By Janani Ravi:
I have been reading a lot of articles lately that tend to trash the whole idea of arranged marriages! I’m a 19 year old girl, who is actually dreaming about having an arranged marriage and these articles dishearten me. Agreed, they all have valid points, but I am going to give justice to the other beautiful side of arranged marriages.
First let me tell you, I come from an orthodox, Tamilian-Brahmin NRI family thatÂ ‘prefers’Â to choose the match although I know that they wouldn’t say no if I introduced someone whom I wished to marry. I do get indirect messages from my parents who try to hint every now and again that my life would be better if they chose my husband. And you know what, I agree with them! One of the best feelings in the world is when you are the reason behind your parents’ happiness. They have done so much for us, sacrificed their life for us, and would be the last people to even think of doing us harm. So obviously if they are going to chose my life partner, it is not a trivial decision. They will look at everything, from the boy’s education, his habits, his lifestyle, his character only to make sure he will keep me happy.
Many of these articles I have read seem to have such an archaic view of how these matches are made. I mean do you really think in today’s era, a girl is asked to sing and dance in front of strangers? I know for a fact my parents would never allow me to do that. Thoughts have become modernized. These days the girl and the boy meet alone in a restaurant or a mall so that they can actually be free with each other (This is of course after the parents have met and agreed).
The articles also seem to portray the girl as an ‘object’ with no choice whereas the boy gets to choose between many girls. If you know your facts, you will be aware that currently in India, the sex ratio is skewed. Scarce resources have high demand. These days there are websites like Shaadi.com where the girl can actually sign up, look through a ton of eligible grooms and filter through them.
Another myth the ‘anti-arranged marriage’ people believe is that all girls look for an NRI groom, and all boys look for a ‘fair and beautiful’ bride. So does that mean local boys and girls with dark complexion don’t get married? Of course not! People are past all that now, skin colour and green cards are no longer selling points. In fact girls with a darker skin are starting to be considered ‘sexy’ thanks to the lights of Bollywood actresses like Bipasha Basu, Kajol, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone, to name a few.
And lastly, let me make it clear that people opt for arranged marriages not because they are not capable of finding someone by themselves, but because they trust their parents’ choices and genuinely believe that they can lead a happier life with their support. Well I do have a few dreamy reasons of my own for choosing to have an arranged marriage. I somehow really like the idea of meeting completely new people, who accept you as family. I can be whoever I want to be there. People don’t hold stereotypes about me, nor judge me based on my past. It’s a chance for me to turn over a fresh leaf and start a new life. I love the idea of getting to know someone from scratch, understanding their likes and dislikes, the little actions that define them and learning how to behave in a way that pleases them. Of course that is still a long time away. But the very idea that someone, whom I will spend the rest of my life with, exists somewhere in this world, tends to give me butterflies in my stomach. I enjoy that suspense life gives me, of having to wait for the right time, to finally see who that special someone would be. My friends and I love to sit and discuss the kind of man we want to marry. I personally would not like to ruin that surprise by already knowing or settling for a boy I just met.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This article is not against love marriages, it’s just against those who are against arranged marriages. Arranged marriages are beautiful in their own way. This is not to say that they are better, but to put forward the point that we don’t live in the 18th century anymore. Thought processes have changed, parents are becoming more like friends and women are empowered. The old stereotypes held about arranged marriages no longer apply in this modern world. If you are open minded enough to accept the western tradition of love marriages, why are you still so narrow-minded and cynical about our own culture? There is a positive side for everything; you just need to know where to look.