L & M – Love Marriage

In a country where the legal age to drive is 18, the legal age for girls to get married is 16 and the legal age for drinking between 18-25, the right to get married to a groom of your own choice is almost non existent. That means, you can own a vehicle, put yours and othets’ lives at risk, get married to  a total stranger and have consensual sex and even drink alcohol which might jeopardize your health, but to marry someone of your choice, especially of a different caste is still taboo.

If you live in the villages of Harayana or U.P. you might as well forget the right to live if you decide to marry someone you love. Please someone tell them there is absolutely no honour in “honour killing”. Like I said, it’s just not allowed. In the cities, it’s a little better. You can thank your stars that you won’t be killed in cold blood, but might be made to feel as such for all the coming years of your life. Even though he/she might fit in like a glove in the family, they would still be the odd one out. Like a cotton ball in a mansion of satins. Always different, standing out and “lower” quality.

Everybody’s moving ahead with the times. Everyone owns a mobile phone, iPad, laptop, colour TVs et al. But this is still one area where the people esp the parents of this country need to grow up. If everything else in your life if 3G, why not this? Why do you think that societal acceptance is more important than your child’s happiness? And seriously, in this age of “breaking news”, nothing is really worth more than an eyebrow raise. And seriously, every marriage has it’s pros and cons. Why single a type out?

Being different and standing out and against is all good and revolutionary on papers, but, in reality, it feels a lot less heroic and mostly full of bad shit. Did you have a love marriage?

Love and marriage!

Quote: “Match for 6”-31 yrs(luks 29), H’som PB Kh Boy,xtrmly well stld in M.Navy. Lkng 4 B’Ful Shrt Educated, frm High Status,Cltd Fly. Pls cntct with fl lnght foto only.” Unquote.

Greek? No, that, in fact, is English. This is a recent ad published in a matrimonial column. Decoded it says that a six foot tall, 31 year old Punjabi (Khatri) man, who is extremely well settled in the Merchant Navy is looking for a beautiful, short, educated girl, who belongs to a cultured family with a high status. Interested candidates are to contact him with a full length photo only.

Note how he is looking for a “short” girl.

Love and marriage – how well do they go together? Do they at all? Do you think someone like this man, who is looking for a short girl to marry has love on his mind as furthermost in a marriage? Doubtful.

Consider this song….Love and marriage by Frank Sinatra. He sings about how love and marriage – they go together like a horse and carriage. And according to him, you can’t have one without the other. Sinatra is outdated, as are his views –in present day society. We are all about “instant make-out, instant break ups” as quoted by Anushka Sharma’s character in Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

I am the brunt of many a caustic remark when I sit down on a Sunday to peruse the matrimonials. No I am not looking for an H’some Boy who is “extremely well settled” with a large income. I read them because of the sheer incredulity that overwhelms me when I come across ads that I have quoted above. I have even come across ads that ask for women who are educated up to the 12th standard only. They do get specific don’t they?

Relationships are a farce now. Everyone wants tailor made people for a specific purpose. No one is willing to compromise and adjust to another person. Thus the instant breakups happening all over town.

People are evidently getting married for the wrong reasons – if they insist they want a person who is less educated than them then something is horrifyingly wrong about the mindset of today’s youth.

I do believe that the days of yore had more integrity, yet I am equally sure that the seeds of the present situation of society were sowed then. Was there more love? Maybe. Those were the days of arranged marriages that worked out because they were arranged for one specific purpose. A girl/guy was needed in order to produce an heir, obviously male, to carry on the family name/tradition.

After this necessary duty had been fulfilled, the couples carried on with their lives, with a feeling of affection for each other. They might have even fallen in love sometimes. At least they were honest about the reasons behind marriage. Love might have been secondary, but when it did bless the couple, it stayed.

But now all that has changed. The horse has struggled out of its shackles and taken off for the horizon, leaving the carriage to teeter into a ditch. Relationships have become as disposable as contact lenses. They even have the same shelf life – for most people, yes, not all. Now it seems that marriage has been reduced to corny sms lingo ads in papers, and bimonthly relationships based on desires.

But we don’t want that to happen. Unfortunately, no one seems to be listening. All you hear these days are feminist rants about how men are not required and men wishing for multiple partners. Again, the disclaimer – mostly.

Have you heard the songs that abound these days? “Main zandu balm hui, darling tere liye?” “Wanna be my chammak challo?” Excuse me? This, ladies and gentlemen, is the yardstick for romance then. You go up to a girl and ask her to be your village belle. Or ladies, proclaim yourself as pain relief ointment. Songs these days make absolutely no sense, and very few romantic songs are actually full of romantic sentiment. We have to listen to most songs carefully and thrice over, to try and make head or tail of what they mean. So notions of romance are evidently very different – and indicative of prevalent mindset.

Very few people listen to Elvis anymore.

But to return to the quoted ad and what it represents. Can u even read it at first go? People don’t even bother to write entire sentences to spell out what they are looking for in a girl. Even people who are dating send expressions of love via texts – “I lv u.” Or simply, “M.U.” What is “M.U”? Miss you, of course. I miss you but I cannot be bothered to type out eight letters.

So my advice is – society has changed. Make sure you have the right guy in hand before you get married. And don’t marry until you are sure you absolutely want to. In fact don’t get into a serious relationship until you are, well, serious, about the person. Find yourself a man who sends you full sentences when he is texting his feelings. For if the guy can’t take responsibility of a sentence, how will he take the responsibility of a wife?

Guest article from www.glad2bawoman.com. Glad2bawoman is an online media company for women with a growing community of more than 70,000 members. All about women and for women, it encompasses a variety of topics including empowerment, relationships and health.

Arranging your love – better than loving the arrangement ?

Marriage. They say it’s not a word, it’s a sentence. A sentence that means a million different things to a million people across the world. And yet, it is considered the most sacred of all institutions that exist in this world. Across generations, thought processes have changed, new cultures have emerged, humongous technological advancements have happened and yet, Marriage is a kind of mystery that is still incurable, still indecipherable.

The decision to get married brings with itself a host of responsibilities. And add to that, with a paradigm cultural shift, we have another very important question that has apparently gained more importance than the original “To marry or not to marry” confusion and that is, “Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage”. And this is one topic of debate that was prevalent even when I was in school and I think it’s going to be relevant even when my kids decide to get married. I only hope we (my kids and I) agree one of those !

Now, there are a lot of pros and cons associated with each kind of marriage, and in a nutshell if you ask me, I would just say, “To each his own”. But seriously, if I were to elaborate to sort out my own thoughts on the topic, I would address them as below.

1) Basics

Arranged Marriage (AM) is a pretty consistent procedure. You turn a marriage-able age. Your parents decide to find a suitable match for you. When they find it, you get married. Contrast this with a “Love marriage”. Random boy meets random girl. They hook up and start dating. And sometime later, they decide to get married. Do they end up getting married? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Random people, random answers. But what really bothers me is the characterization of this entire mess as “Love Marriage”. What I mean is that in this case, you will find stories, each one eligible enough to give our quintessential Bollywood romances a run for their money. And sometimes, heavily inspired from them – couples having a huge age difference between them, couples from contrasting financial backgrounds (one super rich , and one poor), from different castes, different religions and sometimes a mixture of more than one reason and you know you have a spicy Love Marriage chaat at hand compared to the boring and predictable Arranged Marriage samosa.



A contrast in the kind of freedom people feel in AM v/s LM !!

People say the divorce rates are way higher in Love Marriages. Aren’t they bound to be? I mean, if you look at the kind of risks involved in an unstable chemical equation that a Love Marriage (LM) is, what with age gaps, financial constraints, caste and religion differences, break down is a truth, rather than a possibility. Whereas in an AM, all the possible risks are covered up at the first step. But this does not mean that LMs are bad and AMs good or vice versa. And as far as risk proofing is concerned, AMs aren’t all that fool proof. What with the girls of our generation being financially independent and not taking crap from anyone, divorce rates are pretty steep in this section too.

2) Head v/s Heart

Indulging in extreme behaviors. AM – all thought, no heart. LM – all heart, no thought. Why? 

It’s not necessary that everyone will/shall fall in love. So, if you are looking for a soul mate, instead of just check marking the usual parameters like caste, religion , height, weight, salary, try to find out more about his/her personality. And here, I believe that if the parents allow kids to meet a prospective groom/bride of their choice, they should also provide the kids an ample amount of time to take their decision. At least in India, it doesn’t happen like that. Nobody can judge a character in a couple of dates. I think this is one area where LM score over AM – Understanding your partner. In LM, since the partners have known each other for quite some time, understanding comes a bit easier.

The kind of proposal you might get in an AM!! 😛
While in a LM, the couple is kind of cocooned in their world where they have eyes only for each other, oblivious of parents or relatives and they might be misled to believe that Love conquers all. Sadly not for everyone. But while you are being all rosy eyed and believing that this world is nothing but a lovers’ playground for you, it is important to understand the fact that once a relationship becomes formal, it comes under the scanner of society, parents, friends and two sets of relatives. And that is the time when the actual pareeksha begins. And so even though you may have fallen in love with all your heart and your best intentions, it is very important to give it a thought with your pretty head too. And kind of question yourself if you will be able to take a downfall in the relationship (which is inevitable) with different kinds of expectations. We live in a society and can’t really live exclusively. 

These Relationship Basics are good to know in both cases.

3) Just Married 

This is the most blissful phase in both types of marriages. Starting a new life with your partner, where only you two are the cynosure of all eyes, gifts, parties, romance and honeymoon make one dreamy eyed and push them far from reality. But once all the excitement dies down, it’s a reality show. Couples in AM have a lot of catching up to do in terms of knowing each other likes and dislikes apart from getting acquainted to the whole new world of being married and all. On the other hand, LM couples finally heave a sigh of relief at having successfully made to the altar, but kind of realize that marriage and courtship are not really the same things. And so, a couple of months after marriage, everyone goes through different kind of struggles. And I think here parents and society play a very crucial role. 

I have seen instances here where parents and society adopt a dual nature. If it was an AM, they would advise their son/daughter to talk it out and reach a compromise, and sometimes even intervene in a positive way to make things better. But God forbid if it was a LM, they start blaming the son/daughter and “they always knew this was going to happen because he/she didn’t know bad from good”. Do you think that serves any purpose apart from putting additional pressure on the couple? The point here is that any kind of marriage requires some time to settle down with a partner and people and parents should understand and respect that.

4) A couple of years later….

All people change for good and bad with time. Sometimes people and their love for each other outgrows. This can happen in both kinds of marriages. Although chances are high of it happening in a LM because AM somehow takes care of a lot of aspects of your future beforehand. And also because couples in a LM have very high expectations from each other and when they don’t get fulfilled, they begin to question the love. But that doesn’t mean failures don’t happen in AM. May be just a little less than LM. 

Of the above analysis, I understand that AM are (statistically) more secure than a LM. And yet, why do people marry the one they love? In spite of knowing all the difficulties they might have to face and having heard the above from friends and family umpteen number of times, why do they still go ahead with it? I think that madness is called Love. People who have never experienced that kind of madness might never want to believe it and even rubbish it away as a mere hormonal rush. But only the people who have been in love know how magical it is. Its maddening enough to make people forget who they are, change them in ways they would never have imagined, and do things they may have never thought themselves capable of. And it is for this magical madness that people are ready to risk it all. And after all, if it doesn’t work out, they still have the satisfaction of knowing that they are solely responsible for their actions. For nothing do they say, “It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all”. And for what it’s worth, you can’t really blame your parents for a failed AM, because they had your best interests at heart! 

But the most important thing to remember is that any relationship (be it love or arranged) requires a lot of work for maintenance. Just in different ways. Love just doesn’t automatically stay in a LM nor is it automatically created in an AM. It has to be built, taken care of and nursed to enjoy its beauty always. And on a “bidding adieu” note, I would like to say again, “To each his own”. If you find true love, hold it tight. If you don’t, have faith. Your love story might just begin after you say “I do” 🙂
This post is my entry for the 

Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage




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*All images courtesy Google