About Another Marriage, Again

Eight years ago, in 2010 January, Vikram (not the real name) who was super senior in my school came to see me. He is a bank manager. His only son, 28 years old then, joined in a bank as probationary officer. “He is very handsome and smart, you know?” he said.

It is normal for a guy to feel so as most of the fathers are fans of their sons or daughters. But you may feel depressed if you look at him with same expectation. Vikram asked me: “Uday, I came to know that Krishna maam is your relative. Can you introduce him to me?”

In our community, we address “maam” to show respect. Its literal meaning is uncle. Krishna (not a real name again, as a policy matter I wouldn’t reveal actual names until and unless it is okayed by them) is one of my distant relatives.

“Yes, of course Vikram maam, I shall introduce you to Krishna maam. What’s it regarding?”

“He has a daughter. She looks pretty and very fair. She has just got a job in TCS. I heard that her character and conduct has been very good. And as you know the family is very decent, rich and affluent.”

“Yes, I know her. She is really a very good girl.” I also said, “I will just dial-up Krishna maam and introduce you to him.”

“Not like that. We are Groom’s party, na?” Vikram interfered.
“So?”

“He is girl’s party. So he has to call me. I shouldn’t call him…”Vikram said.

I didn’t understand the logic. It is just a male chauvinistic thinking. But, still, considering it for the larger good, I called Krishna maam and informed him about Vikram. I left at that.
After few days I met Vikram in a function. Suddenly I recalled the incident and asked him: “Maam, what happened to the proposal…”

“Oh, Uday, it won’t work…”

“Why?”

“There is no horoscope matching. She has a dosha and papa samyam is not satisfactory…”

“Oh, Maamu, you are an educated man! Why do you believe in such stupidity? After all, horoscope matching is not part of our Sanatan Dharma. Vedas or Puranas do not have any horoscope matching. It is even against Hindu concept of God and the foundation of Hindu Dharma – that is Karmic theory. An ignorant and superstitious person may follow such nonsense. But I don’t expect it from you…”

“Hmm. But I have to be on a safer side, Uday. I can’t take any risk for my son” his tone changed.

“She is a good girl and your son will be lucky if he married her…” I said.

“Ah, Uday, my son will get better match. You may have some benefit from them by pushing so, not for my son…”

“Benefit? What benefit?” I didn’t understand.

“I know you are supporting her as she is your relative. And you also have little daughters growing up. So you have to support girl’s parents only, right?” he used a tone which appeared obnoxious.

Instead of getting angry, I really felt sorry for him – what a pathetic human being! He approached me with this proposal and sought introduction to Krishna. But I didn’t say anything. I just nodded my head and said: “Hmm…”

A friend of mine (he is on to community service, again I can’t reveal his name) who was sitting near me and was listening to the conversation enquired about it. I explained. His response: “He needs a slap in his face. Such a male chauvinistic pig. It is sheer arrogance. Can’t he see that our community is suffering from such ignorance and ego? It may not be a horoscope issue. He is a bank manager so always is money-minded and selfish.”

“There are few gentlemen even among bank managers – so you cannot generalize…”I said.

Krishna maam searched for a good groom for his daughter from our community for nearly six years. But he couldn’t find a suitable one due to the horoscope issue. Once he told me: “Uday, the boys’ parents in our community do not have any problem in their son eating dead bodies, drinking alcohol or freaking out with whores. But when it comes to marriage, they look for nonsense like horoscope matching. Some people are even demanding money indirectly…”

“Krishna maam, I know that such superstitions plague among so-called modern people. But you cannot generalize, there are good people in our community too…”

At last, his daughter married to her co-worker who is hailing from a different caste. It was a shock and shame for his family as the caste system is still a reality in India. And, as far as our community is concerned, it is just another case of a girl eloping with a person from another caste. They do not ponder into the actual reasons. However, the couple is now in a foreign country living happily with their small baby. Years passed by…

Recently, I have met Vikram maam (retired and old now) and his son. His ‘handsome son’ has developed a three-tier family pack around his belly, dark patches on the side of his cheek an extra chin appeared below his existing chin and has gone completely bald in the head. The boy appeared looking like around 50s now, though he is actually 36. When we are young, we won’t expect such changes would happen to us too.

Vikram maam recognized me and wished. He asked about my family and all. Then he said: “Our community girls have turned very arrogant and egoistic…”

“What happened Vikram maam?”

“My son is not getting any good girls. He is a bank manager, na? We don’t have any demands. We have enough wealth too…”

“Oh…”

“Today’s girls go for younger boys. They go for looks. Even a bank manager doesn’t have any value means, what? Even a divorced girl said my son is not good looking. Arrogant people! I have fed up giving advertisements in matrimonial sites and newspapers…I fed up calling girls parents…”his anger was boiling up.

“Oh, I am sorry to hear that…” I can understand his ego is hurt now. In his time, girl’s parents used to chase boys’ family. He expected that to happen. But time has changed.

“Uday please help me – I know you have quite lot of friends all over the world – I don’t have much time to live. I want to see my son get married before I go. There are not many girls in our community, as they are eloping with people from other castes and religion…” he stopped a while, took a deep breath and said: “There are absolutely NO demands. Just a good girl even up to 36 years old is okay…”

“Vikram maam, what about horoscope matching?”

He gave me a sharp look. I am sure that he recalled the incident. “Please don’t hit me when I am weak…”

“No – I won’t. I just wanted to clarify if you still follow it. But you must stop blaming the community and girls as such. The community members started chasing superstitious beliefs and moved away from our rich culture, dharma and tradition because of people like you. So don’t blame others for your karma. If girls are eloping, the major culprit could be horoscope, though there are many other reasons. Best wishes for your son. But I cannot recommend your family to anybody. I am sorry.”

I felt sorry for him again, but there was nothing I could do for him- it is the result of his Karma.

As I had finished talking with Vikram, the same friend whom I explained about the old incident eight years ago came to me. It looked like a strange coincidence but later I found the logic. The function was within the same family hence invitees could be the same. But initially, it appeared like a coincidence for me.

“I heard his son has not yet got a bride and Krishna maam’s daughter eloped with a a boy from another caste. It is sad that our community is becoming extinct from the earth. Lot of youngsters today are marrying from outside community. Teens are not even coming to our temple.”

“Hmm. It’s a trend everywhere. Other communities also say the same…” I said.

“Udayji, after our first meeting I have researched a lot about marriages. I took ten samples of marriages which had 90% and above horoscope matching. Only ONE in them is existing now – among the other nine are divorced, on the verge of it or one of the spouse is dead. Among other types of ten marriages (arranged marriages and love marriages without horoscope match) seven are doing well. So, statistically speaking, in comparison, non-horoscope marriages are doing well. Should we go and request our Swamijis to ban horoscope matching to rescue our community? If you join us, it will carry more weightage…”

“I don’t believe in the busines of ban. Such ban won’t work. It is better, if you request Swamiji to educate them in a way that they can understand the value of our traditions and rituals logically and scientifically. The educated youngsters would be amused and excited to follow the real traditions based on logic and reasoning. Unfortunately, you don’t give a chance to youngsters. Instead, you fill them up with superstitions and blind beliefs.”

“Udayji, a personal question – your daughter is at marriageable age. How would you respond to people when they approach you with proposal for your daughter? Especially when they demand horoscope matching?”

“Whenever I get a call from a boy’s parent, I would tell them very politely: Maamu/Maayi I don’t believe in horoscope matching. But I respect your belief. So, you may check yourself. But I will proceed with alliances only if the fundamental parameters like character, culture, family values and reputation are matching. We are not at all bothered about the horoscope matching. In my family nobody has done it for the last two generations that is known to us.”

“What will you do if your daughter wants to marry from outside community; especially since they are studying abroad?”

“That’s a purely hypothetical question. Fortunately or unfortunately, my daughters (as of today) want to go only for family arranged marriage with those who share same culture. That is what their grandparents advised them. They earnestly follow our tradition in which family comes first. So as long as they think family is important than their personal whims and fancies, such questions do not arise. Ah – it is as of today, I must add.”

“Still, if one of your daughters marries to a boy from another caste or religion?”

“It is their choice. When a girl is above 18, she has the freedom to choose a life partner. But if she wants my approval for the marriage, naturally, she should honour my choice for a son, right? I have the freedom to accept whatever I like when they have their freedom to choose. I have told them clearly that I cannot accept a son (read son-in-law) who doesn’t follow Sanatna Dharma traditions, human values based on Ahimsa (non-violence) and doesn’t respect our ancestors and sages.”
“Hmmm. Your answer conveys all,” he said.

I have written quite lot of articles about marriages. Still, the most number of queries that I get from readers are related to marriage. Hence, wanted to share just another experience – this one – with my readers! If this helps at least one reader to change his/her mindset, my purpose is served.

By
Udaylal Pai
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