Friday, June 23, 2006

Matchmaking and more

Like I said I had to write up a new post to keep people from reading about my weirdness. I was reading this post and wanted to comment, but realized that I had so much to say regarding this matter that it warranted a separate post by itself.

Wikipedia defines marriage as "a committed relationship between or among individuals, recognized by civil authority and/or bound by the religious beliefs of the participants." Arranged marriage is the same except when dictated by parents, family and social pressure. One of the most frequent questions I get from my US based friends and co-workers is whether as a girl raised in India I had to go through an arranged marriage. And they seem quite surprised when I tell them that I never had to face any kind of pressure from my family when I decided to get married. And honestly I don't entirely blame them. Even in a time when India is poised at the helm of a global economy with so much new information and interest in the country, its culture and traditions, there are still questions in people's minds about "elephants" and strange "Hindoo" practices. It probably seems unreal for them to accept that coming from India I may have had a childhood and upbringing that is not so dissimilar to what they had in the US. And yes when it comes to making choices and taking decisions about my own life I do have the freedom to do what I think best.

It seems to me that more and more people from the Indian subcontinent are taking their own decisions when it come to tying the knot. Most of my friends and cousins have had the so called "love marriage" where they were allowed to decide on who they would marry and spend their life with. When I look at the generation that preceeded mine I can count on my fingers the number of couples I personally know who were allowed to marry person's of their own choice and still be left with fingers to spare. On the same hand. And if I look at the generation that preceeded that......well, some things are better left alone. So honestly yes, things have come a long way from what they had been a few decades back. And yes, society is learning to accept and even embrace the "love marriage" concept.

But inspite of all the changes there are still certain taboos. For example things like caste and religion. When my great-grandfather was getting married, his family not only made sure the bride would be from a traditional bengali brahmin family but also that she had to be part of the "kulin" section which allowed him to marry into the same strata of social heirarchy. Decades down the line when my cousins and I were getting into the marriageable age, no one really cared much for what caste we were marrying into as long as we ended up marrying a decent person. But I know people who have met with resistence from family because of caste issues which still mean a great deal to a lot of families. Religion again is a whole different ballgame. I know a handful of people who have married outside of their religion and each one of them have had a hard time getting their family to accept the fact.

As I said most people I know are taking their own decisions for marriage these days. The key word here is "most'. What happens to the ones that are unable to find their mate? B has a cousin who is about 26 years old, finished her Masters degree and teaching in a college. Her parents have been trying to find her a groom for the last couple of years. Unfortunately it appears all the good men folk have been taken during their academic years and the ones that keep coming up are total jerks. Like the one who declared that he had a large family and required a certain amount of dowry. Or the one who refused to let her work once she got married. Or the one who had a history of mental illness. Whats irks me to no end is this endless search for a groom is leaving such a debilitating effect on the poor girl. She is pretty, she is smart, and she is a genuinely nice individual. She would make a wonderful wife for anyone. Yet, she is paraded in her finest to anyone who wishes to "see" her, made to sing so that some weirdo can judge whether she can sing him a lullaby when he goes to bed, bring in a tray of refreshments so her potential in laws can visualize her in the kitchen, show off her artwork and needlework and handcrafted items so people can say whether she is good with her hands. I guess the only thing that she is unable to show her future husband and in laws is whether she is good in bed. Which judging from the men that are stopping by I would imagine was the only thing that they care about. And everytime a family stops by and passes judgement it leaves the girl with her self-esteem a notch lower and feeling less wanted than ever before. And it makes me want to throw up. I ask her parents as to how they can do this to their own daughter and why they let her be humiliated publicly. And they say to me that their hands are tied and society dictates that their daughter should be married off by a certain age and as legal guardians this is the best they can do.

So what is it about a "certain age" that society feels should be binding when it comes to getting married? I remember getting my first marriage proposal when I was fifteen. Some "friend" of my Dad suddenly decided that I would be the perfect wife for his seventeen year old son and wanted to make sure that he "booked" me in advance by having us engaged. Needless to say my parents were shocked at the idea and turned him down on the grounds that it was way too early to be thinking about my marriage and they would let me decide when the time was right. The strange thing was both me and the other guy were still in school and people were already thinking about marriage! All through college I have been faced with situations where people have tried to set up alliances. Any social gathering is fair game. Especially weddings and Pujas. They are the holy ground for people to single out prospective brides and grooms and figure out who they are, what family and caste they belong to and try and set up some sort of connection to get the ball rolling. Two months before I got married I was at a friend's wedding when a rather enthusiastic lady came up to my Mom and introduced herself as Mrs so-and-so. She went on to say that she had found me very attractive and having found out that I had just completed medical school she thought I would be an ideal bride for her nephew who was a doctor. Before we could say a single word she added her nephew had finished his FRCS and was returning to India to set up his own practice and needed a wife who would understand the call of his profession and therefore it would be good if she was a doctor too. However the family was not too keen on a careeristic woman because she would not take care of the family and would I be okay with not pursuing any post-graduation but staying at home. I almost thought that I was having a nightmare. First of all here's this woman who we had not ever seen or heard of until like two minutes back. Then she was standing there trying to set up an alliance with someone I had no clue about. And most importantly she had the audacity to propose the most ridiculous offer I could imagine. Could this woman be for real? Before I could say anything my Mom told her that I was getting married in less than two months and wheeled me away from the woman. I was almost on the verge of asking her how she proposed to find such woman for her nephew. Till this date I wonder whether that family found a suitable bride for the guy, someone who would be so enthralled by the offer of being his wife that she would be more than willing to stay at home and give up her career.

This is turning out to be one of the longest posts I've done and I think I shouldn't torture anyone who has had the patience to read so far, anymore. My whole point was not trying to say that arranged marriages are bad and don't work. That is generalizing. There are probably more examples of people in arranged marriages who have held on than people who had love marriages and broke up. But that would probably be due to other reasons. Expectations for one. People who fell in love and got married have a certain amount of expectation from their partner as opposed to an arranged marriage where you go in blindfolded not knowing what to expect. And when a partner falls short of expectations that's when things start looking a little rough. Another reason why arranged marriages in the past fared so well was because women were dependant on their husbands and the family. With more women working and financial independence comes self-esteem and the knowledge that one can get out and still survive. In today's world I guess that point would be evened out.

I am not passing judgement on anyone here but personally I would never go the "arranged" route. I feel the whole procedure of the "arrangement" is demeaning to the girl and her family. People should be encouraged to take decisions about their own lives and allowed to live with their decisions. And if it happens to be a mistake, then what the heck.......you only have your ownself to blame.

Update: Found this really nicely written post on the matter and couldn't help but link it here.

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44 Comments:

Blogger karmic_jay said...

Loved your post. It's not long at all, sometimes you just need more room to say your piece.
I might point Dadoji to your post, since he question the whole "commodity" part, where a woman may be made to felt like one or treated like one.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Cacophoenix said...

I agree with you for most part. But there is alos the other side scenarios here. I have seen many boys being refused by girls becuase they weren't "cool" enough, didn't go out to parties and were traditional. One girl refused this boy because he had the intention of going back to India after a while. And another wanted him to leave his high paying job, just so she needn't leave the city where she was searching for a job. I am not saying the precedure is entirely neat though. I personally hate the horoscope sharing, cattle parades they do. The present stuff is however a corruption of the things that went on in earlier days. So the system is not entirely at fault, it the people who abuse it. I personally approve any marriage as long as parents are involved in it. Whether we like it or not, we live in a culture where family is highly important. For records, my parents had a love marriage and I a combined one. The comment seems to take on the shape of a post, so might as well do a post on it. I enjoy your blogs BTW.

2:45 PM  
Blogger BongoP'o'ndit said...

Excellent post ! Although you are cautious about not generalizing, I have personally and through friends and family seen/heard of similar incidents.

I will echo the sentiment about the sickening aspect of 'parading' a girl during the arranged marraige process. I have always thought that during such meetings, the boy should be made to show notarized proof of his income , physical strengths (drop down and give me twenty!) and a clinical report of his sperm count !!

I have also noted a different trend recently, whereby parents/relative find a prospective match and then allow the prospective couple to get to know each other better - affording them the space and time. Actually when I say trend, I mean about two or three of my friends in the US. Closest thing to the concept of dating I guess.

3:21 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ karmic_jay thanks and glad you could read it through. Could go on and on :))
@ cacophoenix I agree that family is important and should be involved no matter whether the marriage is arranged or out of love. And may be there are cases where the girl refuses a guy. But what I am saying is the whole issue of "arranging" a marriage is ridiculous for the parties involved. Here we have some 20 plus individuals who are perfectly capable of making decisions being forced or atleast influenced to take one of the biggest decisions of their lives. And the process of doing the business through showing off each other is disgusting. Sure a lot of marriages work even when arranged and people do fall in love (or attached) after they get married. But that does not make the business of arranging a wedding any less ridiculous.
I look forward to reading your take on this.
@ bongop'o'ndit thanks.
"the boy should be made to show notarized proof of his income , physical strengths (drop down and give me twenty!) and a clinical report of his sperm count !!" lol
Well like I said above the whole procedure is ridiculous. Even for the guys who are also subject to the arranging. It is a terrible way of crushing people's egos and making people feel like they aren't good enough. And it holds true both ways. but since there are more girls being turned down than guys, I agree with you on most points :))
And the trend that you mentioned does very little to justify the "arranging" as Sanjay mentions.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Jinguchakka said...

You think men enjoy the match making? Personally I don't do eventhough I am clumsy as they come when not with a girl who is not a friend.
Once when told by mom that I am to be visited by a prospective FIL, I stopped shaving the previous day. Seeing a guy, rugged in jeans and unshaven, he went away never to come.
Still my mom is trying.
;-)

7:27 PM  
Blogger Jinguchakka said...

Oops..! I meant to say "when with a girl who is not a friend"

7:29 PM  
Blogger Kausum said...

I have couple of incidents which are wierd from the girl's side.

I know of someone, who rejected a guy, coz "His height is not good enough for me to wear heels" .. This is the wierdest rejection I have heard and in girl's own words, "he is all that I wanted except the height after I wear heels."

The second is " I cannot marry him, coz my future mother-in-law is not good looking". In this case we are talking about a MIL - who is one of the better gynaec's in the city and FIL is a premier surgeon and the guy himself is a good surgeon and settled.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Dadoji said...

M: KJ pointed me to this post and I must say you have written very well. I stand by what I have said on KJ's blog though. I wish I could tell you guys how paradoxical it would appear - to someone who knows me - that I could be saying arranged marriage is an option.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Aditi said...

Hmm yes I know people who have gone through similar issues. It is demeaning and disheartening being turned down all the time or being analysed for child bearing hips (yes that has happened) or otherwise.
So I totally understand where you are coming.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Vishnupriya said...

you know, i see girls who were totally against arranged marriage suddenly making a u-turn as they approach 30. i think that if you live in india, no matter how liberal your parents are, youjust can't help but panic when you hear about how everyone is getting married and how sorry people are that you aren't. i really thank god that i live in the states and away from all this. that doesn't stop people from coming to mymom with proposals, though. but mostly, we have some great laughs over them.

2:45 PM  
Blogger the wannabe indian punkster said...

This girl I knew.....she was very pretty, confident, had a great job and somehow for some weird inexplicable reason, she wanted to go the arranged marriage route.
The weird thing was she was rejected by men not half as smart as her, for the ludicrous reasoning that she was too independent, or too smart, or the worst of the lot- too talented, or some such.
Her self esteem took such a beating, she refused to go through that ever again. Now shes happily married to a man of her own choice or should I say she fell in love.
Personally, I dont believe in arranged marriages either. Somehow I feel that it is demeaning to the girl and her family, and loads of incidents around me have confirmed my trepidations about arranged marriage.

And for fear of my comment being longer than your post, I'll stop here..:).

1:29 PM  
Blogger Priya said...

I find this "bilet-pherot" lot the most ridiculous. (Ok so they never return, but what the heck;))When it comes to educating themselves, they decide which college they wanna go to and what degree they want. But when it comes to choosing a partner for their lives, "Mommy knows best". And the Sunday matrimonial sections of The Telegraph and TOI provide not just an 11-course meal but desserts too on this! Ludicrous criteria, unearthly demands. And it's sooo hard to believe that these guys have been staying away from home, in the US of A or Timbuctoo and practising celibacy!! Helllooo???
Women these days seem to have a lot more to say to such men, and am I glad!
It surprises me no end that this concept of "arranged marriage" still exists honestly and disgusts me no end that my mom loves matchmaking to the extent of being passionate about it:P I can't ever forget the disappointment I put her through when I chose N, without her "permission" ;)LOLOL.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

This brouught up some memories. I finished my Masters, and landed a job and my folks decided it was time to start looking for a suitable boy. Being rather open minded they refused to let me go through the whole meye dekha rubbish...setting up blind dates was more their scene. But then I was not ready for this at all. So when they told me to come home early n go n get my photograoph taken. So I made sure I got home only arnd 11 oclock everyday. As a result of which the poor things had to take some old group photo and use photoshop to crop my pic :D
Needless to say, not too many people wanted to marry me...including this pompous ass who knew my friend and told him that he had "rejected" me. Ki aar bolbo...some people are just so full of it.

7:18 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ jinguchakka I never said that guys enjoy the ordeal but they accept it and go through with it. if more men put their foot down and said 'no' I believe more families would realize that it was better to let the next generation decide for themselves. And as far as being clumsy with a girl who is not a friend....well isn't that how you start? As friends? I mean you don't really believe in love at first sight, do you?
@ kausum okay okay....I get your point. Yes, rejections come from both sides. I just sited that of the female sbecause that is more common. however my point is about the whole matchmaking business which leaves a bitter and rejected aftertaste in someone's mouth. And that is so unnecessary.
@ dadoji your point is well taken and yes arranged marriages work. Once it is actually a marriage. But no matter how hard you try through planned dates and stuff an arranged marriage concept is ridiculous. Primarily because if either party does not like the other, there is something called rejection. And that can be hard for whoever gets rejected. I mean here are these people who's entire life's direction depends on how the other person perceives me. How can you be normal and natural and yourself if you are trtying to make an impression? I just don't get it.
@ aditi thanks for stopping here. And I know about gynaecoid hips too :))Along with long hair fair complexion and the works!
@ vishnupriya well good for you. The social pressure in India is very high and I don't blame families getting paranoid and frustrated.
@ megha i am so with you on this. It is so disgusting to trample people's morales through such petty means. I am glad more people are finding their own parteners. That atelast spares a few victims of the system.
@ priya I know about the bilet pherot lot too. There used to such a big deal associated with NRI grooms at one time. I think a lot of people saw through the strip bars and gentlemen's clubs and these bilet pherot guys have started to lose credibility since. which is a relief. And we all went ahead without permission :)
@ ron I think you are much much better off with having found your own partner. Some people are really too full of it!

8:32 AM  
Blogger Dadoji said...

M: Why try to make an impression? Anyway, I guess it is unfair to keep insisting that you and others are being unfair to arranged marriage. So, I stop with this one last post and a very apt link from Rediff.

11:58 AM  
Blogger karmic_jay said...

Dadoji. I read that link. It is one of those that worked. There are countless others where this does not work. Pople lie in their profiles a lot.
How is it unfair to call a process that is largely conducted in a manner unfair to the participants, especially the women unfair?
I think the larger point has been to let people have the freedom to make their own choice.
If people can do this in the arranged marraige thats cool, but I have my reservations, evven in the example you mention a lot happened without parental involvement. That makes our point no?

12:38 PM  
Blogger Dadoji said...

KJ: My point was, is and will remain that the concept is not flawed, the implementation, often, is. It can be made to work. Discarding it *outright* and *irrevocably* is *very* unfair.

12:43 PM  
Blogger karmic_jay said...

I still disagree, sorry am I strong believer in individual choice. People who choose to find their own mate have to live with their choice "right" or wrong".

I would go with that rather than subject myself to go thru the arranged route. If people still want to do that cool.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Sagnik Nandy said...

Could not agree more. Very very well written. It is like a cheap bazaar out there - where people pass judgements in seconds, often just by a click. It is a strange situation - really strange.

1:28 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

Looks like we have struck up quite a debate here, eh?
@ dadoji read the link from rediff and yes, it is one of those happy fairy tale romances. But this is not what you call a traditional arranged marriage, do you? it loked to me as if the woman and the guy were dating online out of their own choice, found each other compatible and decided to meet and marry. I have nothing against online dating or any kind of dating or knowing a person before marrying. My entire post (and I begin to doubt if you understood my point)was regarding the way the arranging goes....the boy meeting girl and paraphernelia associated. A procedure that parades individuals as "commodities" and leaves a bad fater taste if one person does not like the other. Matters are worse if the other person is willing and eager. I would imagine THAT is something that we all can do without. As far as meeting through work, friends or otherwise.....I really don't have a problem.
@ karmic_jay my point exactly "let people have the freedom to make their own choice."
@ dadoji exactly. The implementation. THAT is what my point is. And THAT is something that needs to be addressed.
@ karmic_jay having the right to choose and decide and having to stand by one's own decision is the essence of living responsibly.
@ sagnik thanks for understanding my point. And thanks for the link :)

2:50 PM  
Blogger Cacophoenix said...

The problem is here is not ust about arranged or love marriages, it is about individual responsibility. We are born and brought up in a culture where individuality often takes a back seat to the thing swe do. Every aspect of our life is ruled by parenst's, siblings, relatives and every third person down the street. From the aunty next door to the veggie vendor have their opinion and any person who decides to take their life in teir hands is considered a rebel. That why arranged marriages work in India partly. it is becuase every damn person has their finger in the pie, and that is perhaps the reson why love marriages are seen as an uncommon thing. if the parents didn't take the initiative or th e boy or girl was not approved by the flower seller, then it surely must be bad.
Women don't stand up and say no becuase grandmother might get hurt, and because father's name is affected and because relatives will talk. Ask any parent if they will be willing to go through love marriage and I am sure they will say yes excpet of course what will the relatives say. It is difficult to change or convince people who are of this cultural mindset, unless ofcourse there are a few brave ones willing to go through the assault.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Kausum said...

The blog and the comments strongly support love marriages rather than arranged marriage. But, somehow the reasons given by all are individual choice as compared to a choice where the individual has no say. I think this is an extreme which is getting projected here.

Most of the arranged marriages which I have seen are actually 'pseudo' arranged marriages. Somebody in the family meets someone in the other family.. they talk and decide to introduce their son/daughter to each other. Then, the son/daughter talk with each other and in all the cases, it is they who take the final decision. The only pressure from the family, I have seen so far is the pressure to take the decision eitherways fast.

Somehow, all the posts earlier talk about arranged marriages as it was done in the '60s where probably the girl and the guy never meet each other and the girl had no choice but to agree.

I dont see, how this arranged marriage is different from a love marriage, except the medium of introduction.

Another notion of 'Billet Pherot' guys (girls are also included), well, if they want to marry someone who is an Indian, how does he go about it. It is not possible for him to be in India and search, meet and fall in love. He relies on his family, to introduce him to someone whom he can converse, chat and email (as my colleague says pay AT&T a whole lot of money) just to check if they are compatible or not.

Somehow, no one focuses 'on times that are changing' thing. They just see a tradition but do not see further to find out if there is changes in reality or are we following a 19th century tradition.

Before we say that a traditional arranged marriage does not allow individual decisons, I would say, think about the definition of an arranged marriage and see whether it has changed in time. If it is what is was earlier, its not rite.

4:40 PM  
Blogger the wannabe indian punkster said...

This has nothing to do with the post:

Before I forget..*hugs fellow freak back*

:D

5:44 PM  
Blogger Dadoji said...

You guys are really not interested in letting me sleep, are you?

m: I have been saying right from the start that the implementation is important and the concept, per se, is not flawed. Check all my posts here and elsewhere if you wish. Of course I have never defended the scenario where the parents pull the strings and the boy-girl are mere puppets. I would/could never justify *that*. At the same time I will defend the concept of arranged marriage till my last breath because I have seen it work. I have already mentioned that me defending AM is quite paradoxical but equally true and honest. You find that rediff story "fairy tale romance", eh? By the same measure, if I showed you a perfect case of arranged marriage (i.e. marriage facilitated by parents) you will classify & discard that too as "fairy tale romance" because the boy-girl took the decision, no? I have seen this happen at least 3 times. If you want, I will tell you one of those stories.

And the rediff story is not "fairy-tale" because both took the decisions with eyes and brains open. Fairy tale would be what happened with me.

4:45 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ cacophoenix I totally agree with you. A lot of families feel pressurized primarily because of all the interference from society at large. People talk and people meddle and people have so much to say about everything you do. man is a social animal and we cannot disregard society completely. Therefore, we comply. But what I am saying is more and more people are willing to take the stand, marry out of their own choice, irrespective of caste and religion and race. Which is commendable.
@ kausum you fail to get the point too. This post was not really a debate between the arranged and love marriage but rather the "implementation" of the concept. I am not condoning arranged marriages or even saying they do not work. I agree more people are going the planned dating way, something arranged by the families and given more room to make a choice. But before the formal introduction is the whole girl/boy "seeing" routine. Checking out features, complexion, talents, abilities etc. THAT I find objectionable. People who have done away with this are great. But they are a minority. The major bulk of people still go about matching horoscopes and measuring the length of hair.
As for NRIs looking for a mate I know the game is tough. You cannot find a spouse abroad due to lack of sample size. So you depend on family back in India to find someone for you. And then you go home to India to meet her and find out if you like each other. And you get married. It works. But seems to me that you need more than a few phone calls, a couple of hundred hours of talk time and ten partially chaperoned meets to realize whether you are in love and want to spend your life with this person. After all how can you be so sure that in this wide world this is the one person that was meant for you?
And nowhere do I say that things haven't changed. Times have changed. And I'm so glad.
@ megha thanks :)
@ dadoji I apologize if I am keeping you away from work/ sleep/ anythiing else. But I think we are all talking about the same thing but unable to see that. Yes I agree arranged marriages work. Why not? We've all seen them working. But do you honestly think that is the ideal way of finding a mate? Esp the whole ridiculous procedure that people take in deciding? Wouldn't you rather have people do their own finding without going through the whole "put on sale business"? Yes stories like the rediff one happen. But we are not talking about exceptions here. And yes, even three stories do not make it a rule. The vast majority of cases put a girl/ boy through the whole inspection thingy, while "arranging". And for every happy fairy tale ending there are far more discarded rejected individuals who had hoped and dreamed and still lost. THAT I think need to be changed.
But enough arguing has been done. There always has to be conflicting opinions for any discussion. You do not have to convince me that arranged marriages work. Because I know they can. I just don't like the way they are done. I don't think I can convince you regarding the commodity part. So let's give it a rest. Hope you stop by here again.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Just Mohit said...

Good post M. I really don't think it was too long. Also fairly balanced!
Came via Sagnik's blog...and i must remember to thank him for pointing this out!

9:48 AM  
Blogger Kausum said...

I too thought, the blog was about commoditizing,(my earlier comment reflects) but the second last paragraph of the blog and some of the comments which I read, indicated otherwise. I talked about individual decisions still exists irrespective the way, you marry.

There was a friend of mine, she was talking to an NRI for quite sometime, yet she was not sure about the whole thing, whether he is the one. But, I did get an interesting comment from her after she met him once, "Once, you meet, you just know he is the one, somewhere, the bell rings" Inexplicable !!! you bet it is.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Bonatellis said...

huhhh!!!! i swear i left a comment ... it was the third or the fourth :|

2:10 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ just mohit thanks for stopping here. Do come by again :)
@ kausum "individual decisions still exists irrespective the way, you marry." Absolutely. Totally agreed on that.
@ bonatellis ebar ta hole S Holmes ke lagbe khuje ber korte, ki bolo? ;)

3:24 PM  
Blogger Andy E. said...

I think the issue isn't so much with 'arranging' the marriages (any dating coach worth his/her salt will tell you to involve your friends and family in your search for a spouse) as much as forcing someone to marry a person against his/her wishes (yes, it happens with guys too, though I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for those guys). Also, I don't quite agree with the assumption that a couple whose marriage wasn't arranged is more in love than one whose marriage was (though you were careful not to make that generalization). In my limited observation, how you get married isn't as relevant as whom you marry and the kind of person you are.

I completely agree with almost everything else you wrote, especially the parts about objectifying women. Everytime I'm confronted with such an issue, I shudder to think how much worse this must be in the villages, where the concept of gender-equality is pretty much non-existent.

My minor disagreements with what you wrote notwithstanding, I think it's an extremely well-written piece. Kudos.

12:27 AM  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

I was about to do a post on this myself :-) Maybe I'll do it soon.

This can be an endless debate and I've seen people jump over from one side of the fence to the other. While I have no problem with arranged marriage (as long as it's not mine:-)), I think the basic problem lies elsewhere...in the status of women in society and the hypocritical sense of traditions and customs we keep touting as part of our "great cuture".

1:42 AM  
Blogger Vishnupriya said...

On one of those painful days, my father asked me to consider marriage 'for mom's sake'. "It would be nice if mama could attend at least one of your weddings and see at least one of her daughters settled before she succumbs to her illness," he reasoned. He then suggested that I register myself with a matrimonial web site.

I was not prepared for marriage, period. I had just reached the best phase of my career. However, not having the heart to disappoint my parents, I did register my profile.



this was the part that i noticed in the article. whatever else it goes on to say, the fact is that the girl was guilt-tripped by her family in a disgusting way by using her mother's illness as leverage. its one of the worst forms of emotional blackmail.

and so much for individual choice. what choice do you have when you are made to feel that your mother's life's worth depends on you sacrificing your own aims and ambitions.

4:07 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ andy e thanks for visiting my blog. I completely agree with you in that "how you get married isn't as relevant as whom you marry and the kind of person you are". Absolutely.
Thanks and do stop by again!
@ ghostoftomjoad I look forward to reading your take on the matter. But you are right when you say that a lot of it depends on how we perceive women in the society. I respect our culture. It has its greatness but then again, certain things are flawed and probably have been distorted over time which definitely need amending.
@ vishnupriya I know what you mean. Any kind of emotional blackmail is bad. And there's always the guilt a girl in our society feels for being a burden to her family and parents because no guy finds her good enough to be his wife. I have seen that happening to the girl I talked about in my post. She hates herself for causing so much stress to her parents. isn't that something that she could have done without?

9:01 AM  
Blogger Megha said...

Society must expand to include evolving wishes of the individual, not force him to remain within established, rigid boundaries. I suppose that is the process underway in Indian society, finally.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Megha said...

Ah, I realised there's another Megha who visits your blog. Just thought I'd clarify that I am not she :)

10:26 AM  
Blogger Bidi-K said...

Reminds me of a conversation on a flight from Paris to NY when K was studying there and I was on my once-in- a 3 month visits. Seated next to me were 2 girls - maybe 24-25 who were going to the US for the very first time. We started talking, and I learnt that both had recently got married, and were joining their respective husbands in the US. I also learnt that both of them had only met their husbands for one week or even less before they decided to get married. I was so shocked, even though I knew this was usual in quite a few arranged marriages, I had never come across anyone who chose a husband after such a brief encounter. When I was asked in turn if I was married I said yes, and they assumed it was an arranged one, till they realized that I had known K 5 years before I married him, and they in their turn were shocked... they had never known of anybody who had actually married their boyfriends! Needless to say after some time there were not enough common topics to talk ab out anymore though I had fun listening in on what their domestic plans were after landing in the US, and how much the respective husbands earned etc. But that incident I will always remember, you don't anything about the guy and you leave your parents, friends and family to be with him in quite an alien land, that for me is scary, I can never do it!

2:18 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ megha no.2 :)welcome to my blog and thanks for mentioning that you were not the punkster Megha :))Well if the world is changing so should "rigid" rules of society. esp if they have lost meaning in the modern context.
@ bidisha it happens. It happens a lot. A lot of people pointed out that these days girls and boys are "allowed" a good amount of meeting time before they are asked/ requested/ forced/ blackmailed into making a decision. Which is all good. However the sad part is there are still many many instances where people are not allowed thse liberties. And the meeting/ dating is extremely brief and monitored. Like you say it can be very "scary".

3:36 PM  
Blogger True Blue Guy said...

It is demeaning. Its no different from selling things in a shop.

Like you, I just cannot imagine an arranged marriage and I cannot understand why someone would NOT want their wife to work. I'd in fact want my wife to do what she likes - hey she has to enjoy life too

cheers - lovely post and I did miss reading your blog

12:30 AM  
Blogger A.G.Sudarshan said...

Good to see a balanced notion on the subject. Normally all I get to read is the bashing up of the arranged marraige (AM) concept and a gaurded endorsement of the Love Marraige (LM) concept.

Bear with me a bit while I share a few brain-things in my head (I'd write a post abt it, but as my sis reads the blog and I don't want her thinking I think so deeply abt this, i don't.. hehe):

AM is such a damn simple and obvious concept. I don't mean the bride parade and commodity trade-like behaviour, but the concept in itself. Earlier when there was a lack of communication and women (like u said) were dependent on the household, every man and woman went through a set of experiences. These experiences moulded them to think in a particular way(latest post on this topic btw).

Now isn't it true that the best marraiges are the ones in which the fundamental beliefs and principles of two ppl should be teh same... it doesn't matter if one likes brinjal and the other doesn't! So arranged marraige made loads of sense then... And even now to some extent when it so happens that teh person you can most easily connect to are the people who have had similar social experiences. For eg. in my case an orthodox family from tam land .. but NEVER lived there.

So even if I go for a LM, it might be someone who lived in a strong family system and has this sense of belonging to any place (I hope that had clarity)...

These concepts are often so clear. Its the bloody baggage that's collected on the way in form of procudures and traditions that's the problem!

P.S. Too long na? :)

3:47 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ t.b.g. not everyone has the same outlook as you do. Good luck! And have you settled in yet? Missed seeing you around.
@ a.g.s. may be your sis should know how deeply you've been thinking about this :))Will read your latest post as soon as I get a chance.
As for marrying someone from the same community with similar concepts and beliefs happens primarily because you find it easiest to relate to someone with similar backgrounds and culture. Makes adjusting a lot easier. And like I said before I have nothing against either AM/LM but the way things are carried out in our society.
And no, your comment is not long at all and much appreciated.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Ghetufool said...

girls should not be allowed a decent education. we, males, generous ones...allow the girls to get a decent education and see, how they speak...

4:17 PM  
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