Here is the season which amalgamates all our aunties together to review the astrological data to find the best optimised marriage proposals for their unmarried children. Indian and especially Bengali weddings are something I really love not only because of the beautiful photos of me that are clicked wearing panjabi and pyjama (traditional Bengali dress for men) , but the entire essence of the wedding can be felt (I mean you can literally sense it).
On the contrary, Americans spend only 6 hours for their wedding which involves 3 hours in a church and 3 hours partying. Basically, if you go to your school and come back, you could see that the couple living next door are now Mr and Mrs X.
From this same American perspective, the first issue they have with the Indian wedding stem is the concept of arranged marriage. I was reading a tweet where an American says, “With the dating period in case of an arranged marriage less than the time I devote for pooping every day, how can they marry?”
The new generation of Indians also feels the same. The problem is that our generation is more interested in getting married than loving their partner. My parents had an arranged marriage and most of my family members had an arranged marriage. I do understand that our current stands on freedom and individualism has circumscribed with the idea that marriage should only be based on personal choice. But I didn’t find any source which claimed that the amount of love increases with the choice drifting towards personal.
My parents are still happy and I see them laugh even after more than two decades of their marriage. However, if we evaluate ourselves, we shall find that hardly one of our own relationships last for a couple of years. If we try to escalate this, we do not call parting with our partner after marriage as break up; but we tag them a divorce.
I am amazed when my mother recites stories from the early years of their marriage. My mother could cook nothing apart from rice and dal for the first couple of weeks of their marriage. Believe me, my father still used to enjoy that because he did not want to pressurise her in any scenario. Maybe the variation in the food was missing, but the affection with which my mother used to cook sufficed. I still laugh when I watch videos of my mother singing, as secretly recorded by my father. She would hug him and murmur into his ears, “Dhur, tomai biye kore paap hoyeche” (It was a mistake to marry you).
To be honest, our generation suffers from a severe syndrome of infatuation. We really do not understand the correct age and the opportunity to plan things.
Now, this doesn’t mean my mother didn’t have any male friends in her school life or always studied, but I feel she knew where to draw the lines. What we do not understand is where to step back. With the catalysing effect of ego, we often say, “If my friend has a partner, why shouldn’t I?”
The moment we utter this question, the issue of inferiority complex plays its part. We need to understand that finding a soul mate is not a race. We tend to think having a partner is a fashionable trend in our country. The World Health Organization says the natural sex ratio at birth is about 105 boys to every 100 girls and its best to have equal numbers of men and women in a society, which means that you shall definitely get a soul mate!
However, the concept of arranged marriage has various flaws too. The perspective of arranged marriage has led to the indulgence of child marriages which further extrapolates to acid attacks and fire burns leading to deaths. There are survivors of domestic violence who cannot leave their homes because marital rape is legal and divorce holds social stigma. I feel these problems are really not linked with arranged marriage but with us, as an individual.
On this note, I am citing few words from a book named The Endgame, “The first time he had hit her, he had been so wracked with remorse, she had actually felt sorry for him. Consumed by guilt and self-loathing, he had sobbed in her arms like a child, swearing it would never happen again and begging for her forgiveness. Her stomach turned over now at the thought of how she had comforted him, assuring him that she trusted him and promising that she would never leave. She saw now with sickening clarity that she had been setting a precedent – giving him permission to do it again; reassuring him that she would tolerate anything. If only she had walked out there and then.”
You may not be in love five years before your marriage, but you can love for fifty years after your marriage. The only word we get to hear associated with love is commitment, but there are two beautiful words which a majority of us overlook – compromise and obligation.
Love people for what they are and not for what you want them to become. On this Valentine’s Day, let us pledge as an individual that we shall not treat love as perfect, but as true.