire process entails!

And yes , what got me thinking about their side of the story was a funny conversation(by no means funny to the participant ofcourse) that I was unknowingly privy to.

Fact was it was difficult not to be privy to it as the person ensured he spoke in such volume that the entire vehicle would have no choice but to be privy to it. Thus begins my narration of a private conversation held quite publicly.

On a normal day on my way to work a fellow passenger decides to take up arguing with the person on the other end of the phone , who it turns out was his mother .

Apparently said gentleman’s mother was pushing him to agree to an alliance that came about from his uncle as a consequence of his mother attending a “family function”( dah dah dahhhhh: scary background score )

Now to understand why the very word family function increases the heart beat of a candidate of arranged marriage either due to anxiety or excitement , one must understand that family functions are fertile scouting grounds for.the elders of families. The discussions inevitably lead to the potential arranged marriage candidate and their presence e at the function or lack there of is just no deterrent to the process at all.

So with this knowledge we go back to the conversation said gentleman was having with his mother

He made it clear making so effort to hide his rising temper that he simply will not agree to an alliance without seeing or even speaking to the potential partner no matter how good her credentials may be

After making every effort to convince his mother he cuts the call and further turns to his fellow passenger/friend and unburdens his plight.

I will try my best to translate it to english from my native tongue but the comical element of it  sure will be lost.

” I have told her a million times not to pay attention to all these silly proposals. I will find my girl and someone who loves me for who I am. I don’t understand why she is behind my life! Don’t try to call me today ! For the next few days even! Am keeping my phone switched off!

Poor guy

I could only nod in silent understanding and sympathy for his plight.

There, there young man.

Partially in sympathy , partially amused and partially pondering I took out my earphones and decided to end my participation in this conversation.

Surprised would be the apt adverb for me at that juncture. My struggle has a ring of universality to it. Albeit, only to this rebellious generation that is us but universal nonetheless.

My search continues, no luck yet , but my parents seemed to have relaxed their anxieties about finding a groom I understand. They seemed to have progressed to a stage where they seem to think ‘ jab hoga so hoga’ : it will happen when it has to . It comes with a lot of relief and has gotten me to a point of maybe actually kind of enjoying all these options I have laid out in front of me. It’s  tedious no doubt , but 6-7 months into it now and it has sort of dulled into the background. Ongoing but not quite there.

Maybe my learning of this crazy journey that is the ‘great indian arranged marriage circus’ is yet to be complete.But it has definitely surprised me at every turn

Amused ,relieved and mildly curious,

Rosepens

Arranged Marriage Chronicles part 5

Note: The Arranged Marriage process is one which is practiced in many eastern countries to date. How it works out is simple enough- Families send out profiles of their eligible son/daughter to be married. In the Older days there were people whose entire livelihood depended on the matching of these profiles but now a days a lot of it happens online. Families and the candidates details are enquired about and the potential candidates are taken through an extensive filtering process and then the candidates may talk to each other and if ALL the parties involved, as in the guy, girl and their respective families are happy then marriage may be proceeded to. And yes, it’s all a grand leap of faith. So, that’s how it works.
Story reverting to me ,the author of this series – The Great Indian Arranged Marriage Circus .
On understanding that I too must be a willing participant of this process I turned to many sources for information on how to carry out the process. I found not too much has been written about exactly how this process works out for the person getting married. Being a Gen Y from a country like India from a middle class background it’s most often than not a given that youngsters like me are stuck in a weird place. From having been educated in a way as to have a modern outlook and then pushed to a stage where we must navigate through a process that is not only ancient but literally never explained to us before and to a person like me is like walking in the dark with a stick to guide us.
So I decided that I will chronicle this journey, the highs the lows the funny bits and the not so funny bits.Am hoping that somewhere someone will find the journey a little bit easier knowing that they are not alone in this crazy path.
So thus I continue to the part 6 of the Arranged Marriage Chronicles. To be cont..

Arranged Marriage Chronicles part 4

Wait till the next person asks me about arranged Marriage..At this very moment am having an intensely negative personal perception about the whole process..So I may not be an ideal candidate to ask either. Be warned, the first few..paragraphs..will be all rant and in the end when the venom is spewed out, I may write an objective perspective of this extremely subjective area.
Well, five months into the process and nothing good has come of it..But yes..in terms of career, I have moved to the country I was born in and where the Father currently is at and as luck would have it, found a job here too. In personal terms , this simply meant that being the distant tension that I was for the Father , Suddenly I was a walking talking ticking bomb to him which reminded him everyday that I was not growing any younger.
The thing about having lived away from your parents for almost a decade and that too during your most formative years is that there is the most clichéd phrase of our age ‘generation gap’ which shines bright and clear in the picture .This in Parent language means ‘she has grown horns and refuses to budge or refuses to listen to anything we say or value what we do’ and in the young adult child language means ‘ they don’t understand what I am trying to say’ .
Now while sorting out this extremely complicated dynamic separately with each parent staying in different countries, the one added complication you do not want in the picture is this- the requirement of making an extremely important decision together, like marriage.
I have now been living at home for a good 6 months , and of 5 of these months I have been a willing participant of the arranged Marriage Circus.
The worst receipes for disaster lies at every turn of every decision. The why’s and the what’s of every rejection
For one example:
Le moi: I want a guy who has been brought up under similar circumstance s as me- preferably outside my native country coz I feel that way we would sync in our approach to life in general
Le Parents: You have no idea how these guys are all spoilt brats/ incapable of taking responsibility/or we don’t know how these people really are(the ultimate).You have no idea how good these guys who are brought up in our native land are and so bloody on and on..
A simple matter of wanting a guy who is somewhere similar to you is debated and counter-debated to such an extend that you end up asking yourself..Dammit are they right??Is everything you know and understand about people bloody well wrong??
And add to this the fact that you have just gotten a job and are just beginning to understand exactly how difficult surviving out in the real world is and you are struggling with your own foundations to begin with, let’s just say it’s one hell of a hot piping mess.
Now with all due respect they are the Parents, they want the best for me. And am damn sure I will realise that they mean it all out of love .
But in all honesty it’s a damn suffocating love..Live your life yes. But on our terms. Enjoy your life, but since it’s our resources or because you are our responsibility you must enjoy it on our terms.
As for an objective view on arranged marriage, I have lost sight of it because am so overwhelmingly caught up in the emotional roller coaster of it. But – Get this
Everyone is stressed out and freaked out. Bottom line. Parents are so worried sick for you and your future, you just wanna gently pull them back a step and say breathe dammit..Just freakin breathe.
And you..Stuck in the heart of the storm.. You will find yourself looking into the freakin mirror every now and then trying to sort out all this mess and some where a spark will whisper to you,,Believe,,That between all this mess the universe is still doing it’s job..Is extracting the essence from all this and working it out at a level unknown to us..Is waiting for the crazy tug of war of personal and familial conflict to reach an epiphany . Is simply waiting for the right time until you have learnt all the lessons you need to learn from this experience..Until then hold one, simply hold on.
Overwhelmed and exhausted ,
Rosepens

Arranged Marriage Chronicles part 3: An actual Love story

IMagine my surprise! Now in all fairness to understand this story there must be an understanding of a very basic driving force of arranged marriage- parental pressure. Them involved in the picture would mean every alliance rejected would have to done so accompanied by an essay of why it was rejected. And answers like ,” I don’t know, It’s a gut felling” and the like holds no value. And if the girl is say getting on in age(and getting on depends on the average age of marriage in that respective family) the pressure doubles. So having this in mind I would like to pen the following experience of a close friend.

Now said friend, as I mentioned earlier, was getting on in age as per the standard norms of her family and there were potential alliances who came to visit and well, nothing just clicked for whatever reason. Then comes into the picture a guy..Turns out it was the first ever time the guy was visiting any girl but the girl had been visited before.The more ‘forward’ families permit the guy and girl to speak alone and this was permitted here as well.

And that was it.Sparks flew. They didn’t realize that they spoke for over an hour in that first meeting. And only after a very harangued looking relative came to remind them of the time as they had to be catching a train did the couple even realize what had happened.

They met I think twice or so until marriage , which happened two years from that meeting, as the guy was residing in a another state. The girl being the narrator of the incident tells me of how she felt,” I just knew. And there was no turning back.” They wrote to each other frequently, as in actual letters were posted every week. The guy encountered some difficulties in his family for the entire period because of which the marriage could not happen. The girl’s family was, let’s just say, not at all happy about her insistence of him. Many more alliances were looked into but she held on to him. Her relatives were constantly convincing her to let go.Her siblings were unhappy because she being unmarried was hindering their marriage because of a social custom where it is considered very rude of the male siblings to get married while their female sibling is unmarried.

All for this unknown guy she spoke to once.She fought for him. And yes, from his end too, he assured her and pressed his family in all possible ways to be with her at the earliest possible.

And finally, after two years, they were joined together, in marriage.And I can truly say, they are a beautiful couple who support and encourage each other, are respectful of each other and are bringing up two beautiful children together. Ofcourse, they did have their ups and downs in the journey married love as is to be expected. (Kindly refer to my Lust, Love and Marriage series to better understand this part of married love :))

But tell me dear reader, if this is not the ‘love’ what is? And it was an arranged marriage alliance.

Heart full of hope
Rosepens

Arranged marriage Chronicles Part 2: A Mosquito ruins a Potential Alliance

Yea..Mosquitoes did it..A cousin was comforting me on the umpteen goof ups one must go through in the performance of the great Indian Arranged Marriage Circus and one such story would be as follows..

An alliance was agreed upon. As was custom, after the guy’s side visits the girl’s house and the alliance is agreed upon, the girl’s side party visits the guys house to ensure the guy’s house is comfortable enough for the girl to reside..This involves up to detailed inspection of kitchen and bathroom environment too for cleanliness I understand..Man..who knew!? 😛

Said girl’s aunts were in a tizzy after the visit.. Reason was explained thus- They guy’s house has a huge mosquito problem..They even had a netted door which was to mandatorily remain shut every evening to prevent what we understood to be a very bad mosquito problem..Said girl’s aunts grew apprehensive for the health of the girl.. And what if she even forgot to close the door one day!! Heavens no!!Disaster!!End of the world flood!! She would be bitten by mosquitoes!!!!

ROFL!!!

But hey..after I cried tears of a hundred Niles of laughter for my cousin..I understood the logic in it..It is arranged marriage..Every aspect of the relation is inspected..The girl is expected to live in that house for the near forseeable future and ofcourse it must be a comfortable environment..One that would ensure the transition to married life would be as free of physical discomfort as possible..Because say what may..Tempers do fly when bitten by one more mosquito than necessary 😉 lols!