The whole Indian wedding tamasha

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 12:33 PM in , ,

Unlike several other countries in the world, the meaning of ‘wedding’ in the Indian context is very different. It encompasses every other factor, other than the willingness of the boy or the girl. In the ‘arranged wedding’ scenario, a concept largely ridiculed in the west, the boy and the girl are simply expected to wed as strangers and then fall in love. If any differences or incompatibilities arise later... the duo is expected to reconcile to them within four walls. Because like the couple once obliged to fall in love with the person of their parent’s choice, they are also expected to tow their lines in terms of what KIND of person they have to get used to.

I am not suggesting that such matches are always forced or that they always end up failing. A good amount of them even manage to work. But all elders in this country have got to understand that there are only a certain ‘type’ of people you can expect to put up with this arrangement. I am a journalist and I have always lived life on my own terms. Owing to adequate financial independence that I have experienced in recent years, I feel I am fairly equipped to pick my own match. And to stick to that choice and live it through, because at least at the end of the day, it is still MY decision that I am putting up with. And the decision was not made for me by somebody else. It can go wrong and things can fall apart, but that way I have at least not smothered my wishes, just to be ‘socially acceptable’. Nor have I wrapped myself up as a candy to be presented to a ‘market’ of suitable boys (don’t know what mind-fucked people come to do that kind of bidding). And I would own full responsibility for my actions.

Which brings us to the moot point of which ‘kind’ of people agree to enter the ‘arranged marriage’ scenario. This is the breed that has either loved their family way too much, more than anything else, to ever fall as much in love with anybody else. Or the variety that feels it is not in their ‘culture’ to disregard what their parents ask them to do. Now the second variety worries me the most. Because these are the same people who can never say ‘no’ to anything that is asked of them. ‘Marry him/her’... yes. ‘Have babies with them now’... yes. ‘He is cheating on you? Put up with it. Marriage is all about compromises’... yes. ‘You feel you are incompatible? Manage it... it’s your life and he/she is your spouse. Get used to them’... yes. The ‘yes-saga’ has no end but lifelong implications of this can be catastrophic. People tend to become subdued, reserved, irritable, irrational, non-objective... and ultimately end up sleeping in different rooms. Because in their words... their natures ‘never matched’. I might sound a little extreme but the crux of my argument shall come to life only if such extremities are cited.

On the other hand, people who marry out of ‘love’ are less likely to end up in different bedrooms. They have known each other, had their say, known their expectations and most importantly, the onus lies on them to make it work. Because they made their own choice. The learning of making a love-marriage work is the learning of a lifetime. You live with your ‘decision’ everyday. Wake up with them, sleep with them and grow with them. The learning might be sweet or it might be bitter, but it is of your own making. And it shall always remain that way. Everybody makes mistakes in their youth and the Indian parents need to allow their kids to make those ‘mistakes’ once. They might work or they might not. But there is never the added pressure of not having other avenues or exits. These ‘mistakes’ teach one to be independent in life, and responsible, for all things that happen to them or are made to happen.

A marriage is more than just about maintaining social standing or stature. And children are more than just mere badges that parents can pin-up on their shoulders. Nor are children means for parents to live the kind of lives that they never lived on their own. The two parties in a married couple eventually have to cope with their own lives, and the easier it is made for them, the better. At a basic level, the voices that advocate ‘own match picking’ need to be heard. Being ‘liberal’ has always been the way forward and by holding old customs or traditions very close to the heart, folks today are being insensitive to the needs of the times. They have to be more supportive and respectful of their children’s wishes. Times have changed and they can’t dictate rules about how lives should be lived. Honour-killings should be stopped and a thought has to be spared to what makes your own flesh-and-blood happy. For there is no substitute for consensual coexistence to give life to the ‘happily ever after’...

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