Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Inhe kaise samjhaien....

Yaar, how should I explain to foreigners what an arranged marriage is? Abbey mujhe kaise pata yaar. I am not even married yet. And I have had a tough time explaining people how Indians get married.

"So you see the girl first time only on the day of the wedding?"

"No. Nowadays, we see her plenty of times before the wedding. But thats after the marriage match has been finalised. Before finalising the match I would see her only once, may be twice. Thats it."

"How can you finalise a girl you don' t know? Its so so risky. And weird. Crazy."

"I don't know. Leap of bloody faith or something. And you know what, such couples who barely knew each other before marriage , they then stay together for rest of their lives mostly. And happily. Happiness is what matters isn't it?"

"It's still crazy. I can't imagine myself doing this arranged marriage thing", she would say.

"And divorce rates in India are much lower than divorce rates in China or elsewhere too."

"But how can you marry someone you don't know at all?"

"That statement sucks. C'mon. We know a lot about our prospective spouse even before meeting her. We even know each other's expectation from each other before even the first meeting. That's because it is quite clearly understood in arranged marriages, unless otherwise stated, that he and she are expected to have responsibilities of husband and wife in the family respectively. And not the other way round. He is expected to earn,struggle and toil for the family. She may work if she wants to but is not forced to. She is expected to be the foundation of the family and make the house as a home. Husband can also do the the housework but is not forced to."

"You Indians suck big time. Big time. You subdue females inside their homes while men go outside. You expect wives to do the housework , take care of the children with men taking no responsibility whatsoever. This is such a male chauvinistic society that you belong to. You know this is what women's liberation is all about.Its a modern society we are living in and India is still in pre-modern stage I must say".

Inhe kaise samjhain...... How should I explain to her that its the men in India who happily and blissfully give up their independence to the woman they marry, that they can't thank her enough for bringing colours of the rainbow and luck into their lives. That they don't want the wife to work simply because they would hate to see their only love ever in life struggling and toiling in sun and sweat. That the wives in India would hate to see their husbands at home all day long tresspassing her territory. That she would in years to come take full control of him.

How should I explain to her that the oft use phrase"Marriage is an irrelevant institution today" is a very irrelevant phrase in India.... That you'll find irrelvant articles on the phrase only in Times of India,.....that marriages in India are based on minimal and basic expectations only....

I have always given up trying to explain people from other countries how arranged marriages work.

I just end up telling them, " Its magic! ".