Arranged Marriage Fiasco

Some of my friends here are surprised by the notion that ‘Arranged Marriage’ exists even today. But those of you, whose roots are originally Indian, can very well relate to the main type of marital union back home. Smirking huh? Oh, that topic again! Been there, done that.

For my Non-Indian friends here, arranged marriage is ARRANGED by everyone other than the actual couple. The families come together, judge each other and finally agree that the guy and girl would be a perfect jodi (couple) and get them married off. Sometimes the couple doesn’t even meet each other until the wedding ceremonies begin.

Before your eyebrows shoot up any further, let me tell you that the trend has changed quite considerably nowadays. Traditions have become a little relaxed and the would-be couple is allowed to meet each other and talk for a while before giving the nod. And yes, the willingness is considered by both the parties. So, it’s not that bad a situation huh? Let the parents do all the research and we can relax and go on arranged dates (well not actually dates because the families are waiting right outside the open door and a little cousin is present for propriety’s sake).

Overall, it’s not such a bad notion if we have the power to say No, right? But it’s not that simple actually. There is a whole drama associated with seeing the different matches. Let me take you directly to some of these instances.

A tall guy comes in with his father and aunt. Drinks and snacks are served and after the small talk, both parties come to the main topic. Well educated, a professor by profession in one of the most happening cities of India, no mother-in-law, an only son, quite well off, no demand of dowry and so on. The checklist was very favourable indeed. Until the guy opened his mouth. He just had a single condition. The wife would stay with his father in his hometown, taking care of the household as the lady of the house had passed away a while back. They wanted someone who could change their house into a home again. The guy would be visiting often from down South (that could quite well mean twice a year or maybe thrice if he gets enough day offs from his University). One can only laugh at such a situation, but the uncomfortable silence at the gathering gave them the answer they deserved. There are so many agencies where you can hire excellent domestic help, why do you need to spend so much on a lavish wedding instead?

Another favourite of mine is a lady who walked in suddenly and we had to rush and arrange the snacks for them. The match-maker (there is actually a well-acquainted lady whose favourite pastime is matchmaking) send an apologetic look for coming unannounced. The first question the potential mother-in-law asked was to this effect- “Is your girl tall or is she like you?” Since I inherited my height from my father, my Mom was shocked at the blunt comment on her height. The matchmaker was quite embarrassed and she intervened. The next question about my skin colour finalised that it was time for them to leave. It seemed the lady had come in for shopping and wanted certain features in her would-be daughter-in-law. My Mom and I had a very good laugh afterwards.

After going through various mismatches, I can surely say that I have had enough. Some don’t expect their bahus (daughter-in-laws) to work after marriage, some advise me to lose weight, some want a fairer skin tone, some don’t like my height, while others comment on my dressing style. Getting over the silliness of this all, I try to see the bright side of this whole matchmaking drama. As long as such families keep my parents occupied, I can live freely for a few more years and fulfil my dreams 🙂 Besides, I do appreciate a good laugh now and then.

I am not saying that all arranged marriage attempts are as pathetic. Some families are genuinely good but its just not meant to be, due to various other reasons. Let me be completely honest about the statistics related to arranged marriages. In India, where most of the unions are pre-arranged, the divorce rate is the lowest in the world at 1.1%. Whatever the reasons are for this, it does say a lot about the tradition of a marital union that faded away from the other parts of the world by the end of 18th C.

So, all those out there who are going through similar experiences, we should definitely catch up and compare notes on who got the funniest story so far 😛

 

Image copyright with the Artist- SoulPancake

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21 thoughts on “Arranged Marriage Fiasco

  1. Lol! Did u seriously meet such families? At 18 years, my journey is just beginning. Hope I don’t have to go through such ppl. All the best fr urs though.

  2. Yeh I got a funnier story. Even in love marriage ur mother-in-law when finally comes to see u with whole family and near-n-dear relatives leaves a comment not only on ur weight but also how u are lot more qualified than her son, which will not work for their family’s reputation. Yeh really it did happen. People should be Happy that their Daughter-in-law is more qualified than getting terrified of it and of the impending future of marriage and people raising their eyebrows.

    1. Wow! I didn’t even get to that part about being over qualified for their son. As long as you have a loving husband by your side, I guess these things become irrelevant. Hope all is well with you now.

  3. Hi Hanadi,

    Good to know about your experiences and the way you guys are coping up with the situation!
    Actually this is a situation of sorts which many have to go through around here.

    On a serious note, ‘Arranged Marriage’ is almost a social compulsion for many, not just in India but in many countries in Asia and Middle-East. And this original arrangement, probably offers very little independence of choice with the bride to be or her family and could be really stressful for the young women.

    But as you say, things are changing now for good. With awareness and talks of gender equality sneaking into our drawing rooms through TV debates and Newspaper articles, People are beginning to realize that essential tuning may be required in this age old traditional process.

    Hope you cross this hurdle with flying colors and this traditional methodology enables you to meet your Mr. Charming soon !

    Good Luck and God Bless.

  4. It feels awful when people describe and comment on physical traits, way of talking and walking. I don’t know why people don’t understand that every individual is unique in their own way. Every individual has their own merits and demerits.
    They should accept us as we are, otherwise it creates a big difference between new family and the person who they are welcoming very happily.
    Just a thought I shared with you.
    Any way best of luck for your future family. ?

    1. I think about the same things Chetna. And thanks for the wishes. Happy to see you settled so well in your lovely new family 🙂

  5. It is indeed a good thing that allows people to find their soulmate with little effort.
    To look at it from religious perspective, a person is not allowed to do small talk with a non-mahram. To keep your conversations halaal we are advised to talk only if necessary. Hence even if you know about person and would like to have a marriage proposal, there is little chance to know the actual person without crossing the boundaries of a halaal conversations.

    The presence of the little cousin makes our conversation still halaal as we know the reason for this personal talk is the holy act of marriage and not flirting etc. So in a way it is perfected by our society as long as you don’t follow the hardliners where the to-be-wed couple is not even allowed to talk to each other for making the choice. Nor the judgmental folks who credit the groom/bride by the earnings, job location or height/weight/skin tone for that matter. As long as we are open for a blessed marriage, all the other factors subside down against the nature and character of the persons involved. Unlikely such arranged marriage proposals are very less in proportion as against those of judgmental match makers.

    1. Yeah, that’s true. How I wish the judgemental ones would have a label on their forehead, so that we can skip past them with just a look. But sadly, people don’t come with true labels 🙁

      1. However it seems that labelling a girl for her height, skin colour or weight is
        still frowned upon by the society. The same is not true for a guy. Labelling a
        guy on the other hand for his job, salary, location (eg. US based etc.) is not
        at all frowned upon. Infact parents proudly announce it and so does the match
        makers.
        It would be great if u add a few excerpts about this in ur post. We boys too feel
        objectified when any girl or their parents ask about these. Arent these similar to
        the cooking skills or height/weight/colour of the girl.

        1. Very nice suggestion indeed. Food for thought for my new blogpost- ‘Men’s side of the arranged marriage fiasco.’

  6. I liked your new post. However I still think you took the issue gently.
    Atleast as compared to feminine side 😛
    Further to bring the irony look at the following excerpt from this post mentioning the checklist :
    “Well educated, a professor by profession in one of the most happening cities of India,
    no mother-in-law, only son, quite well off, no demand of dowry and so on. The checklist
    was very favourable indeed.”

    And just to add it up in this so called “evolving society”,
    what are your views on Alimony vs Dowry.
    I believe both are wrong. However society still considers
    only one of these as evil. Where is gender equality now?
    Would love a post of yours on this issue as well 🙂

  7. This whole idea of arranging a marriage is insane. How do you guys cope up with this in this century?

  8. We should get rid of ridiculous customs atleast now. India isn’t as backward as it is made out to be. I was there for a month last year and it was incredible.

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