The Indian Matrimonial Conundrum

…And the solemn vow goes something like this – ‘I, choose you to be my [husband/wife], to respect you in your successes and in your failures, to care for you in sickness and in health, to nurture you, and to grow with you throughout the seasons of life.’

The ‘Matrimonial Fest’ kicks off in one’s life with a sudden awakening on that one fine day when your parents stumble upon a relative or a friend, at your friend’s or cousin’s wedding who is more or less your age, and pops ‘the question’,”When is your child getting married?”

You are hurriedly signed up on various matrimonial sites with all your positive attributes in limelight and less than positive,… be revealed or better, discovered, by the significant other as the most fun part of being married. Parents plunge headlong seeking matches for their children from the same caste, sub-caste, region, religion, social class and blah,blah,blah. What is it that exactly propels us to naturally look for people who are like us? Is it the comfort of commonality? Why do we completely rule out the prospect of finding a great spouse outside our social and cultural disposal albeit the prevailing general sensibility has it that the ‘opposites attract and likes repel’!!


The matrimonial ad reads,-‘Want a tall,very fair,slim,doctor/engineer blah, blah, blah, boy for a tall,very fair,super slim,blah blah girl.’ – When a man and a woman come together to live every passing day,inundated with day-to-day challenges like what groceries to get for the week, to who is going to drop the kids to school, to how to pay the monthly bills, does it really matter how good-looking or which race,community,caste or a religion one belongs to? Would it even matter after few months into the marriage that your wife is good-looking or Plain Jane? Or would it matter after 2 years of marriage if your husband is a clone of Brad Pitt, I mean how long can you flaunt them to the world? Isn’t it more paramount to hook on to something more lasting like a great sense of humor(which gets better with time), a caring, soft-spoken, well read personality?

There is another category of people who believe in the idea that the world consists of only 12 types of people. A horoscope aficionado will go to any length like a detective agent on a tiresome mission, searching incessantly for that one perfect horoscope. Now once the horoscope matches then the boy/girl also has to go through another set of priorities like the caste,colour,social status blah blah. Please think it over in terms of an actual hurdle that one has to jump over to get closer to our finishing line.

If you are looking out for a person who has to be validated by your family then there are good chances that you wouldn’t be able to arrive at a convincing decision even on the day you are tying the knot. Scary, it better be! Because you can never satisfy everyone at the same time. You can either make yourself happy or you could worry endless for the rest of your life that your approval is yet to come from elders in the family. This is as good as letting your parents shop for you expecting them to pick up your right fit. And hey look, they have got you a pair of dress of their taste and you better fit yourself into it and don’t dare complain. Don’t make faces! Just gulp it down your throat, its after all only a matter of ‘lifetime’!!

Now lets give some leverage to love. There are 1.5 billion, ball point, people in India out of which 90% of the population still resorts to arranged marriages. So what about ‘love’? Isn’t that feeling of twinge in the heart,which makes the world go round, important for two people to live together? “What about it? Love is bullshit, that’s only for movies. It’s not for us.” Assert the elders. Is developing feelings for a person before marrying them, so sinful a thought? And if the answer is yes then how does one program their mind to fall in love with the person chosen predominantly by their family? Are we falling in love with them or are we actually confusing ourselves between – Like for Love? We can develop fondness for the person falling in our own social and cultural classification and decide to spend the rest of our life with that thought for just togetherness, still being unaware of what true love means for the rest of our lives. It’s every individuals choice as to what suits him. But unless you open your mind to a new idea you wouldn’t know that you do have more choices than you actually know or want to know. But wait, who wants true love at the first place? We only want to share our roof with someone and make babies with them. Right? I do not mean disrespect for the elders here but to marry someone you love is not all that sinful.

The partner chosen for you could be wealthy and fulfill all your social and cultural criteria and it may still seem less because the emotional void of not being with a person you love is catastrophic unless you are good at compromising.

I will quote a dialogue from the clichéd movie, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna – ‘The foundation of every marriage has-to-be love because if the foundation is wrong then there are chances of the whole thing coming down.’

Be brutally honest to yourself…is it love?


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