(This post is not against the practice of arranged marriages. It is just speaks out about how even in the 21st century, marriages are continuing to be like a business deal or shopping. This is something I have been witnessing all my life.)
By: Keyur Seta
Arranged marriage versus love marriage is a debate which has not reached a conclusion. Although it is a general belief that there are merits and demerits in both the methods, I wholeheartedly support the institution of love marriage. This is simply because, according to me, love marriage is a natural process while the arranged one is against the forces of nature.
In love marriage, a boy and a girl meet in places like colleges, offices, parties, etc. They become friends at start and if the tuning of their hearts and wavelength match, they go ahead and become life partners. Hence, we can say they met in a natural way. In other words, their meeting and falling in love is a natural process.
In arranged marriage, two families ‘fix’ a meeting between a boy and a girl. They are made or even forced to meet and decide in maximum 3-4 meetings whether they can consider each other the most important person of their life. The most important relation of our lives is ‘fixed’ by going against the forces of nature as if it’s a business deal. And going against the nature is certainly a bad idea!
However, my opposition to arranged marriage is not limited to this point. After witnessing and hearing first-hand-accounts of marriages fixed in an arranged manner, I find no difference between arrange marriage and shopping! Yes, you heard it right. Okay, let me explain!
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Before starting their search for a partner in an arranged manner, both the girl and the boy mentally prepare a list of qualities their future life-partner should possess. This is very similar to people thinking about the color, brand, quality, price and fitting of a jeans before going out to buy it. And if you are an MBA, your chances of getting a life partner increase fivefold. I am not sure whether an MBA degree will get land you a lucrative job but I am certain it will increase your ‘market value’ in the ‘market’ of marriage.
But the real shopping fun begins when the girl and the boy’s family meet each other. The party which starts asking questions first behaves like the buyer while the other has to behave like the seller. For example, the boy’s family will start listing all his good qualities, just like a salesman tries to portray his product in a must-buy manner. On the other hand, the girl’s family will try to figure out the percentage of truth in their claims, just like the buyers do to make sure the salesman isn’t taking them for a ride.
After the first round, the tables are turned. Buyers become sellers and vice-versa. Now, the girl’s family will start proving how perfect to-be bahu their girl is while the boy’s family will do some brain-work in guessing the percentage of authenticity in their claims. Most importantly, both of them (girl and boy) will check whether the list of qualities in their potential life partner matches with the mental list they prepared. If it doesn’t, they will probably go to another shop!
If both parties are satisfied, they go ahead with the marriage. In my words – the deal is finalized with both parties benefiting both as buyers and sellers. In this way, a total stranger becomes the most important person of your life after just few meetings. Wow!
But wait a minute! Where the heck does love figure in all this since it is the most important ingredient for marriage? Oh forget it! As long as the girl’s family can say, “Humare sar ka boj hat gaya!” and the boy’s family can proudly declare, “Humare ghar me oonche khandan ki bahu aa gayi,” nothing else matters! Not even love!