If you have grown up in a 'typical' Indian household then these are some of the things that the elders of the family have said to you. For them, arranged marriage is not a 'type' of marriage but the only way a marriage can take place. For them, love marriage is a deviation from the norm and something only the 'rebels' indulge in. To take from my family's experience, only one couple have ever had a love marriage and the rest of them, have all taken the convenient route of an arranged marriage.
When I say 'convenient' it is because the process of an arranged marriage is highly systematic and extremely robotic. First, the accounts are made on various matrimonial sites and everything from the bride/groom's skin color, height and virginity are mentioned, they go for a spouse who is fair, rich, the same caste and class. Remember there is nothing worse than getting married to someone who is of a lower caste than you, your parents would have been happier if you had committed murder.
The date of the meeting is fixed and the girl and boy meet along with their families and have an awkward chat before they say "Now we should leave the children alone to talk."
They say it as if they are doing a huge favor to the two by letting them talk to each other for fifteen minutes. After that forced meeting between the boy and girl, if it's a yes then great but if any one of them refuses the marriage then we get to hear the Bollywood inspired dialogue "We have done so much for you and you can't even get married to the person we have chosen for you."
Arranged marriages have now taken a turn for the better, it seems. Shahid Kapoor got married to a very young Mira Rajput through an arranged marriage and there were some uniform comments floating around.
The young urban generation seemed to have spoken their mind and arranged marriage was now, looked down upon. But, is it really as bad as we think it is? After all, we meet people on Tinder which is a dating app not only for the obvious but sometimes for a serious relationship which has the possibility of turning into marriage.
We imagine that we would meet our 'soul mate' in a crowded coffee shop where our eyes would meet and our world would change forever or the cute guy from school would magically reappear and you would have your happily ever after but things don't seem to be going in this fairytale direction. It is an irony that because of social media and the internet we have a million ways to meet people but most of us find ourselves single, not out of choice. In many cases, you are a working person who doesn't have the time and energy to go out and find your other half so, in that case, you have no option but to call up your mother and say.
"Mom, I want to get married so, please find a groom who works the same hours as me, lives in the same city, is non vegetarian and loves to watch Game of Thrones."
Let's rewind a little bit and think about the skewed idea of finding the perfect partner for yourself. Maybe, love isn't about finding a person to cuddle with but someone you can tolerate living with for the rest of your life. The idea of opposites attract is another one that needs to be thrown in the garbage bin, life is not a movie and it can't be fun living with someone who doesn't enjoy eating spicy food when you do.
Our generation should stop being so sceptical about the idea of arranged marriage and treat it as another way of meeting your 'better' half. Arranged marriage is not only about serving tea to the groom's family or spending minutes with them before saying an absolute 'yes' or seeing it as an oppressive mechanism that helps to hold up patriarchy. Arranged marriage is no less bad than swiping left and right across your mobile screen.
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