Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Of Marriages and Matrimony

There comes a time in our lives, when driven by a primal instinct instinct of raging hormones, tepid insecurity and the wanton need for company, we begin searching for the one person we wish to spend the rest of our lives with.
Every culture, species and civilization on this earth has devoted immense time and energy for the sole purpose of "settling down" with that special someone.
Mating calls by birds, dances of death by scorpions and the whiff of charged pheromones in the air by other mammals, signal the beginning of a most satisfying encounter, fulfilling the evolutionary need to meet, mate and propagate.
The same goes for us humans as well.
But humans given the evolutionary right of being a complex species, have established their own complex mating rituals.
And it has changed through centuries of trial and error, raging from shy glances by the women whilst watching their knights duel one another, to applying enough make up akin to the war paint of a tribal amazon and lust after a hunky male gyrating sensuously on the dance floor.
Somehow though, evolution has little meaning in a particular south Asian nation, where marriages are "arranged" and meetings between the two chosen candidates are closely scrutinized by their overbearing caregivers.
And India being the fabled nation of the IT boom, the arranged marriage scenario has taken a 21st century avatar spawning a slew of websites devoted to finding your one true arranged partner.
Pretty much like an adult dating site, except with the auspicious blessings of your parents, grandparents and family astrologer.
And to make sure, one isn't left behind on the tides of change, yours truly has been inculcated into the matrimony mayhem.
At first, it seemed pretty much like a social networking site. With your profile pics and self praising taglines and online chat worthy members.
Except the fact that its a much sadder version of a dating site.
Guys with profile pics akin to the passport sized photos one uses for a driving license or an office resume. And the ladies dressed up in their Sunday best, hair in place and smiling eerily as if held hostage by a demented stalker.
But its the self advertisement that gets you.
Its no small wonder that the telegram has survived in India to this date. Indians seem to be men of few words and frankly their profiles speak for themselves.
For the  guys its "Hardworking, honest, and clean habits",  for the girls, its "sweet, homely and fair complexion".
Now if that doesn't ignite the ravenous passions in you, I don't know what will.
The next part involves praising your skills.
Guys aren't meant to have skills in the Indian marriage market.
They're meant to have jobs and degrees and hefty paycheck. The more degrees and the moolah, the better your chances of landing a fair skinned, homely damsel with the cooking skills of a star chef.
Degrees don't matter to the women though.
Its imperative for them to be homely and good looking. And having any extra ability to sing or dance or knit is an absolute plus. Probably she can entertain her industrious well educated husband as he feasts on her chicken tikka masala wearing the home spun sweater she knitted, nursing a glass of chardonnay, as she sings and gyrates rapturously to the latest Bollywood number.

Least thats what I can imagine. Else why would you brag about your "skills" in the first place?
Not to mention all this is possible only with the blessings of your family astrologer.
God forbid if your charts are askew. It can only spell doom for you arranged life of marital bliss.
Most of the instant responses I've gotten are simply on account of me being a doctor.
Doctors and engineers are apparently prized highly on the market.
Somehow its ludicrous how ecstatic people can become when they land up a doctor groom. Even if he's probably a delusional maniac. Its the degree that counts. Not the personality.
This is literally what contemporary Indian society has come to.
A shallow paltry commune of petty pretentious people with preposterous preconceptions.
I cannot imagine what genuine affection can possibly exist in a match made solely on the basis of monetary success and homemaking skills.
Such "alliances" are an affront to the very idea of genuine affection.
In the quest for looking for a "decent bride or groom" people have grossly overlooked the very essence of humanity.

Even Indian mythologies have stories of being smitten by love at first sight, runaway marriages and tales of affection and longing. I don't recall a single epic with any arranged marriage involved.
There is nothing traditional in a system that defies basic human convention.
And there is nothing traditional about a system that overlooks the basics of character and focuses solely on the superficial trivialities of  your job or your cooking skills.
Moreover in hindsight,  marriage is a journey. One that you make through all the ups and downs with your partner for life.
Getting an instantly successful husband without ever being a part of his struggle is woefully indicative of how trivial the relationship is going to be.
Its not something I'd ever want to be in.
Or for that matter anyone ought to be in.
Its about time that people reminded themselves what marriages are all about.
And hopefully bask again in genuine warmth and affection.
To quote Oscar Wilde, "You don't love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear."

24 comments:

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

Nicely written :-)

aarti raman said...

i can truly relate to you vyazzziiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!

saumya said...

very true. though not completely applicable to us. i would like to write a female version of this soon.

Anonymous said...

Till a few decades back most marriages in India were arranged where most of the times the bride and groom did not even see each-other, leave alone know and like each-other. Can we really say that those marriages were any less happy or successful than the love marriages of more recent times ?

Also, to my mind , the marriage portals are merely an opportunity to just get to find out who may be likely suitable matches and have a possible match list. This has become necessary since today we are truly global. I am sure, no parent, worth being called that, would really marry their daughter to a guy just because he has a big degree or makes loads of money without really checking out all possible facts about the guy. And, I am sure , so will the guys parents'.

I agree though that most of the adds paint the girls the same way as has been shown. But then, is it not the same in marriages arranged other than the help of portals ?

So far as the success or failure of a marriage is concerned , whatever may be the way in which the alliance is made, it is , at best, an informed risk we take and hope for the best.

aarti raman said...

want to know from where you get these wonderful pictures??:))...

Vyazz said...

@Homemakers Utopia: Thnx for visiting and commenting, appreciate it!! :)

Vyazz said...

@Aarti....Merci Beaucoup Mon Cherie!! :) Got the pics from the great glorious google!!!

Vyazz said...

@Saumya....Thnx for visiting, and will look forwars to the female version!!

Vyazz said...

@Anonymous,
Frankly, I have no dount about the fact that arranged marriages have been existing for centuries and yes they have worked out fabulously in the past even when they did not even know or see each other. Even my parents marriage is a glowing testament to that. I'm not against arranged marriage per se, but against the commercialism, prejudice and the materialism that has crept in. And what I have written is on account of actual experience. Everything one writes about or feels is driven out of personal experiences. Some of the demands and expectations by the people online are just ludicrous to say the very least.

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cooldudette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kala neelakantan said...

I just saw your blog randomly on facebook and I would to an extent vouch with your thoughts coz i am undergoing a kind of similar situation. And I think the moment a guy or a girl reaches the so called marriageable age your neighbors and relatives start worrying about you than you yourself.

kala neelakantan said...

I just saw your blog randomly on facebook and I would to an extent vouch with your thoughts coz i am undergoing a kind of similar situation. And I think the moment a guy or a girl reaches the so called marriageable age your neighbors and relatives start worrying about you than you yourself.

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Choco said...

Glad to have found my way here, again :)
I read the post, some of the comments... I get were you're coming from. I have faced this. Thought the same thoughts. I also thought this. When we are looking for a mate, outside all this c arranged scenario, how many of us find ones who've been through our trials and ups and downs? Not unless we found them early on in life. What do we look for when we are going through life with our eyes open for a possible mate? Like minds? Who are also presentable? Who are from decent backgrounds? Well mannered? Not all lost and all over the place? Well.

I would like someone I can love. Can or will I also be able to live with that person for a lifetime? If I am truly lucky, then,...

Im rambling. I'll stop. Lovely post this. Happy New Year to you Vyazz. God bless :)

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all the best :))

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