Tuesday, July 2, 2013

On Arranged Marriages

Marriage is a just legal way of having sex and all those who're not capable of impressing a woman on their own, turn towards their parents who pick them up under the pretext of 'Arranged Marriage'. Harsh, prejudiced words, but how else do you start a debate unless you are an extremist yourself. To wake people out of their slumber and have them thinking, to either approve of a claim or retaliate, I need to make a statement. And that is what I want this piece to be- a catalyst to a much needed debate. I want people, some of them I know well, to think about the choices they are making. Why do I give a shit what someone's outlook towards arranged marriage is? Fair enough, but I'm on the verge of becoming a victim of the existing system and I want to fight it.

Why do people marry? The answers I often hear are:

1. Because my parents want me to ( this might actually seem funny but a majority of 23-25 year old heavily educated software employees who do almost everything which their parents disapprove of give me this )

2. Because everyone else is getting married ( this is more of a parental good cop-bad cop routine; one of the parents explains the virtues of marriage and the other pushes and prods by involving peer pressure )

3. Because it is the right thing and we would need someone's company in our old age ( my personal favourite: reminds me of those shitty pension plans which promise you a safe, happy retirement because you're busting your ass now to pay them )

4. Reproduction ( Kishore's the only guy I know blatant enough to say something like this; you want sex and your parents want a cute-grandson-toy to play with and show around )

Almost all the replies I have heard are variation of these four statements. Or, a personal affront: "You are too arrogant to understand this. You will know the day you grow old." What is that even supposed to mean? Why are you converting your shortcomings into a convenient escapist theory? How is it different from saying you do not believe in God because he has not yet bestowed your grace upon you?

"If you can't explain it to a six-year old, then you don't understand it yourself."
            -  Albert Einstein

Ok, since marriage as an institution is another debatable topic and not in the scope of this argument, we'll leave it for some other day. Lets just assume that you have had a happy marriage, your son/daughter wants to get married too because that for him/her is an ideal way to live a life. A personal choice and thus, indisputable.

Imagine you are parent of a 23 year old woman. She's educated, sophisticated, refined, good-looking, well-paid. You want to get her married- that is an action, a symptom. Lets look at the cause behind that action, the thought behind that manifestation. Usually, it is simply because you've grown up in an environment where a 23-year old unmarried woman is a burden and so, almost reflexively, you want to get her off your chest. Either because you think that is ideal, or because of your friends and colleagues and relatives who're getting their daughters married off or, rarely, because your daughter wants to get married herself. So, straight away we can draw a conclusion. That 23 being the ideal age is not God's will. It's a practise we've been following as a society because of reasons physiological, cultural, societal etc. 80-100 years ago, in the same province that we live in now, girls got married as young as 8-year olds. Apparently, the Nizam took any women he wished but with a single clause: he never touched married women. So, simply the need of the hour said that you want your daughter to escape the clutches of a womaniser, you got her married off young. We now look at Balika Vadhu and tut-tut simply because a 10-year old girl is getting married. How is that different from getting a 23-year old married off?

Both of them are arranged marriages, both of them have the support of Grahas and Stars ( I do not want to talk about the validity of Jyothishyam because I have no knowledge of it whatsoever but I personally know marriages that have failed despite the stars aligning perfectly ), in both cases parents think what they're doing is in the best interest of their daughter, in both cases so-called relatives and well-wishers play a huge part ( which is kind of funny because they're the ones who have the least to lose if it goes wrong ) and almost always, the daughter doesn't have much of a say.

Does overwhelming public acceptance make a thing right? Because if it doesn't, I cannot comprehend the immense stupidity of all these people who're walking into an arranged marriage or are prodding others to do the same. I'm digressing. So, yeah, the daughter is shown a photograph. The guy comes home. They talk in the presence of Elders. They're allowed to chat on Facebook and are asked for their responses in a week. Though recently I have heard of a marriage settled two days after they met each other for the first time. I have been a relationship more-or-less for six years and I still find my girl mysterious. Two fuckin' days. What the fuck are you supposed to feel? Vibes, divine voice, soul chemistry. How often is it that we haven't liked someone instantly but soon have realised how simply awesome they are. Or even the other way round. Extremely charming guys turn out to be backstabbing assholes as time passes. What is she supposed to know in 2 days? His likes, his interests, his ambitions. How does that tell me anything about the guy? And isn't it really similar to a job interview process which is so flawed. If you don't trust me, go around and look in Hitec city. Look at the unhappy, depressed Monday morning faces and ask them why they're working for a particular company. A huge majority will jump ship if someone else is paying them higher. Isn't a job supposed to be more about the process than the returns? When the work we do defines who we are and that is probably the one thing most people will know us as, shouldn't we be better equipped than to work for someone just because he bid me for higher than anyone else?

I'm digressing again. Ok, agreed, we can't know a person in 2 days. So, we look at his financial status, his job, where his father works and find more about the family from mutual friends. What does this tell me about the prospective groom? It helps me speculate of what he might be based on this angle. But any man is shaped by a million things and just because he is not really rich, doesn't work either in the Govt. or the Software industry, or his father's not-so-socially known, does all that translate into a bad guy? Which again brings me to the point of good guy vs bad guy. Everyone wants a good guy when what we should ideally be looking for is compatibility. You think your daughter's the sweetest, nicest, cutest woman in the world, like you have a right to, but you don't know her half as much her friends do and 90% as her boyfriend does. And it is not your fault most of the time. It is simply because friends are the only people in the world who identify a person what they exactly are. They are not forced to bear with someone because of a relation of blood or need or social structure. I know my friends most intimately because I walked into them without the burden of expectation. So, yes, maybe if friends picked up grooms rather than parents, we'd probably have more successful marriages. More so because a girl can look at her friends and ask why they're choosing a particular guy. And they're obliged to answer.

Which brings me to another idea of a successful, happy marriage. Isn't it close to defining a happy, successful life? Happy, according to who. Successful, by whose standards. What are the parents looking for in a groom so that their daughter might have a happy marriage? Are they themselves happy about their marriage for them to take up a responsibility to make someone else happy through marriage? What sort of a parent are you when your daughter trembles with fear just to come up to you and talk about a guy she likes? If you cannot have a sensible dialogue with your grown up daughter, who you think is too immature or too stupid to discuss such a serious topic, how the fuck can she be ready for marriage?

Does all this make love marriages better? See, again, we are looking for a single answer to all those complicated questions. A few years ago, tv9 went apeshit covering all love marriages on live television and standing by the decision of eloped youngsters. I'm pretty sure a lot of those marriages are not working too. It is not a question of doing the right thing. For almost everything in life, we act in a certain way with best intentions for our loved ones but end up making such a mess of it. I think it is because we don't communicate. We don't talk. We don't discuss. We don't question. We don't take up responsibility for our lives. I know this girl who is so scared to take up responsibility of her own life for the fear that she might ruin it, that she's simply nodding her head to whatever her parents have to say. If there is one person who knows best in the world, it is herself and if she can't back herself up to stand by her actions, isn't she letting life go without living it? She won't end up with a guy who loves her because it might fail and her parents might hate it but she's ready to walk into a lifeless marriage because when it fails, she can still guilt trip her parents and she won't have to take up any blame.

What exactly is a parent's love? Is it letting your son/ daughter live a life of his/ her own choices and you are there to guide them? Or does it mean you decide for them everything that they have to do because you are standing on the higher pedestal of experience and that you tell them you want only the best for them? Do we, as a society, have a right attributing children's successes or failures to their parents?

I'll finish off now but I want to talk about this. Please leave your views as comments because I know what I'm saying is not 100% right but we'll end up being better people by discussing and looking at things from different perspectives. But before I leave, I'll tell you a true story. I know this man who's daughter eloped four years ago. She married someone in the US and he hasn't spoken to her since that day. Not even when his grandson was born. He has a right to be deeply hurt. But what surprises me is that despite knowing how happy she's with the man of her choice, he still doesn't talk to her. And I realised it one day, when in the middle of another topic, he spoke about how he always wanted get her married so grandly, how he wanted to invite all this friends and colleagues and show them what a mighty son-in-law he managed to rope in etc. that it was never about the woman. Don't get me wrong. It was about his daughter and himself. He wanted the best for his daughter and he wanted to give the best himself but he never really knew the woman. His choice of a groom would have been based on giving the best to his daughter, but not how that man was going to be with this woman. It wasn't his fault. He didn't know any better. Just like my idea of my mother as a mother overshadows almost my idea of the woman she is. But luckily, I don't pretend that I know her best and don't take decisions on her behalf.

If only we'd talk, wouldn't the world be so much of a better place.


Sai Kishore Bandaru said...

I completely agree to the point what i said .........and to add to it .......men are just like products in the arranged marriage...........you are like an iphone if you are an iit or iim pass out, having greater chances marrying a girl otherwise just some china piece which nobody cares unless there is no option.(no matter how good you are and look).

sirish aditya said...

correct. i completely overlooked that aspect.. of matrimonial searches and marriagable attributes..

Anonymous said...

The question of why do people marry is as valid as the question why do you have a girlfriend. Like you said, people who cannot impress girls on their own turn to parents to fix them up a marriage, as they need a partner as much as you need your girlfriend. Well, apart from that. What are you supporting here? Arranged marriage vs Love marriage or Marriage or single?

And let's face it macha, whatever we discuss, the society will stay the same. The maximum we could do is, better ourselves by thinking practically. And if we quote all the "how can we marry a person who we spoke for 2 days" shit, they will answer with a single word, culture. It's been our culture that way. I'd continue the discussion. Soon. Need to read deeper into it.

sirish aditya said...

Well, I have to concede to the first point. Maybe we have a league of really nice men and women who are shy or introverted and who've never managed to find partners. That doesn't make them bad guys. And I agree, they are in need of partners but are arranged marriages the solution?

But with the second point, I have a problem. What is the society? You, me and a few others. I don't believe in changing the entire society. If a idea has weight, and if it is propagated and discussed by a few men, sooner or later, it'll seep into public consciousness. And who are "they". Let them come down here, we'll talk and decide.

Anonymous said...

Nicely written. I like the fact that you took a dig at everything from marriage to parenting to astrology. :D But I think you've missed an important point. A big reason why people continue with (or rather will not let go off!) arranged marriages is because it seeks to perpetuate that most deplorable practice - the caste system. One need only look at the matrimonial ads in newspapers and websites to get a sense of how deep-rooted our caste beliefs still are. Forget accepting love, we're not getting anywhere until we respect each other as human beings. Inter-caste marriages FTW, really.

sirish aditya said...

yea, true. caste is such a deeply entrenched practise in this country. maybe it all started off for a higher purpose but the way people have used it to suit their needs is deplorable.

well, maybe actually, i should just sue shaadi.com ;)

Unknown said...

Hello Sirish

Truth be told first. I did NOT read your blog completely. I read it till the point where you have quoted as what you feel the four reasons why a boy marries a girl.

To tell you the fact , in Hinduism ( I cant speak for other religions since I have absolutely no info regarding others ) marriage is performed for none of the reasons that you have specified .

Marriage is a divine act which takes one from Bramhacharya to Gruhasthuashrama. Once you get married you earn a right to perform various vrathas/pujas/yagnas for the peace and well being of everybody. Our saints very well knew that we are all human beings and all have certain biological needs to be full filled. So what they did was to tie up a biological need to " Dharma ". Everything comes at a price. You cannot have everything in the world without any responsibility.

I believe in arranged marriage. I also believe in marrying the girl from my caste. I dont think thats a crime (:-P) and I dont know why people are so ashamed to say that I would marry a girl only from my caste .I am not being a castist by saying so. The democracy which gives anyone the right to marry anyone in India is the same for me too (:-O) At the same time I would respect my friends decision if he were to marry outside the caste or if he were to go ahead with a love marriage. A person who says he wants to marry in his caste is not necessarily Adolf Hitler trying to exterminate everybody else :-P :-)

What I feel is be it arranged or love marriage, its totally a personal choice. One cant have a debate a rule out that one is wrong and another isnt

What do you say ?

Anonymous said...

I guess matrimonial s are just a replica of people's mind.....................the moment you bring society into picture there comes the caste,culture,status etc.....we are just hardcoded versions ........we talk about age difference ....the reason being the girl will have some respect and afraid of saying something to her husband ...........What does this mean?.......

Anonymous said...

To do vrathas,yagnas,pujas for the the welfare of everybody we ask two strangers who are not comfortable with themselves to get married. We get them married in front of huge crowd who never thinks of their welfare after the marriage and remembers the quality of food and stuff we provide.

Sai Kishore Bandaru said...

I agree that we do marriage for welfare,yagnas,pujas etc. And there is nothing wrong in marrying a man or woman of same caste.
But will there be any arranged marriage happening if the boy or girl says we dont want to have sex after marriage and we do pujas, yagnas or some thing to uplift the society ??????????

Amogha said...

While I agree that arranged marriages as they are today do suck, but you have to factor in the kind of culture you were raised in/ part of.
As a girl, you grow up being told to be timid and understanding. Even as a guy, who learn to adjust. This behavior can commonly be seen in trains! Adjust karo please, and thinking of it, is it so bad? To give up your hopes and dreams because you have to adjust, yeah that's bad. But otherwise, if done in moderation, I don't see why it's bad. Wouldn't this world be a better place if all of us thought a little more about others?
And that's what I think arranged marriage boils down to, to care and be cared for by someone else. And you talk about love marriages, I look at my friends and I'm not sure they know what love is, not that I know it. I only know that you don't start dating by "proposing" or that you DO NOT FALL IN LOVE at first sight. They seem foolish to me. So consider this situation, if a sensible guy/girl at a sensible age i.e. they've seen the world through their eyes, get to know each other, make a decision to give each other a shot, whats so wrong with it? It's their choice.
Agreed this is not how the world works, but that's because we've twisted it.
Also, just from the parents point of view, they look for someone from a similar background because you'd adjust better there. After being thrown into a whole new culture, you appreciate and miss your own.
Guess my rant is as big as yours!

Anonymous said...

Of course you have personal choice. It's not a crime to want to marry a girl from your caste, but you *are* being casteist. And if knowing that you are following a system that divides people based on their birth (you respect personal choice, don't you?), oppresses one section of society, strips them of their dignity, and keeps them forever from progressing just because they were BORN INTO their caste DOES NOT make you feel ashamed, you need to do some serious thinking. When someone says they are "proud of their caste" it smacks of ignorance and class privilege. What are they proud of? For being born into that caste *by accident*? How selfish and insensitive that sounds to the people for whom it is a curse to be born into their caste! Casteism is a reality that still exists, a social evil that is pulling our country down. We cannot ignore it, and the sooner we dilute it, the better. As you say, we can't shirk our responsibilities, can we?

Anonymous said...

^reply to Rajashekhar Rao Baru

sirish aditya said...

I wish you'd have read the entire post before you commented. Anywy, about the points you made:

1. Do any of us really do it because of Dharma and for yagnas and stuff? I have never met anyone who'd marry for those above reasons. And if someone were like that, they'd be doing everything according to dharma and the world would be so much of a better place for it. I think culture and religion, when used in cases such as these, are more about attempts at escapism from facing the tough questions.

2. Why did this discussion turn into one about inter-caste marriages? I was simply questioning the role and responsibility of the parents and their children in the case of marriage.

sirish aditya said...

I know who you are ;). We've spoken about this before.
And I agree, we are still following the same old rules that were made hundreds of years ago just because we are too lazy to question them. We are shaped by thousands of factors that our parents never knew of and that is probably why, despite their best intentions, they do not truly understand our plight.

sirish aditya said...

Amogha, maa, this is not question of one being better over the other. We live in a very complicated world where there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. But then we raise ours children by emulating others, we educate them in certain ways by emulating others, and eventually, get them married off by emulating others. If only people realise that every situation is unique and discussed about it, it'd be easier for parents and children.

Wouldn't it?

sirish aditya said...

I love it when you say that we don't have to be proud of being born into a certain case because it was never our choice. But isn't it true for everything in life? We are what we are because of the way we've been brought up, the environment we grew up in, the people we meet, which again is a culmination of where and to who we were born. So, maybe, like you point out, we don't have a right being proud of anything simply because we haven't done any of those things and only those things have happened to us. Love this view.

Like I haven't started this discussion, maybe the society around me has forced me into doing it.

Anonymous said...

Good write up buddy... agreecwid u on the line of hw ppl fear consequences nd wait to push the blame if something goes wrng..nd yes caste system is deeply rooted ..as they say the only way to tackle this is to start charity at home and wait for the larger crowd to change

Anonymous said...

First of all, this article touches lots of things by starting with whether the love marriage or arranged marriages then need for marriages and also being biased by sticking to the single culture and not ever mentioning that is what is speaking of, then comparing it to the software jobs where people are ready to flyoff to another job because of better salary.

Let's start with its starting point of love marriage or arranged marriage for at and around the society of Hyderabad. It is
certainly true that being from the last generation our parents want us to get arranged marriage. However, being in this rapidly changing culture with the high number of opportunities that our parents never even thought of even in their dreams, we certainly think love marriages are better where you have the better opportunity of knowing a person better. (Then there is your own argument of mysterious mind of a women, also a woman might be thinking the same way). So, the bottom line is
this issue is something that can not be generalized, it is highly individual and case by case basis as you mentioned in your blog later on by taking few examples. Not only the topic of marriage, there are hundreds of things that we do not accept with our parents views and there are variety of things the last generation ideas won't be applicable anymore.

The challenge remains with all these complications is, how do we best manage and handle the things by not hurting our parents emotions and as well as find a better solution and at the same time answer our won mind about being compromised. This particular success is totally different from how successful you were in your studies, career or how better job you were able to find. Because the career is up to you as a single person, however when it comes marriage or relationship it is up to two people supporting each other to manage this sensitive situation. Let's not forget, for different reasons (love or arranged, same caste or not, poor or rich, high maintenance or not, combined family or not etc.) this sensitive situation arises in all kind of societies, financial levels and extent of their liberal thoughts. If you want to live away from all of these, run away from the human society.

Coming to your next topic people turning to their parents to find a girl for them instead of finding love by themselves.

When you come to this topic it is not really a black and white thing. For example, in the posh societies like in USA, even you ended up with somebody by a recommendation by parents it is considered arranged marriage. Then again, even if you find somebody at a bar or a party, how many people are ending up living together for years and never getting confident enough to marry each other. Similarly, a great foot ball player "Aaron Rodgers" (Green bay Packers, quarter back) is accused of being timid because he is dating a hometown girl. Then again how many people are happy about the relationship between Kim Kardashian with Kanye West. How this situation of turning to your parents for a girl is different from asking money for your donation seat in an engineering collage or a friend's recommendation at a software company for a job. Then again, just because somebody had a better opportunity of graduating from a better college or school, they are being offered jobs in big companies. Do those big name companies think that people from small schools are not good enough for them. This girl or a boy
who has denied for this distinction, might realize the flaw in her selection later in her life when you end up starting your own company and become more successful than an employee in a big company. Once again, it is not about what is the way you chose rather than how best you can do and how happy you are with the path you chose. It is a struggle not going to end in a single day.

Anonymous said...

Coming to the importance of marriage, the concept of finding a mate started from the day when protozoans evolved from asexual to sexual reproduction. Being a highly intellectual soul, humans decided to become monogamous and name it as marriage. Then again, there are monogamous animals and at the same time, multi-marriage accepting human cultures where even the courts accept it. Some people in western societies argue that the only reason that they married because they needed paper work. That is one of the reasons the gay couples are fighting with government for their legal marital rights such as shared insurance and other things. In a way, over time our society made it a thing of "licensed sex" or legal way of having sex. It only happened because several fatal consequences that are happening without it. Diseases such as AIDS wouldn't even exist if the whole world followed the same discipline. Then again what is wrong with thinking of having a mate in the old-age, or being proud of our kids. In the whole universe every single living creature/animal is proud of their off-spring, takes pride in their success. However, when it reaches to the extents of expectations such as putting the price tag by demands of dowry make it highly despicable.

Speaking of social acceptance, as long as we admire a movie hero for his heroic actions and success, as long as we consider a IIT/EAMCET ranker more successful person or a career oriented success as the whole fulfillment of life or person who had a supporting wife, nobody has any right to comment about social acceptance. Social acceptance is something it has its own advantages and disadvantages. If we want to continue living in this society, you have to live it by its rules. You accept the disadvantages with the same cheerful face as you accept the advantages. Flying off for a better paying job is shouldn't ever be applicable anology for marriage, by which means humans were considered highly intellectual. By the other way, there is not difference between human and animal. Even in the job market, when the companies reach a saturation point, they would also certainly look at your track record how committed you were in a job. Only because of a high demand for human resources they are not being worried about that otherwise in other fields, one of the main question of an hiring manager is why a person want to change his jobs and Whatever he is looking for in the new job can he provide them. Those people, in hi-tec city only feeling bad about their own positions because there are other options available. If they can't find happiness in the current job, what is the guarantee that they will like everything about the other job. Life is not a served plate that you can choose the things you are comfortable with.

sirish aditya said...

To counter your first statement, the article meanders so much simply because its author never understood why some people compartmentalise things; everything in our lives affects everything else and so two seemingly mutually exclusive events do not exist. What we are like in one aspect affects everything else. Similarly, you say studies, job, marriage are different things, I beg to differ. You are shaped by everything you encounter and so what I am like as a student, an employee is pretty much how I'll be like an husband. Because essentially, it is the same person playing all these roles.

I agree with what you are trying to say that they are not simply B/W issues. And also that these problems do not have a single solution but more or less have to be custom-built for the individual by himself. My quest here is not to provide answers but ask why we don't ask questions.

sirish aditya said...

I do not think we are intellectuals by any measure. We are as much animals as any other and we are equally shaped by need and habit. It is simply we humans who consider ourselves intelligent; maybe right now, a bunch of apes are hanging off trees and laughing their asses off at our stupidity. Just because animals don't pass the intelligent tests we created, doesn't make them stupid. Just different. But yes it seems that like an animal strives for food and pleasure, or like a plant turns towards the sun for nourishment, we, humans, seem to have gotten over them and are striving for meaning, for a higher truth, trying to find a pattern and reason for our existence. For all we know, the universe might not be teleological. Or maybe we don't exist in reality and are creatures in a donkey's dream. Who knows. I'm digressing again and I know you do not appreciate that ;).

But here is what I have to say to sum things up: I do not consider myself competent enough in any respect to guide people, or to give them answers, or to question beliefs. I simply am a curious chap who's surprised at how people seem to treat authority (read existing beliefs and practices) wish such respect. All that you said might be right but if it is, it should stand my inquisitiveness. And if it is not (like people consider some things sacrosanct : The sanctity of marriage, the idea of Dharma etc), I should be let to my own devices to follow them or not..

Deekshith Vemuganti said...

That, my friend, provoked a lot of reaction but I, as a friend, who spoke to you few hours ago didn't know that you spoke about this vast issue a couple a days earlier.

What has happened, bud? Are the happenings on personal end pushing you off the cliff to fall into the bottomless pit called Society and smudge yourself with dust?

But, the post's intensity is unmatched to all that of yours which managed to get etched onto this blog. And me, struggling to make a stand for myself in this regard - I dare not express my version. LOL.

If its something personal, It Too Shall Pass

Anonymous said...

I haven't read all the comments, so this point might be elsewhere too. I'm going to argue that a certain kind of arranged marriage might not be as bad as you think it is.

One point you overlooked is that finding a life partner by yourself is possible only when the following factors all come together:
1. You need time out from your work and hobbies to actually look for a partner. (Of course, your work or hobbies could actually help you find your partner as well, but I feel this is a valid point nonetheless)
2. There should actually exist a compatible girl in your (extended) circles.
3. Both should be interested in the other person.

I will now talk from the perspective of a guy just for simplicity's sake, but the discussion itself is gender-neutral.

Now, this is a combination that seems very difficult to achieve. If one is hell bent on not going the arranged marriage way, he might end up with a suboptimal life partner because he will somehow try to fit his expectations onto a girl in his social circles. Instead, if he is more open to an arranged marriage and his parents are forward looking, he can convey his desired attributes to his parents, who will also look in their social circles. Once a suitable girl (suitable = one satisfying the attributes the guy has communicated) has been found, they get to know each other for a period of a few weeks to a few months perhaps during which time they decide whether to go ahead. What this achieves in essence is a larger social circle and a larger sample of girls in your search.

How easy it is to communicate your expectations, to find a suitable girl etc. are all definitely fuzzy. But I tend to see this more as an arranged dating service for people who are too busy or too picky to date from their own social circles. Now, I am neither of marriageable age nor have any first/second hand experience. But I hear (from quora and some experiences in my family circles) that this is where the arranged marriage system is heading. And to me, it makes sense (if not as a primary option, as a last resort).

- Vikram (from St. Joesph's. We haven't spoken in a long time, Aditya. How're you?)

sirish aditya said...

I'll start my answer with where you ended yours. A last resort? To what? Why do you (read anyone) have to be hellbent on getting married?
And no, I'm not against Arranged Marriage, but am simply questioning its basis and purpose.

Though one thing you mentioned doesn't make sense to me- How is it that when you cannot find for yourself a woman in your social circles (which inherently means people similar to you and those you've chosen to be a part of your social life), how is it that your parents can find you someone you'll like?

And you talk about expectations like you are buying off a refrigerator. If someone conducts a national survey about 'A man's expectation from his prospective bride' and asks for a list of qualities, which qualities do you think will be the most repeated: Beautiful, family-loving, educated, cheerful etc. Does any of that shit even make sense? People are not just a bunch of qualities, the are much more than that, and you'll know about them only when you've spend a considerable amount of time with them.

Won't your girl change after you get married to her? Will you like her then? Valid questions. But then, since you've spent so much time before marriage together, and survived all that despite not having to, you'll be much better equipped to have a successful (whatever that means) marriage.

And despite what people seem to be thinking, I am not against or for Arranged Marriages. I want to know the purpose of a marriage and how different it is from a 'live-in relationship'. Some people have told me that since marriage has a proof and everyone knows about it, people would find it hard to break out of it. Well, if you are in a relationship just because you are scared of public consensus or you need a thread around her neck to remind you of your love, god bless you.

Anonymous said...

Ah. Well, let us first assume that marriage is your goal. I'll come to my view on why marriages are needed later.

So, if your goal is to get married to a compatible girl, then "beautiful, family-loving, educated, cheerful" hardly help you narrow down the from the millions of girls in the world - to those who think that's a good way of doing things, good luck with that. When I said qualities, I meant something way more specific, like "someone who likes novels and movies of kind, whose views on are similar to mine perhaps, who's flexible to and is willing to think about opinions which might conflict with her own, who likes because of ".

Now, getting to know these things takes time, which is why the only kind of arranged marriage I endorsed is the kind where you take months to figure these things out. Also, you say "people are not just a bunch of qualities". I agree, but if you think abstractly, whatever be the manner people pair up by (arranged/dating etc.) you're looking to maximise compatibility with you. When you're going to be spending the next 40+ years talking to someone, compatibility matters more than "beautiful, cheerful etc." imo, because when life has its ups and downs, everyone's going to have a bad day. Everyone's going to have wrinkles and diabetes and what not. But compatibility in more fundamental than that, it will never change. And to judge compatibility objectively and not be blinded by someone's physical beauty or whatever, you need to think in terms of qualities.

To answer "How is it that when you cannot find for yourself a woman in your social circles (which inherently means people similar to you and those you've chosen to be a part of your social life), how is it that your parents can find you someone you'll like?", I'll give you a rather stupid analogy, but it serves to explain the problem. All numbers are for illustration only - please don't question the numbers. For simplicity, assume that social circles are haystacks and people are needles. And there exist 10 girls in the entire world who you are compatible with. Your social circle is haystack number 3. Assume that none of the 10 aforementioned girls are in haystack number 3. What do you do? Try to look in more haystacks? What do you do if your friends' haystacks also don't contain any of those 10 girls? Look in your parents' haystack. Simple.

Your question seemed to imply that it is a prestige issue that you find for yourself a compatible girl. I think that the process of finding that compatible girl involves factors totally beyond your influence and that if you are unable to do so, it is only because you're not looking at the right place and not because you're inherently incapable or handicapped or inferior in some way.

Also, your last-but-one para seems to imply that I would prefer an arranged marriage over getting married to someone I know well and have "survived things" with. To clarify, nope. That is not at all what I said. What I said was that arranged marriages, done in a _certain way_ (involving months of getting to know), are good for _certain kinds_ of people, who wish (for whatever reasons they have) to examine a larger circle of women other than their own extended circles before making such an important decision as a 40+-year companionship.

Again, I repeat that I have no experience whatsoever. All these views are the conclusions of my own thoughts and discussions with people. Nothing has been tested except in thought-experiments.

Anonymous said...

Also, to answer your question on why marriages are necessary, I think it is more to do with kids. To give kids a complete upbringing, it is essential that both parents are together and that there is a family system in place. To ensure that this happens, some binding agreement (legal/social) is necessary to approve of a relationship. That is essentially what a marriage is.

This assumes that people want to have kids. Now, if that is not the case, a marriage is still needed because it puts more responsibility on the two partners to be together during the ups and downs etc.. As ethologist RIchard Dawkins says in one of his books, different kinds of loves can be shared. For example, sibling love (many siblings), parental love (two parents - many kids). But romantic love is something that you will want to have with only one person - you will be protective and all that. It's a primal instinct. To make sure that this is facilitated, society evolved in a way that led to a long term single-mate setup aka marriage.

Vikram said...

Well, if I'm putting so many of my views up, I might as well be non-anon. :)

Vikram said...

This part didn't show up properly in the above comment, so repeating:
"someone who likes novels and movies of (insert some adjective) kind, whose views on (insert issues) are similar to mine perhaps, who's flexible to and is willing to think about opinions which might conflict with her own, who likes (insert hobby etc.) because of (insert reasons which you respect) etc.".

sirish aditya said...

What you're basically trying to do is try to match keyword pairs and call two people who have a perfect match as soulmates. Well, more or less. And about Dawkin's observations about love ( I have not come across that theory ) but this is the same man who is a proponent of the Gene theory which says that what we are is not because of a series of choices but more or less because we're trying to achieve stable combinations through trial and error. Now, that would lead us back to Daniel Dennett's theories of Free Will and if we really have an option not thinking the way we are. But I personally do not endorse that theory because then we would blame everything on genes.

Now, why I digressed into that is because you treat compatibility like an algorithm. I trust in instinct and intuition and that when we let ourselves free, we are more or less guided to where we have to be because of our experiences, and in turn find our perfect partners.

Vikram said...

Yup. To each their own methods.

Also, Dawkins' explanation of marriage makes sense to me, so I would give it credit irrespective of what his other theories are.

Anonymous said...

ROFL and LMAO..."I'm on the verge of becoming a victim of the existing system and I want to fight it." - Shyam Avvari

the novice chef said...

indian society in general is prejudiced. if you try reasoning with it, it blackmails you, you dont follow its rules, it makes you feel low like muck on the road. no doubt rules are to be followed but they are to be mended accordingly(with changing times) , with out changing the essence or the core of the rule. Our society doesnt get that. they get peeved and say we are westernizing and ignoring traditional values.

you in the last para mentioned the case of father who doesnt talk to his daughter because she went against his wishes. the guy is frightened. what if the girl leaves the guy some time in near future. and yea the ego! cant ignore that!

doesnt matter whether it is a arranged or love marriage - marriage is a messy institution.it scares the shit out of you. intimidates you so damn badly that you cant do anything but stare at walls and ceiling. if you invest too much or read too much into it, you end up with heart break - doesnt matter if your partner is a real good guy in the truest sense ,whether you know him for 2 days or your whole life. you try talking to your parents, they give a smile and pat your back

there is nothing called happily ever after in marriages. as long as you put your shit together, maintain a level head, dont invest all of your emotions, stay practical your happy in your marriage. love doesnt last long. only thing which ensures a marriage a long life line is - mutual respect and friendship. if that is absent then the whole thing is a complete wash out.

sirish aditya said...

"the guy is frightened. what if the girl leaves the guy some time in near future. "- what if she leaves the arranged marriage guy?

"the ego! cant ignore that!"- my point exactly when i said, "not THE woman but YOUR daughter"

and yes, i agree to what you say about love. love is fleeting, its like inspiration that's infrequent and unpredictable but full of passion. what keeps two people together is respect and friendship.
very true words.

Anonymous said...

When we are talking about two individuals why does social acceptance come into picture

Sai Kishore Bandaru said...

I totally agree to your point "only thing which ensures a marriage a long life line is - mutual respect and friendship"

the novice chef said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the novice chef said...

what if she leaves the arranged marriage guy?

its a moot question. doesnt matter whether arranged marriage or love or the girl leaving the groom or vice versa. the blame is always on the girl. easy prey. guilty even if proved otherwise

the novice chef said...

void question*

sirish aditya said...

Whoa, Feminism 101 ;)

More often than not, yes. But we are assuming such chauvinistic gits wouldn't even go past the first two paragraphs of this article. So, for all those concerned here, it's not a question of whose fault but, quite simply, why and if it was worth it.

uday v said...

very nicely written.every point mentioned is correct. i cant comment on any point in specific but all i would say is don't marry a guy/girl blindly.