Saturday, August 21, 2010

How I'm getting married - Pt1

There are many things that I could go on and on about. I keep thinking that those 'many things' will make for great blog posts. Which is why, I am, on a Saturday morning, choosing to go public, with a few things.

Let's start with The Groom Hunt.

In India, for the most part, marriages are arranged. In Urban India, this may not be the case. However, we all know that in this part of the world, marriages are arranged. Let's just approach the rest of this post with that assumption.

We'll begin with definitions. In some cases, arranged marriage could mean mother and father choose, mull over, decide on a boy and introduce their daughter to him and get them engaged in a week and married in three months. What this means, usually, is that the parents do most of the groundwork, from character analysis to background checks to family compatibility tests, the works! In these situations, the girl has little or no say and is expected to go along with the plans and get married and live the rest of her life as someone's Mrs., as someone's mother and so on. (Ok, that sentence was not supposed to be judgemental, but I can't stop my opinion from creeping in on this post, sorry.)

In other cases, parents and daughters sit at matrimonial services and websites, with a long list of expectations and conditions. Brokers (yes, marriage borkers who walk around with at least three dozen potential horoscopes and photographs and so on) are roped in to get involved. Aunts and uncles, if they are close to the family, are thinking of their wardrobes, jewellery, buffet options, etc, well in advance. You wedding is planned to the last detail, with or without your approval/consent. You have the final veto over the boy. It's a more tedious process, because arranged marriage in these cases take time to materialise.

There are a few instances when families get involved in relationships and organise a wedding and let the 'non-arranged' couple go through the traditional ceremony and pretend at the wedding that the relationship was all their idea because, well, the family is progressive like that!

(All this narrative is getting somewhere you think. It will eventually lead to a post. It is.)

I will be an arranged marriage statistic. I say this with conviction purely because my previous attempts (yes, there was more than one, and yes, I'm glad they didn't work out) failed miserably and in great soap-operatic splendour. Once it was established that I would let my parents decide, it seemed as if my life changed. No stress of meeting people with an agenda. I could smile and wave all I wanted. I could serve up sentimental dishwater-level rubbish about family values and how I was going to marry the boy my parents chose, etc, etc, etc. For the sake of this decision, I have encountered three absolute strangers who have made for bloody awesome stories at dinner tables and just about any gathering of friends.

The thing is, my family has been going through this groom-hunt business for some time now. Since I was 18 and spotted in a blue saree at a relative's wedding and someone asked. The reply was something along the lines of, "She's 18! She needs to graduate and get a master's degree!" Since then, enquiries have been made and were fielded by an evasiveness that is remarkable. Until I turned 22 and was in the final year of my MA at the University of Madras...

(I'm going to serlialise this. I think each episode in this entire saga deserves a post and some edits as things progress.)

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