… Arranged marriages in India, are manufactured.
Every relative/friends, and neighbors are so after finding that one suitable match – that they believe is perfect for you..! Traditions, custom and society make parents of Indian daughters not just tolerate but impose this culture, on their daughters.
Before you read on – I take a moment to mention, that I have no intention to hurt anyone. And there no element of humor or smirk. Just #PassImpressionOn!
This is a narration on behalf of several dear girl-friends, whose parents are looking for prospect partners. And every conversations that I have had with them, made me share those “million-zillion thoughts and feelings” – That goes unsaid and unheard.
Somehow arranged marriages are glorified in our country. No one seems to understand that women too have desires.
She says, “I am in no hurry to get married. But, ever since my father placed matrimonial ads for me to fulfill his paternal duty, I have to take a look on each profile to find a life-partner.” These ads read something like, “Match for Muslim Girl, Well-Educated journalist, 28, fair, slim.” It was probably a moment of personal victory for me, that they did not include the famous Indian misnomer “homely”.
The pressure on me to find a husband started ever since, I came back home from my work city – Pune. My lifestyle was suddenly questioned. I recall my mother’s greatest concern, after learning that I drink, occasionally, “What boy will marry her when he finds out?” she cried, begging my father to never mention my drinking habits – for which I was tagged as not “Good Indian Girl”. And I was forced to break off all contacts from my friends – read that “drinkers”, and to cut off from every person that I would want to be with.
At a recent dinner party, she also tried to explain how single-minded Indian parents can be, “Imagine you are on a Merry-Go-Round, with your parents and waiting for the thrill of the joy ride” She said. “It just started and your mother turns to you and says, ‘Beta, when are you getting married? You have a boy in mind? What are your intentions?’”. There’s no way to escape discussion on “When Are You Getting Married”, eventually.
And, cc’d on an e-mail addressed to my father. It read – “We liked the girl’s profile. The boy is in good state job in US and cannot come to India. The girl must relocate to US.” The message was signed by Mr. S.K Khan (name changed) – the boy’s father.” Attached was a message that asked, what the date, time, and location of my birth were, presumably to determine how astrologically harmonious this match would be. That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, until the search started for the “Best Matrimonial Photo” to be emailed. Until now, my dressing was never questioned. And to have that perfect prospect “Indian-Bride-to-be” picture, I was hushed to a photo studio decked up in sari (the elaborate cotton or silk cloth, draped around the body, and it marks you traditional), for that one perfect click.
She mentions, “It does hurt a bit, of course, it is then expected – I can get over it”. I asked my parents, “With him in US, and I in India – How will we meet, get to know each other?”.
“In unison, everyone in my family – agreed that thinking to meet him out was outraging my modesty…” – Really!!!
Ever since I crossed the unmarriageable age threshold meant for an Indian woman, 30, two years ago. My parents, in a very earnest bid to secure my eternal happiness, have been trying to marry me off to, well, just about anyone lately. “My father is up at night on arranged-marriage websites”, she quotes.
It’s Scary!! Freaks Me Out!! It disturbs me that perhaps I’ve made everything irreparably worse by not marrying at the age of 25.
Of all the prospective proposals, received through family/friends – I was given this chance to meet a guy for the first “Introductions meetings,” – she says. And that meeting was one of its own kinds. A week before the day of meeting, everyone in my house was in state of panic – What should I wear, how should I talk, what should I drink/eat, how should I walk? And to top it all, what should be the color of my Indian Dress. It was mayhem!!
The entire “Find-n-Marry“ process has becomes a serial hunt with the parents doing the pursuing to begin a relationship and the daughters taking over the role in trying to convert it into something more lasting.
Where is the opportunity for Indian women to – find the Right partner, if not Perfect?? Why should the rules to be “Perfect to-be bride” imply only on girls?? Why girls perspectives remain fantasies and compromises and antonyms of your wishes become the reality.
Through this narration – I just want to reach that audience (Parents/Family/Friends), who does not understand that every “heart-to-heart discussions” are must and most of all – the daughter(s) has to be ready to materialize the mirage of marriage!