Sunday, July 27, 2008

Arranged marriage dot not calm

I, my wife and my parents have been searching for a suitable bride for my younger cousin brother and the search has entered the fourth month now. We started on a war footing way back in March but have not tasted success yet. This blog is based on my experience and understanding of the prevailing matrimonial scenario.

To my understanding there are no real accepted guidelines for the arranged marriage process, except that it’s a marriage solemnized after the families of the bride and the groom deem it fit. Since centuries this has been the most common way of marriages. However the newer and the fast growing trend of Love marriage, has made arranged marriage a default kind. Love marriage is a kind where it’s not the families, who decide, but it is the boy and the girl who decide that they should get married. The families might or might not approve of such a union. If the families approve of such a union then it’s deemed a Love Arranged marriage. The obvious part however is that a boy/girl should fall in love before the families can actually approve or disapprove. It is really not the subject matter of this blog as to how can someone fall in love but the point to note here is, arranged marriage is the default if somebody has not fallen in love but still wants to get married. Strong focus on education and career, or shy nature of the individual can be among the thousand different reasons why an individual might have to choose the default route of arranged marriage.

So after having discussed and concluded with my cousin that he too is taking the arranged marriage route, we started the search with the 3 common criterions. The Horoscope of the bride and the groom should perfectly match. If the first one is satisfied, the other two are, the girl should be from a good family and should have decent education. As the first step of the search, my parents and my wife spread the word within our family and friends circle, if anybody knew of a family searching for a groom for their daughter. We also registered my younger brother’s profiles at all matrimonial bureaus we know and got to know of during the search process. The most common items in the marriage profile are the Horoscope, individuals name, Gothara (family tree details), Nakshtra (Star), Rashi (Star sign), education, contact details and his/her requirement of how the girl/boy should be.

We initially started our search in Bangalore and later sent copies of the profile to our relatives in cities outside Bangalore so that they can update it in the local matrimonial bureaus of that city. Whether the information is from matrimonial bureaus or if it’s from internet sites or if it’s simply from relatives and friends, one startling observation we have made is that, there seems to be a shortage of prospective brides. In almost every marriage bureau we searched, we noticed that if there were 10 files containing profiles of boys there were only 6-7 files containing profiles of girls. If we came across a girl’s profile whose horoscope matches with the boy, the chances of girl already married but the profile at the bureau not updated was 20-30%. I initially scratched it off as a mere coincidence but after talking with so many different people at these different bureaus, I am now thinking it actually might be a sad fact. During a recent visit to a matrimonial bureau, I overheard the conversation between a prospective groom and the counselor who was filing a profile. The boy answered all questions related to him, with great detail. When he was asked his requirement, i.e. how he expected the girl to be, he answered “Anything is fine”. A contrast to this becomes clear if you look at a prospective bride’s profile. Most girls seem to require/expect the boy to be a double graduate and the most common one being a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in management. If the girl is in the field of medicine, her expectation is no less than a surgeon or a high profile doctor. I also realized that I know many people who are of the same age as I am or even senior to me who are still bachelors. I am now sometimes forced to think that, maybe they are bachelors because they do not have a choice. However I am still not able to understand the reason for this problem. Is there really a shortage of girls? Or is it that the girls out there do not want to get married? I have read about the increasing gap between the number of boys to number of girls but is this the cause for this problem? I thank God that I am one of those lucky individuals who got arranged married without ever understanding the prevalent perils.

Arranged marriage has always been considered the safest, but now, even finding a bride seems difficult and marriage comes only after that. So one solution I can think is, instead of all this waiting, searching, disappointment in arranged marriages, love marriage seems a better option. Every boy, I think, should give the same importance to marriage as he gives to education and career, if he doesn’t want to take the risk of remaining a bachelor for life. Another potential solution for people who have already zeroed in on arranged marriage is to first select a girl looking for all other items on the list except for horoscope. Since it’s the horoscope which is the real horror, generate a new horoscope using one of those internet sites, synching it with the selected girl’s horoscope. Whatever might be the solution, arranged marriages no more seem to be an attractive process either for the parents or for the grooms themselves.

- Narendra V Joshi

1 comment:

Elephteria said...

Good words.