A Simple but Complicated Marriage Proposal
Last week, Narayan (not real name), my school-mate, contacted me. We belong to the same village and community. He has only one daughter. He wants to get her married in a traditional Bharat (Indian) way – An arranged marriage.
He is stressed and fearful, after hearing today’s horror stories of marriage flops and divorces. He says: “I have only one daughter – It has been months since I slept properly. I am so much concerned about what would happen to her…” I could see a helpless father’s fear, anxiety and insecurity in his eyes. A typical Indian parent, who believes in moral and ethical values, has everything to be scared in today’s market-media controlled Indian society.
“How can I? People – my friends and relatives advice many things…precautions, warnings, ideas, suggestions. And all those things make me jittery.”
“My mother said just look for a boy with good character, all other things will follow. But my mother-in-law said financial security is the most important thing, nothing else matters. So I have to try to get a boy with a good job and from affluent family – this itself is contradictory. My aunt told me to prefer local boys. My colleague said that I have to check if anybody in the boy’s family history has any mental sickness. Others advice me to go for horoscope matching only… I really am confused…”
“Do not worry, nothing will happen, she will get a good boy…” I said.
“That’s unlikely of Uday…You don’t just give a positive reply for adhoc solace- please tell me what all are the precautions that I have to take…You also have daughters, so you might have thought about it and analyzed everything…”
“On the contrary, I have not analyzed anything – let things happen on its own way, and not in my way…whatever happens, it will be for good…”I said.
“You are dodging my questions…”
“That’s true Narayan, how can I comment on your life or your daughter’s life? Every human being is a unique preposition…My observations would be biased to my conditioned thinking and I can’t generalize it….”
“But what would you do in my place….”
“Hmm…You are tricking me…” I said: “As of today, my daughters say they prefer arranged marriage from the same cultural background. Since there are no any large numbers of preferences I don’t have many worries…”
“What will you look at boys?”
“Just basic things – a cultured and ethical family…”
“Don’t dodge again…those are preliminary things. But what about your conditions and daughter’s conditions…”
“My daughters have only one condition – the boy should be strictly vegetarian – that’s all…”
“Really? Hmm, you might have brain-washed them to keep away from world’s extravaganza…But you will have preferences in your mind…”
“Yes – I prefer a self-made, hard-working boy who had exposed to poverty and sufferings and who looks after his parents…”
“What’s the logic?”
“Simple logic…a boy who takes care of his parents would most probably take good care of his wife too. And a person who is exposed to struggle and hardships in life would mostly tend to be more humane.”
“So, that’s all I have to look for?”
“No – you should decide that. Not me….”
“I am confused again, you know me from childhood. Please say something concrete…”
“In a male-chauvinistic society, males will always have inferiority complex. (Most of the) males are insecure about somebody questioning their age-old mis-conception of “manhood” that derived from wrong perception from movies and media. They are always scared that their supremacy would be lost. That’s but natural for a boy born and brought up (especially) in our community. You can’t change it. So, always look for a boy who is bit more educated and earning more than your daughter so that he won’t feel much inferior.” (Equally dangerous issue is the arrogance of today’s girls that has aroused from new found financial freedom, but that’s not relevant in Narayan’s case)
“That’s a good suggestion…What about age?”
“At least 5 years elder than the girl…5-10 years age difference is good.”
“Should we check horoscope?”
“I thought you believed in god. Horoscope is strictly for those who have doubts about divine existence. My understanding is that it is just non-sense and insulting the cosmic power. But then, if boy’s side wants to check it, you may have to provide – we don’t have right to question others’ beliefs….”
“Hmmm…What else we can check?” his impatience and insecurity still popped up: “What if she faces problems tomorrow?”
“Narayan, you know very well that all sort of marriages – be it family-arranged (typical Indian) or self-arranged (which wrongly termed as love marriage) or superstitiously arranged (just by horoscope matching) – can be flop or success. I know about the 100 percent preference matched and horoscope matched weddings are crashed. For some, marriage will turn out to be good. For others, it is a suffering. How can we predict that? It all depends upon the heart that can empathize and love each other… If married couple loves each other and accept as it is, nothing in the world can come in between them…That love, respect and devotion are the most important aspects in marriage. Nothing else really matters. That is why we call Pati Dev (Husband god) and Patni Devi (Wife goddess). So work towards the best and leave the rest to the divine…” I said.
“Yes – that’s what I expected from you – a reply neither optimistic nor pessimistic about life”
“If you knew my answers, why did you ask me?”
“Just to make it doubly sure…..I feel bit relieved now, Uday…I will try to find a boy that matches most of our expectation, though not every. And then, leave it to god!” he smiled. We shook hand. I could see the primary school boy’s smile that had imprinted in my heart long ago when I had met him first time in my life. So innocent and honest. So childlike.
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