It’s September 2010. Three quarters of this year are over and we move into the last quarter in ten days time. The latter half of this year has been really exciting for me. A lot of my friends either married or got engaged. On an average three friends of mine are getting married every month starting this October!
Marriage is perhaps the most memorable and one amongst the most important milestone in everyone’s life. A milestone, where ‘I becomes WE’, ‘ME becomes US’ and ‘MINE becomes OURS’. A time to celebrate as you have never done before, and perhaps, will never do again. It’s a day when bride easily becomes the most beautiful girl in the marriage hall. A day when groom gets all the attention even if the hall is full of ladies dressed at their best :).
It’s every parents wish to have the grandest and the best of weddings for their child. They spend all their savings so that everything, from the wedding dress to the invitation card, is perfect and the best.
All this gives us an impression that bride and the groom are the most important people in the process of arranging the marriage. But is it really so?
In India the number of arranged marriages will outnumber love marriages with more than 1000(or more) to 1. Most of you people may know how marriages are arranged. For those who don’t the process is as below.
• Parents post their child’s profile on matrimony sites and load it with the best photographs of their child.
• The profiles are filtered based on religion and community.
• A list of matching profiles is made and then horoscopes are exchanged.
• Now parents take their child’s horoscope to an astrologer and ask him to tell if it matches any one of the short listed horoscopes.
• If yes, then the guy comes and meets the girl in presence of the entire family. The girl is made to dress the best and look at her best. If lucky, the guy and the girl get ten minutes to talk to each other in person.
• If the guy and the girl are happy about each others looks (as I personally feel that it is the only thing that you can judge in ten minutes time) girl’s parents start bidding on the guy. After some negotiations, if the final bid is attractive enough and outsmarts all bids made on their son till date, you get to hear relatives exclaim “Look at them! This couple is made in heaven!” Else the girl invariably has a twisted nose or has a bad set of teeth or doesn’t have a sweet voice!
Background check about the guy and the girl is done in the time being. But more often than not, if the horoscopes match and bidding is done properly by the girl’s family, then the marriage is almost fixed.
One small drawback with this entire process is that the guy and the girl, the most important people in the marriage, the stars of the show, hardly matter! For argument sake families say that children met, talked and hence are supposed to be in love with each other. This means that you have only ten minutes to decide on your better half!
I really wonder if those ten minutes are enough. Most of the people get married in their mid twenties. I am sure that even after 25 years of living, most of us dont have a clue about ourselves! If a human being cannot understand himself in 25 years, how is he supposed to understand his better half in ten minutes!
If the child is in a relation, then an emotional torture happens on him/her with all sorts of questions being asked. “How can you do this to us?”, “Is this why we brought you up? To see this day?”, “What community/religion is your child going to be in?”, “What will people say?” and “Don’t you care about us and our culture?” are questions that top the list.
The child’s happiness and all other practical issues which should be the top priority such as financial stability, the guy/girls character, the guy/girls family and most importantly their happiness, takes a back seat if there is a conflict in religion/caste. This is also a time when parents are most prone to life threatening diseases. The risk of these diseases is high up until their child agrees to marry as per his/her parent’s decision (to a guy who is from the same religion/community). In between all the other things such as Horoscope, Community, Religion and Relatives parents tend to forget about their child’s happiness.
In short, more often than not, the most important decision of your life is taken based on an astrologer’s opinion and family status! I feel that in the marriages where the couples happiness comes after family status, religion, community and relatives, marriage is not the only thing arranged. Emotions like love, understanding, care and most importantly, happiness are also arranged.
I agree that marriage is a bonding not only between the couple getting married, but also amongst the families. But I feel the priority should be couple first, and then the rest. Unfortunately it is the other way round. When it is an arranged marriage, more often than not, the couples are ‘Last and always the least’ important.
PS: This blog entry is dedicated to my best friends from college who have stood by me through thick and thin. Both of them are getting married this quarter. God bless them with the choosiest of his blessings. They are the best and they deserve the best. Love you guys.