Reflections on Indian Marriage: The Journey Into The Unknown


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For most people, life and love are like a game of connecting the dots; the numbers always form a straight line to the goal. The result is picture perfect. For the lesser mortals, especially for those who inhabit my world, there is no straight line to speak of. This is my story -- I am 28 years old and almost single but most eligible.

17th July, 2009 was the day it all started, and I am still trying to figure out why? When I look back, I feel the only reason it started was because I didn’t know of any decent guy whom I would have brought home for shaadi. So, finally I was asked to post my profile on one of the matrimonial sites. This is something that I kept ignoring for quite some time, but as luck would have it, I finally did go live on the 17th July 2009. I was completely in a holiday mood, far from the maddening crowd, in the serene, tranquil beauty of the Viking land – The land of the midnight sun – Norway! And I said “What the heck!”

My brother-in-law did the honors of using his credit card - “three months, six months, a year?”

I said, “Three months is fine, tab tak to koi na koi mil jaayega! (I should be able to find someone by then!) I don’t need a platinum subscription.”

Nahi ek saal ka kar do (No do it for one year)!” was my sisters instant reply.

Well as all husbands listen to their wives, there you go -- I get a platinum subscription and jiju (BIL) gets a credit card bill of some 200 USD! Pretty cheap for 200 prospects in a year, or very expensive (JUST 200 prospects!) ???

Well, whatever that was, I was onto a new journey -- a journey of finding my soul mate -- with all sorts of weird questions and thoughts in my mind, the first and foremost being, “How can I trust someone on that portal?” The second thought was – “Going by my mum’s choices, this definitely ought to be a safer option!” I know I am being too rude here, but, I don’t trust her choices sometimes.

Moving on, you must be wondering what happened with my shaadi.com profile. Well, the profile was up there, but blank with only a few basic details. The “about me” section was completely blank and I did not know what to write in it. Every morning my sis would crib and ask me to fill that, and every morning I would reply to her – “I don’t know what to write. Why don’t you do it since you know me well?” And I could see the expression of frustration on her face. This was a topic which could not be avoided for long since my jiju’s hard earned money had gone into it.

Anyways, I did get a few interested responses, even though my profile was blank, but not very interesting ones. So one fine morning, I sat down with my laptop to check what people actually write in their matrimonial profile. I browsed some 7-8 profiles and learnt innumerous adjectives which I had apparently missed out in my school days. I am this and I am that! Why can’t people just be realistic? Never mind, in that pool of adjectives, I found some common ones, and they were “loving, caring, honest and trustworthy”. So I got the starting line of my “about me” section…

“I am loving, caring, honest and trustworthy.”

After that, it was a piece of cake! I wrote about myself, my interests, my views on marriage and also a bit about the kind of person I was looking for. Obviously, I couldn’t write my complete autobiography there, because in 200 USD, they don’t allow you to blow your trumpet too much… you’ve got to hold it!

Well, live went my “about me” section, and now the profile picture was a whole new story! It was difficult to decide which one to upload since most of my pictures are all out of this world usually, with “the 32” all out all the time! (Teeth, what else!) Finally my sister came to my rescue. She selected two pictures - a front face and a side face, and all the while I was wondering if I was a commodity to be displayed in the best possible manner! But, I guess that’s how Indian marriages are supposed to happen.

Then started the ordeal of looking at profiles, sending interests, receiving interests, declining a few, chatting, meeting, answering some weird questions, etc etc, to find the RIGHT GUY!

I started on it with a very casual approach, not knowing where I was heading to or what I was looking for. Had someone asked me a year back about the kind of guy I was looking for, I would not have had an answer for it. A fantasy world of love and romance is all that I had pictured till then! But in the last few months, due to all those interactions with people from varied backgrounds, occupations etc, I have had my “eureka” moments. I know what I am looking for now, what I am heading into, the kind of person I would love to be with…

Unfortunately though, “the kind of person you would love to be with” generally does not work out in real life! And then starts the tussle – heartbreaks!

But then, wasn’t it the “arranged” way through this portal? Was I looking for love on this portal? Actually I often wonder what I should call it – arranged or love! Am I trying to find love, or will it be purely an arranged marriage for me?


I am still not sure about that, and there is always the tussle between the head and the heart. But during the course of this journey, I have come across loads and loads of interests, and loads and loads of declines, and of course some beautiful relationships formed which cannot just be defined in words.

You so want it to work with someone, and it doesn’t work! Who do you blame? Destiny? But isn’t that in our hands? Can’t we change it? Loads and loads of questions to which I don’t have an answer… but the fact remains that I am still single.

Well someone just asked me the other day – “What have been the deal breakers so far?”

I was a little zapped by the word “DEAL”, and then actually sat down to analyze what broke the deals – compatibility, trust, confusion, fear of commitment, superstition. Actually, a lot of things go into breaking the deal. So what will it take to make that one deal that I am waiting for? When will my singledom end?

Well I’m a Hindu, and aren’t our partners supposed to be predestined for us? I will be attached to him for many lives, right? I have a feeling that we have already spent a few lives together. So maybe this life we need a break, and that’s why he’s taking his time. Till then, I stay “Almost Single”.



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17 comments:

Shobhit said...

:)

A true example of how big a deal is marriage here in India. It has been so since ages and I don't see any change in the scenario for quite some time to come.

But your concept of being 'almost single' is rather interesting and very logical. :) Just wondering what if your partner is trying out some other religion this time around... :P I really hope your concept stands firm then too. :)

But jokes apart, this was an extremely well written post. :)

September 1, 2010 at 7:55 AM
Manjusha Sinha said...

Thumbs up!! A very well written post. Almost all singles in India go thru this phase of "Dulha hunting" ... or should I say "Dulhan hunting" . But I still believe "Marriages are made in heaven made true on earth" .... so whenever ur day comes and u get a partner of your choice "matrimony" would be a total bliss. Enjoy the ride of "being single" at the moment and then when u turn into "Mrs." enjoy that ride too. Cheers ! Manjusha

September 1, 2010 at 4:34 PM
Pooja Sharma said...

Thanks Shobhit !! Do guys find them in similar situations ?

September 1, 2010 at 7:10 PM
Pooja Sharma said...

Hi Manjusha .. Thanks for your note of appreciation . I totally agree with you for the fact that each one of us at one time goes through a similar situation . Searching your soul mate is a hard game to play and with that being said, many people do get frustrated in searching the lady luck or the prince charming.Searching your soul mate should be a fun experience. It should be about getting to know someone and finding out if the two people are meant to be together. If they are not, the search goes on until you find that person that gives you butterflies even after you have been dating 6 months.

September 1, 2010 at 7:21 PM
Shobhit said...

Hi Pooja. Of course guys find themselves in not only similar but even stranger situations. I'm telling you from my own experience.

In fact, it's even more awkward for guys at times. Or maybe it is just for me... I don't know.

But I totally disagree with the idea of 'searching' for a soul-mate. We in India have made it all rather like a grand shopping event of sorts. Personally, I never believe in 'searching'. There are too many illusions out there... :P :D

I think I better write a post on this from a guy's point of view on my blog too. :)

September 1, 2010 at 9:15 PM
Pooja Sharma said...

Hey Shobhit, I Would Love to read a guys perspective on this one :-)

September 1, 2010 at 9:49 PM
Mahesh Kalaal said...

Marriage destroys peace in one's life and makes life into pieces after marriage ...

And soul-mate is not a verb to search, it should happen , like adjective

May be....We are always unclear about being clear

September 2, 2010 at 2:00 AM
Monica said...

Intellingent, well written post... would like updates please Pooja! You are young for marriage by american standards, and a man your age would be too young. so how's that for perspective.
Shobhit, yes plese do give us your perspective. Is there only one guy perspective? There must be some differences between guys... and please give (for your foreign audience) a "personality profile" on the Indian male. Does the Indian man like to be spoiled/ coddled like the latinos and americans? Does he generally want a lot of space like the english? Info please!

October 9, 2010 at 5:24 PM
Kaddu said...

Hmmm... my own 2 pence to this thread...

India is a vast country, with a population even bigger. With so many different socio-economic sections, I don't think anyone of us could rightly generalize the female or male perspective/profile when we are talking about marriage.

So speaking strictly from my own observations:

In the weaker sections (at or below poverty line), girls are married between the age 13-15 (despite it being illegal), and boys ('coz they aren't really men at that age) are barely 17-18. In this section, the boys are usually super-pampered and can do no more than drink every day and beat up their wife & kids. And the wives are the ones who work at our homes as domestic help.

In conservative middle-class sections, there is a prevalent sense of acceptance to arranged marriage system. Nobody resists, neither the girl, nor the boy. It is considered as destiny. Occasionally we see rebels in such communities, and those "lovebirds" (?) have to face much opposition. Shobhit will be able to elaborate on that more.

In metropolitan cities, with growing MNC & western culture, both the girls & the guys are just confused about what they want as life partner. And so they keep on dating for years and years... different people... but cannot decide whom to settle down with! They have grown up in a certain environment, where the females (their moms etc) took care of the domestic responsibilities. But such "domestic" girls still don't "date" here. And the ones who do, won't silently do their laundry & cooking day in & day out.

So in short, the Indian youth is in a big time mess! All transition phases are chaotic. But yes, men are still rare to find in this country... boys are in plenty. So to Monica, I would say that an Indian guy (not "man") likes to be spoiled/coddled when he's probably missing his mom, while the rest of the time, it is just "leave me with my TV & beer plz!"

:D

October 9, 2010 at 5:54 PM
Kaddu said...

Oh and just a bit of trivia on "soul-mate"... sharing something one of my gurus in this lifetime wrote to me...

[Begin quote]The soul mate is often the one who contracted before incarnating to provide the lessons leading to the most growth for the other. Soul mates are often the ones who put you through hell until you come out the other side your own person. And later on, round the cosmic camp fire you each have a good laugh about it and say “Thanks for all that work. Next time I’ll do the same for you.”[End quote]

So... the thing is, as Pooja says in her post... most of us (both girls & guys) grow up with some kind of fantasy image of our "soul-mate"... believing that the magic will just happen on its own when we do meet our "soul-mate". But the truth is that both partners need to work to make "it" happen. And perhaps those are usually the biggest "deal-breakers".

October 9, 2010 at 6:07 PM
Monica said...

"Soul mates are often the ones who put you through hell until you come out the other side your own person."... *sigh* thats what I've been thinking. Could be alright tho. depends how personal growth is viewed.

October 9, 2010 at 9:20 PM
Kaddu said...

Hmmmm, that's exactly what I thought when I was first told this. It just sort of "fits in"... like a missing key to a puzzle.

October 9, 2010 at 9:30 PM
Pooja Sharma said...

Thanks Monica.. I am glad you liked my post :-)Yes I am young by American standards but as per Indian standards I am pretty old .. and have should have been married by now .. Thats not me saying but the society in general and there you have a group of rebels like me .. who question the society .. is it really necessary to get married ?? Am I that old ?? I quiet agree with Kaddu here about her explanations on the societal norms and behavioral patterns in different section of the society .. The society is no doubt getting liberal and have started accepting love marriages .. but Live in relationship as a concept is still not that open ..Divorce as a concept is still looked down upon .. second marriage as a concept is not too acceptable .. The outlook is changing but its gonna take a lot of time.. May be our generation would breathe a sigh of relief :-)

October 10, 2010 at 2:00 PM
garima82 said...

hey...after a longgg time but better late than never is what I follow ;)
Extremely well written post up there, I was wondering why don't you also jump into the blogging world???

Rest of it we'll discuss offline :P

December 16, 2010 at 12:11 AM
Kaddu said...

@ Garry: She does have a blog... but only Shobhit knows its URL. Go figure that out! ;-)

December 16, 2010 at 11:29 AM
Anonymous said...

Saw this post as it came across the ticker from a mutual friend liking it. So happy to see Douglas quoted. I miss him so much! Going to see his family next weekend although he's been in my journey's and guiding me for a few months. Blessings! D.

December 11, 2011 at 9:49 PM
Chicky a.k.a. Kaddu said...

"D" as in "DD", I presume? I don't think anybody else in the world would have been able to relate that quote to Douglas. I found it really hard to believe he was gone. Even though we rarely communicated with each other, just the fact that he was there meant so much. Not a day goes by when I don't think of him... because not a day goes by when I don't do Reiki! :)
Hope you're well. Take care.

December 11, 2011 at 10:32 PM

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