There never has been enough clarity on why marriages are a big buzz in India and the latest addition on Netflix portraying “arranged marriages” adds more to this confusion. I hated the show (although I was glued to it over last weekend, watching all its juicy episodes). So, writing this post now, feels more like redemption! 😎
To start with, there are three kinds of marriages (in India)
1 Love Marriage This is a no brainer. You choose a companion, whom you think you can bear for the rest of your life. You decide to marry. Family succumbs. They pay for your grand ceremony. Hola! you get married! OR (sometimes) Family disagrees. Then, you chuck family. Marry in court. Hola! you get married.
Note : Family is an unavoidable institution in the event of marriage. (notably, parents)
2. Love but arranged marriage : This is a slightly complex version as the family has a “say” in this whole affair. (they’ve tamed you enough, so you keep them in loop). You find a partner, whom you think you love. You decide to get married. But then comes the “real” decision. Your family opts to exercise their veto, denying your choice of companion.
You beg so they succumb. and you get married. (don’t get me wrong, but this is a highway to expectations. You are better off without it 😎 ).
You may as well accept the overruling (resolving to make their lives miserable 😈 ). You raise the bar of your expectations and make them the owner of your marriage conundrum. 😛 This basically moves the whole affair to the third category of marriages.
Note : If no one interferes with your marriage decision, perhaps you should be skeptical. Either they trust you (on surface!) or they are dodging you away (& your future responsibility).
3. Arranged marriage – If you’ve failed the above two options, then this becomes your default choice. Arranged marriages are the “Indian version of Tinder” The difference being, not only you but your whole family is scrolling through the profiles of your prospect companion.) Since, you’ve given up on finding love, the responsibility is now delegated. 😛 . Your parents jump into action, putting their best brains into ” Mission marriage.”
Expectations from prospect partner get exponentially multiplied. The distant future is evaluated with an obsession of being practical. Education, Salary, Prospect of kids, Genes, Hereditary diseases, adaptability index and whatever the heck are your preferences, become critical. Years pass and you find no one.
Slowly, you start crossing off items from your holy list of expectations. (until you become desperate enough to get rid of this whole affair). Just then, you find that perfect someone. You feel grateful to eternity and fall in love.(after marriage!)
Now that you know about the kinds of marriages in India, you might as well have some follow up questions. (Shoot em! Errr….don’t watch those Television shows. They are made to entertain , not to educate! ). You might as well refer to below FAQ (I had ample time this weekend to put them together 😛 ). I hope they nip the curiosity in bud!. 😎
Why is marriage so important in India?
It is more than just an event in your life. It is a way of living. A permanent companionship in the form of marriage is deemed critical for a happy life.
So, what if you don’t marry?
You are basically unhappy. (or at least they think you are). They won’t stop chasing you until you’ve reached far beyond that “suitable age”.
What is meant by suitable age?
Life is a timetable. (almost) and everything therefore must happen at a given time. That’s the philosophy behind this term. Considering, you have a plan for kids after marriage(& then you’d need to be fertile), an appropriate age is decided.
26 – 28 (suitable age), 29-30 (borderline worried), 30+ (desperate)
Why do Indians have Grand weddings?
Well, this is misconception. Not all Indian weddings are grand. (although, a massive chunk of savings are put into it). The guest list can vary anywhere from 100 to 1000 (or perhaps more.). It really depends on how much the parents are willing to spend and how much of social status (or association) comes from the marriage. Another reason for marriages being magnificent is coz those who marry rarely spend. Ask them to sponsor their own wedding and see how the whole event downsizes!
Do they have good food in the wedding?
Food is the next piece of attraction (after bride and groom). Although, not all weddings have great food. It really depends on the budget of the wedding, the catering company and their performance on the day of wedding! (which can largely vary depending on the guest count). So, if you’re travelling solely to indulge in food, I suggest you plan an alternative itinerary.
Why are the families so involved?
What else do you expect? Those who spend have a say. You don’t go to a restaurant to just pay the bill. (You choose what you like). So, families get involved. (in some way or the other, irrespective of the kind of marriage). Another reason is the institution of family itself, which is deemed sacred right from the childhood.
Are there astrologers involved?
Depends. (yes, if either of the family is a strong believer). But usually it is a must for all “arranged marriages”. Even if you don’t believe in astrology, you wouldn’t like to step into something which is marked to blow off.
Is a matchmaker involved?
Rarely. We have the internet. There are umpteen matchmaking websites. (Indian versions of tinder), magazines and newspaper that offer services to hunt “desired” prospect. If you don’t trust these mediums, you spread the word around your acquaintances. They might as well set you up with someone.
Why is the divorce rate so low ?
I can think of three reasons to this. 1. Clearly, finding a partner via arranged marriage is a pain in a**. Why would you do it again? So, the best way is to not disrupt the existing.
2. Families get involved. Which means, you are not only divorcing the partner, but you are also divorcing the family. (this isn’t easy, considering the plethora of opinions involved)
3. Legal system demotes it. You can’t just file for a divorce and expect to get separated in couple of weeks. It is a lengthy procedure and takes at least a year ( or more, by when you might as well change your plan).
[If you are married to your love, I assume you live happily after. If not, points 2 and 3 still stay valid. ]
How reliable is this information?
The views (where any) expressed in this post are solely my own. (I don’t say they are any wiser than the existing others.) Let your own judgement prevail .
© Copyright 2020. Megha Gupta. All rights reserved.