So,which marriage will you be having? – Part 1

The grass is always greener on the other side. Really! My American friend is completely in love with the concept of an arranged marriage and is hoping against hope that her parents will find a list of prospective grooms for her from whom she can have her pick. She finds the whole concept very comforting and practically risk free. This after a string of rather wrong boyfriends with whom she has wasted a considerable chunk of her life and for whom she has earned the black sheep tag from her family. I was telling her how it worked in India, in most of the cases and the enthusiasm in her voice was unmistakable. She was pumped and I could hear that she was seriously considering talking to her folks about an arranged marriage. What was surprising was how she later told me that she ain’t the only one thinking of going the arranged marriage way.

This is one side of the coin. On the other we have us, the typical Indian folks who dream and hope for parents who will let us chose our partners and be ok with it. No emotional blackmail. No tears. No fuss. No guilt trips and certainly no ‘Is this how I brought you up?’ type melodramatic lines. And we most certainly dont want ‘ We shall give our blessings albeit grudgingly, we shall attend the wedding though unhappy and we shall put on a happy face, though we cry inside. No sir, we don’t want any of the above. We seek acceptance and understanding and a plain yes or no. Not that its gonna affect our decision, but we would just like to know how you feel, cause you are our parents. Now, this is the new Indian dream.

See, dint I tell you the grass is greener on the other side? So, I was telling her about the new Indian dream and all that and since I am a part of that country where arranged marriages are a way of life and since I belong to a generation which thrives on the New Indian dream, she set me this interesting task of giving her 10 reasons as to why she should go for an arranged marriage and 10 reasons why it should be a love marriage. ( The girl cannot stop giggling every time  I say love marriage, cause she says it makes it seem like the arranged marriage is love less. True na and to think I never thought of it like that until now) So, presenting ** Drumroll** 10 reasons as to why, an arranged marriage is the way to go..

1) Well, the most basic reason has to be risk free element. Perhaps not risk free, everything has its risks but hmmm..lets say, the division of responsibility. It was a joint decision. And, God forbid, if there are hitches in your relationship, then your folks are not gonna turn around and give you the ” I told you so” look. Oh well, no matter how much we talk about the ‘Its- my-decision- and – I’ll – honour it’ or ‘Its- a-mistake-but-its-my-mistake’, the fact still remains that we need our family’s support and in an arranged marriage, you folks somehow feel they have much responsibility as you do, to make it work.

2) It saves a ton of trouble. Your folks will do all the shortlisting. All the background checks and all the digging up. They will even go so far as to get conduct certificates from his school/college. I tell you, your folks transform into world class snoops when searching for their kid’s mate. Documents containing crucial information including his first smoke, first drink and first fuck is unearthed, god knows from where. Though I think women are exempted from it. I’m pretty darn confident that the parents crowd still thinks that smoke-drink and fuck are for “those women” and not for future brides. Dont ask me to explain that, I dont belong to the parents group.

3) Don’t ask me how, but the parents group somehow land up on dudes who seem so wrong for you on the outset but then when you get to know him, seems so right. Really!! Its a part of their mystical powers. You cant question it. But have no fear, when I finally join the parents group, a few million years from now, the mystery shall be reveled. Provided, I’m still blogging!!

4) In retrospect and I emphasize it again, In retrospect, those chaperoned first introduction between the girl and the boy seems hilarious. It makes for a good holiday story, a legend that can be passed on forever. Legend goes that my sister kept pulling at her saree so much that it actually came undone right in front of her my brother in law and he keeps claiming that he would have been an idiot to let go of a girl who gave him personalised strip show during their first meeting. So you see, embarrassing first meets can later become famous stories to be passed on. I remember this one time when this prospective mother in law called me at work to fix up a meeting between her son and I and the Goddamn lady, instead of asking me for a good time to fix the meet wanted to  know how much I earned. Well, it was embarrassing and I was in tears of anger and frustration post the call, but now, in retrospect, it seems hilarious.

5) Arranged marriage means that basically your family is at its happiest.( I suppose somebody once said, “Its all about loving your family 😛 ) And a happy family is a generous family and a generous family is a gift giving family, which means **Drumroll** Excellent wedding gifts..Lalalalalalala..Oh yes, come on now, drop the act, we like gifts, weddings, birthdays,anniversaries, we love em all and we love the gifts too. Now a ‘we shall attend the wedding though unhappy and we shall put on a happy face, though we cry inside’ family means you get annoying crockery sets and truckloads of linen as wedding gifts..**Sigh** but a ‘we are soooo happy’  family means you get holidays to exotic locations as wedding gifts. See, the choice is pretty simple. Ok, so I am materialistic!! But so are you!!!

6) Most often in an arranged marriage, the whole process of falling in love, happens post the marriage. (Err..That point sounded so romantic in my head but in writing, it looks rather idiotic) Well, anyways, so since you are already married to him, its like being in an island with only one man. He is THE MAN, you like him cause he is all you have and suddenly you realise that his annoying habits don’t matter and you learn to love him. (I know..I know, the point looks very weak, but I’m trying my best here to make it look romantic. Stay with me, will you?)

Ok..Now this is where I need your help. No matter how hard I try, I cant seem to go beyond 6 reasons to support arranged marriages. Come on now, we are country that has thrived on arranged marriages ( a population of more than 1 billion , no less ) and when put to test by my American friend, I cant think..So help me out here..gimme more reasons as to why arranged marriages are the way to go.

PS: Don’t think I am advocating arranged marriages, cause thats not the intent of this blog. Hell, I have to give 10 reasons right after this in favour of Love marriages. So, my doubting friend, my aim is not to convince you to get an arranged marriage. Far from it, this is to help my friend decide. She can be an annoying list-based decision maker sometimes and this is one such instance. So help, my friend’s future depends on you!!!! **puppy eyes**

PPS: My ‘ten reasons why a love marriage is the way to go’ will soon follow and looking at the way my list is developing, I just might need you help again!!!

Published in: on June 19, 2008 at 8:13 am  Comments (13)  
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World domination, here they come…

In retrospect, I think that perhaps we were better off without these darn social networking sites. Yes, i mean Orkut, Facebook and million others. Life was simpler, ‘ keep in touch’ meant more than just send me a scrap, evenings meant hanging out with friends, realtime and not online. Life was easier and to an extent I think life was more genuine. I don’t mean to rob these sites of its glory, oh no, thats not the idea cause I know there are millions out there who will swear by these sites but point here is that these sites have steady taken over our lives and we haven’t even realised it or even if we have, we don’t seem to care.  Hell, I dint even realise how my life had begun to revolve around it until last month when I suddenly realised that I seem to be spending most of my waking hours on these sites, a window leading to these sites was always..ALWAYS open, lest I miss an interesting discussion in a community, or I miss a scrap or whatever. Reasons are plenty. Tons of people have forgotten to sleep too . For what? To post, to argue , to basically not miss a beat of your online life.

I think its all the same. Remember the earlier chatroom addiction? When everyone was online randomly chatting away wiith some stranger who claimed to be 25/M/Sydney or 19/F/Dhaka or whatever. When we shed our realtime persona and became the person whom we always dreamt of becoming? Well, this is just that, except its got a dignified tag this time around, social networking.

Its funny how the first thing we say when asked about these sites is that they reconnected you with long lost friends. True. Very true, for it does. But with how many of those reconnected friends are we truly in touch with? Was it worth reconnecting? Did you want to reconnect? I remember getting this friend request from someone who claimed to have gone to the same college I did. His claim to friendship was that he has seen me around in the canteen a few times. Well, if we was so keen on being my friend, why dint he just speak to me then? Why wait till you stumble on my profile on orkut and then talk? I don’t understand the logic behind it.

There are times when I miss the long telephonic conversations with friends, catching up on all the news about our mutual friends. Those emails/letters that come with news of how a certain X went from being single to hooked, how Y left India and how Z got a job. Somehow listening to them from your friend who painstakingly collected these information from another friend and now expects you to pass it on to your friends, cannot me matched by the auto generated Updates that most of these sites have. The charm is lost. The excitement is missing.

But we’ve gained new friends too. From amidst the ten million people we see online every day in every community, one or two tend to become good friends. Friends who are tangible, friends who seem like people you went to school with, friends so real that you forget you found them online. And for those few friends, dear networking site, I thank you. I really do.  But you have effectively made the term ‘ Friends’ lose its morality too.  Everyone is a friend online, even if you dont know them. Sad!

Oh and the communities, interesting they are cause its a replica of a college, each community. Each of them have its own ‘resident bitch‘, who will sweet talk you in the community and then talk behind you in IM’s. A ‘mother hen’, who is busy pairing up her kids and is constantly checking after your well being in your online hours, a ‘know it all ‘ who will point out every little mistake in your posts and whats more, will correct it and send you ten thousand links to prove their point, a ‘bully’ who likes taunting, even if its just online, a ‘PYT ‘ who has the boys vying for her attention and a ‘hunk’ who will have girls eating out of his hands. We have them all, even the ‘slut/sex crazed manic’ who cannot make a point without the cover of innuendos. These and so many more specimens, you just need to look and they are all there, one big seemingly happy family. Just one question, Don’t we have enough of them in our lives without having to add the online versions as well?  Just a random question.

They are all interesting, all there, all present and all so weirdly addictive that inspite of it all, you tend to place them over your realtime life, your realtime friends. Look at that, friends and life are not just friends and life anymore, they have cateogries, realtime and online.

So, what was I saying? Oh ya, yes, in retrospect, I still think we were better off without them darn social networking sites.

Published in: on June 10, 2008 at 6:51 am  Comments (10)  
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