Thursday, May 26, 2016

From Arranged Marriage to Love.


At the very outset, let me bust the bubble. India does not 'enjoy' a low divorce rate : it actually suffers it. More than half the country is trapped in arranged marriages. If the divorce rate is rising, it is a healthy sign of a nation proactively undoing their mistakes and seeking to be happy.
Arranged marriages suck! Period!
  • Arranged marriage is for losers, who compromise in life and do not wait for their soulmate. As if, "I could not reach the best college, so let me study in at least some local college and get a degree". Similarly, losers think, "I could to find someone to fall in love to get married, so let me at least search for someone with the help of my parents and 'promote' myself to the 'married' status". It is for those who are ready to step down from their ideal dream of finding the love of their life, and quickly "settle". It is for those who 'leave everything to destiny', and do not actively and consciously seek and choose happiness. It is like the one disparaging oneself, "Rehne do, tumse na ho payega. Parents ko jugaad lagane do". 
           Image result for loser
  • Arranged marriage is for despo-s. They get fidgety that they are 'still' single when their friends are getting married one by one. They, too, want to join the rat-race for Grihastha ashram. They want to 'prove a point' to their ex-flame by marrying off in a hurry. They even get married because 'the ex-flame is getting married'. They want to play a 'catch-up' with the married others, disrespecting the uniqueness of their own life. Marriage for them is an agenda to be executed, ASAP.
  • Arranged marriage is for co-dependent children who lack self-reliance, and need their parents to find a match for them, and count on the previous generation(!) to assure them marital happiness. They cannot/will not take the responsibility of their conjugal life. Such people discuss their marital woes at regular intervals with their old parents and trouble them. They have their stand : "Mom/Dad, you fixed this marriage, and in times of trouble, you will do the fix-it/damage-control". It is for the spineless jerks who think their own marriage is none of their business, but rather, their parents' responsibility! They allow others to control their lives, since they are too lazy to pick up the ball and run. Also, they know their parents (i) will not support a love-marriage, or (ii) they will not approve of the partner chosen; and so, they surrender readily and wait blankly for their mysterious future.
  • Arranged marriage is for paranoids, who think the chronological age 30 is the drop-scene in their partner search. Women act as if they menopause at 30! Men act as if they become 'uncles' at 35. Parents get panic attacks as the daughter pushes 25. As a man crosses 28, parents want to get a new caretaker for him and be free themselves from the quarter-century necessary evil of looking after a son. "If my child is not married at a 'marriageable' age, then Log kya kahenge?". The girl's parents start firing a machine-gun of proposals to all prospects in marriage market. As rejections pour in (for low-IQ reasons), they keep reducing the filters of their preferred criteria in the groom, desperate to "kanyadaan" their daughter off! Such people may also get married simply to 'clear the line' for the younger siblings/cousins! The society starts setting unwritten deadlines to get hitched, and the parents sore the ears of the children with their marriage-obsession. The person thinks, "Yaar, these parents are eating my head with their 'get-married'-'get married' record. Chal yaar, shaadi kar hi lete hain".
  • An arranged marriage is a blind date (calendars) from which you cannot walk away without legal intervention. You continue to remain alone. Neither spouse takes the effort to build a relationship, since they think they are already in a socially-approved 'relationship' : it is no longer a "chase" for the guy to win the girl's heart. And since they are anyways legally bound, they sleep together. It is like a series of one-night stands in succession without knowing who this person is. You are again strangers after that. The guy remains an obedient son. He sides with his parents, and NOT you. You are supposed to suit yourself in a bunch of strangers and and keep acting 'convent-educated'.
  • Arranged marriage is an illusion/farce. The individual in unimportant here. The parties are interested in the concept of marriage, rather than the persons in it. Your spouse is not interested in you particularly as a person, but rather in your ability to fill up the vacancy of a partner's post. If not you, it can be anybody else! You are easily replaceable. You are dehumanized. Your uniqueness does not matter. It's cold business. Two random people are just supposed to play 'Ghar-Ghar' in the conventional sense of the term, and tolerate each other for the rest of their lives. Within a few hours of signing on a paper, they are supposed to shed their clothes and attempt to procreate! Fake-ness Spike!
  • Arranged marriage is a one-up one-down contract, an MoU signed between the two sets of parents. It incorporates stark, shameless patriarchy. The girl's parents just want a vagina-guard for their daughter, better known as 'husband'. They simply want to do their Manu-Smriti-inspired duty of marrying off a daughter as soon as possible. They can consider you to be ordinary enough to be married in a traditional patriarchal arranged marriage. Also, they will consider the groom and his family to be doing the greatest favor by marrying their daughter! A daughter is a transferable property simply to be handed over to the new owners. Humare sar se beti ka boj utar gaya. PUKE! (More about this in my other blog).
  • The spouses in an arranged marriage are putting up an act 24/7. Plastic smiles, forced socializing, bonded labor, customary dressing-up, robotic sex. You end up doing things not because you wanted to do it, but because 'it has to be done' : you 'should' wear a sari, you 'should' visit relatives as a couple, you 'should' wear jewelry, you 'should' follow rituals and customs, you 'should' do Karva Chauth', etc. The marriage is like a life-long assignment, with routine checks from parents and relatives of both sides. The couple has been told that their primary job is to reproduce quickly. They can fight during the day, give each other cold treatment during the evening, can have sex at night without any mental connection! The next morning, they silently eat at the breakfast table. They even talk negatively about each other in to others in front of the spouse! Again they get back together in the bedroom at night for their "homework". They were strangers on Day 1; may develop some acquaintance with each other over a few weeks/months, but one fight and they are back to square one. Going by statistics, most failed arranged marriages have failed in the first one year of marriage (some in less than three months). Arranged marriages are built on three words : Compromise, Sacrifice, Adjust. Somehow, the Indian culture majorly glorifies them. When you love a person, these verbs do not exist! They are for those who are merely putting up with a person whom they did not choose, and neither are they interested in.                                                      
  • Parents, themselves married decades ago through arranged marriages, consider that it is sex which creates the bond/connection between the couple! They delude themselves like, "If they are sleeping together, they are happy"(!). They think the number of nights a couple spend together is directly proportional to the strength of their bond! Even the legal system counts the number of days they have spent together : quantity, rather than quality, is considered important! Going by the limited thinking of the society, Sex is Marriage and Marriage is Sex! Grow up : sex is just a part of coupledom! Also, parents consider their own arranged marriage a 'success' because they have not divorced (Yo!), and hence 'inspire' you to follow the same. Who said a marriage is successful if it does not fall apart? (As if, you-are-healthy-as-long-as-you-do-not-go-to-the-hospital!). Who cares to examine the quality of the relationship? Optionless/gutless previous generation, who could not revert the imposition of an arranged marriage by their own parents' a full generation ago, now want us to plunge into the same siyappa? Their attempts at trying to convince you to follow their footsteps is so hilarious! So, either laugh  off the comedy and put your foot down, or stay in a life-long tragedy. Also, the first-night sex is just over-hyped : your mom will put you on hormonal pills to delay your menstruation if it is due on the reception night, saying it is an ill-omen to "have the dwaar shut on the first darshan opportunity of the husband". 
  • An arranged marriage is a task. Women are expected to behave like Miss India-s : you must always smile, be polite, be sweet, be nice, basically stay quiet in order to maintain peace in the household. You must quickly pick up the ways and norms of her husband's house, and the temperament of the in-laws. You are also expected to improve their son : grow him up, teach him sense of responsibility, make him an adult. You even need to teach him to urinate without leaving yellow spots on the commode! You are expected to arrange her husband's cupboard, handle his laundry, cook for him, remind him of his appointments, remind him to wear the sweater as winter sets in, etc.etc. You have to even get scoldings like a schoolgirl for doing things on your own/without permission. You have to pick up after him and settle the household in order at the end of the day. Then you retire and fearfully lie down next to your husband in bed, holding your breath and waiting to be pounced upon. 
  • You feel suffocated with a stranger. You do not know what to expect of the other person. But you have signed a contract to live with him 24/7. Any healthy relationship, whether legalized or otherwise, cannot be such a stifling activity. An arranged marriage turns out to be exactly that. You feel sick when parents/parents-in-law start doing the thinking (on your behalf), in running your relationship. Your own life is lost somewhere and you start freaking out. Things start happening one after the other without you having any control. Weekends/vacations get filled up with parties, birthdays, anniversaries, get-togethers, Puja-s, festivals, picnics, baby showers.....phew! No time to breathe! You even need to take time off from work to give your attendance in such events. Phone calls from new relatives consume your weekends, which you wanted to spend in privacy. 
  • Online matrimonial sites have 3-month, 6-month, 9-month subscriptions. Really?! How can you decide in a short duration whether you want to spend your lifetime with this person? Even buying car needs at least a month of homework. Lovers date for a few to several years, before settling down. Finding true love is not an overnight decision! The bigger loser is the one who searches for random strangers on online portals. They could not find anyone in their social circle, among their friends-group, not even through extended family contacts!
  • Arranged marriage is a gamble. You throw the dice and whatever comes in your destiny, you accept it. You are supposed to be OK with this uncertainty. 
  • Arranged marriages are against the process of human evolution. Natural selection is inhibited/prohibited, and people are forced to marry the wrong person. 
Marriage is extremely over-hyped in India, involving humongous amounts of money and emotions. We can go easy on the money part, but Indians run high on emotions due to their high-sugar-high-oil-high-salt diet. Too many people get involved in an institution, which should be only for the two people getting married. Relatives near and far start having their say before, during, and after the marriage. Random people decide the names of your children. You suddenly feel you are in a jungle, with too many strangers intruding on your privacy from time to time. There is nothing called couple-privacy in India. Marriage is a social, rather than a personal, institution here. The customary honeymoon is just a temporary compensation : "You both are free to enjoy a few days alone away from the family crowd". 
Time sets everything right....Really?
Do NOT believe those stories about a woman, who is in love with a man, but is forcefully married to someone else by her parents, and then she slowly forgets her lover and start loving her husband. Movies like "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" and "Namastey London" unintentionally show how fickle a woman's mind is, which can be made to flow in any direction! People think, "Pehle shaadi karwa dete hain, dhere dhere understanding ban jayegi dono mein". Parents say, "Give it some time, you will start liking him". Excuse me! Women know who they love and are steadfast in being with him only. All other men of the planet can buzz off! Just because a man loves me does not mean my job is simply to reciprocate! Love is a conscious, proactive choice. The husband can be nice, but if you do not love him, nothing works!
  • NEVER marry if you do not love the person. "Settling" is nothing compared to finding true love. (Even Satyajit Ray conveyed this in "Kanchanjungha" in 1962)
  • Do not buy the sarcastic prophecy : "Indian women first marry, then fall in love". Some naive women are hypnotized to believe sex equals love! No wonder wife-beating thrives with more than half of India (both sexes) OK with it : women are taught that sadism is an expression of "tough love" since school. Do not believe when you dad/mom says, "In due course of time, you will fall in love with him". 
  • You cannot "plan" to fall in love, please! You cannot concoct feelings and "convince" yourself to love somebody. No forced connection ever works. Friendships, too, happen automatically. Are you friends with every person in your workplace? Are you friends with each and every neighbor? Do you connect with each and every relative? No, right? Just because you landed up working together does not a connection make. Similarly, just because others made you enter the same bedroom does not a connection make!
  • Do to believe when mom/dad says, "If you choose your partner yourself, you may end up making the wrong choice. You are too naive and immature. Let us do that for you : we are far more experienced ". Sorry! Parents are not 'far more' experienced. They are only as experienced as their own exposure to the  partner-search exercise, which happened a generation ago : times have changed, inter-personal relationships have changed, society has changed, media has changed, ambitions have changed, people's dreams have changed, people's needs have changed (compare a woman marrying in 1947 for financial security and a woman marrying in 2017 for compatibility, get the picture?) : all the good experience of your parents might have gotten irrelevant. Do NOT count on them.
All crap! Total Bullshit!
When you are a go-getter, who lives life according to her/his own terms, dreams big, wants to build a life by her/his own choice, an arranged marriage should not even be in your radar. "Arranged?!!!"......Are you serious?! First, marriage requires you to be in love. Period. No questions about that. It is as simple as rain cannot happen without water vapor. Second, how the hell will others decide whom you will "fall in love" with ? Even you cannot decide it! The only reason why two people should stay together should be Love, and only love. Arranged marriages should be banned for the happiness of the country and the mental health of the nation. (Did you know 36% of Indians are depressed?
A relationship should bring fulfillment. Only that person, who amplifies your solitude, can be permitted into your life. Only that person, who is more important than your cherished singlehood, should be allowed as your significant other. This person is NOT filling up a vacuum. A relationship is NOT a compensation for a being a social misfit or a recluse. A spouse is NOT for filling up an vacancy.
A true relationship is effortlessly well-balanced. You should give, but also expect to receive. Things should happen naturally and automatically. A true relationship cannot be a Cantilever (See diagram below), which is firmly (stressfully) supported on one side and hanging free on the other! If you are always being the initiator, taking the first step, wearing the pants, and behind the wheel; the best idea is to squash the relationship. Love is not about pain/fights/emotional trials/suffering/crying. Love is NOT a challenge : it is as automatic as Nature. Finding love is not a chase-battle-struggle-frustration-disappointment-depression cycle. Neither is it an indiscriminate search. You cannot choose a person to "fall in" love with! Neither should you get too serious about coupledom soon. Have too high expectation and you will be plunged into pessimism, getting bitter at the world.
Love is not an agenda to be executed! Stop planning to fall in love : it will fizzle out. Do not hypnotize yourself into a relationship. It is not a "methodical" exercise that should be in your To-Do list! Even if you find someone, and start dating, if you are going through the planned,well-thought-out, customary card-gift/roses/Valentines Day/chocolate/Teddy bear routine, you are only playing "romance-romance". 
"Surviving" Singlehood? : No, Cherish it!
Unless you are single by choice (e.g., Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Ex-President), insecurity creeps in. You remain scared that the person will reject you. You lose confidence that someone can actually love you. You feel you are trying to move a mountain. You feel desperate. You grow cynical. You 'punish' the world by your bitterness in advance, before they can hurt you (which you think they anyways will). You feel the world has "punished" you by forced singlehood, and you seek "revenge" by being unsocial or/and hostile.
Heal yourself. Be original. Transform yourself. Focus on your life. Follow your dreams. Don't think too much and take life as it comes. Stop over-planning. Give love to receive love. Don't reciprocate. Love yourself. Remind yourself the following:
  • A spouse is NOT a kaam-chahalu person, that anyone can fit the bill. Do NOT carry you heart on your sleeve, thinking "Yeh nahin to yeh sahi", "Doosri(a) nahin to teesri(a) sahi", etc. Do not downgrade yourself, neither try to 'upgrade' the other person.
  • Be extremely choosy. Never lower your threshold of ideals. Finding love is not a hit-and-trial process. Never be a Dil-Phek (throw your heart). 
  • If you are getting disappointed repeatedly, it is time to change your social circle/place of work/city, basically change your choice in potential partners. You cannot give importance to incompatible people. 
  • Stop imagining just anybody in that significant position in your life. You are unique, and so should be your partner. 
  • Love comes in when you stop waiting for it. Do not expect anything from an arbitrary person. With the right person, you will get love even before you begin to expect. 
  • Happiness is a conscious, proactive choice. Others cannot have the power to make you unhappy. 
  • Your relationship status does not certify your worth, self-esteem, social status, family prestige. It is a private thing. People who use it for these purposes have nothing else going in their lives to feel fulfilled through.
  • Do to let the 'fear' of remaining single lead you to hasty compromises and loss of your identity. You wrongly consider your life to be bland, and in order to spice it up, you let any Tom-Dick-Harry in, and later feel cheap. The quality person is worth waiting for.
Friend-zoning is a reality : the premise of Love is exclusivity. "I love you" is reserved for that significant person in your life : it cannot be dished out to all and sundry. Love and Friendship are different things. No wonder "I love you, but as a friend" is heart-breaking. It is a cruel mish-mash of two distinct relationships. Friendship has been more abused than Love in misunderstandings between people. A good Friendship should not be risked by changing the equations and trying out something that may or may not work out, and finally kill the Friendship itself. Do not give wrong signals to people : make the distinction clear ASAP. Sorry Bollywood, Friendship is NOT Love, and Love is NOT Friendship. Converting Friendship into Love is uncomfortable, and the vice-versa is very painful. Separate them out very neatly, and consistently maintain the stark distinction. For Heaven's sake, do not say "I love you" to a friend. 
At the receiving end, if you are friend-zoned and you did not want to be so, maintain a decent distance. Stay clear and lead your own life.
Chasing does not lead to a true relationship. It is either for lust, or a sense of ego-bolstering, or for social prestige. Obtaining a trophy girlfriend has nothing to do with compatibility, connection, convergence.
Love triangles
1) Triangular theory of Love
Liking = Friendship
Companionate Love = Best Friendship
Infatuate Love = Lust
Empty Love = Arranged marriage, in long-term
Romantic Love = No-Strings-Attached
Fatuous Love = Arranged marriage, in short-term. It includes marital rape, too.

2) Love, Marriage, Sex
Love, Marriage, and Sex (L-S-M) are three corners of the scalene triangle called Relationship. Neither arm and neither angle is equal to the other two. Let's see its combinations. 
  • There can be Love, without Marriage and Sex (Krishna-Draupadi). 
  • There can be Sex, without Love and Marriage (Umrao Jaan). 
  • There can be Marriage, without Love and Sex (Ramakrishna Paramahansa and his wife Sharada).
  • There can be Marriage, without Love (as in 'arranged marriage') and Sex as a one-year assignment to procreate (Vishwamitra-Menaka, Bhim-Hidamba, Arjun-Chitragada). 
  • There can be Love and Sex, without Marriage (Dushyant-Shakuntala, Surya-Kunti, Satyavati-Parashar). 
Love is all-pervading. Sex is its subset. Marriage is just a legalization formality. In India, Love and Marriage are two very different things. Sex is only for reproduction. Many couples couples dwindle their sex lives (a basic, natural need) upon the birth of a child. The sequencing of L-S-M may be different for different people, leading to different experiences. Let's see its permutations. 
  • Love, Marriage, Sex : Under-confident courtship marriage
  • Love; Sex; Marriage : 21st Century
  • Marriage; Sex; Love : OK OK arranged marriage
  • Marriage; Love; Sex : Nice arranged marriage
  • Sex; Marriage; Love(optional) : Khap Panchayat (Watch Rani Mukherjee's debut movie "Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat".)
  • Sex; Love; Marriage : The Western style.
  • Marriage; Sex : typical Indian arranged marriage
  • Love, Sex : No Strings Attached.

Compatibility is the first magic word. No third person can understand why two people are so connected, so resonant, what do they find in each other to stay together, what binds them, and what makes their chemistry rock! When the two of you connect, resonate, and want to stay together, go ahead and do not bother to explain to the remaining 7 billion people on the planet. No person is "right" or "wrong", "good or "bad". It is about who is comfortable with whom, and how much they overlap in temperaments. 
The second magic word is Respect. Love cannot exist without it. You respect the person whom you spend your life with with. You care for the person, you understand the person. You even admire the person. You say to yourself, "This is the person I want to be with. S/he will exponentially enhance the quality of my life." Even when you 'fight', you are on the same side. You respect the individuality of the other person : you never try nor ever need to change him/her.

The third magic word is Chemistry. There is a spark! Your eyes meet and you feel a rush of happiness. You are attracted to each other in every way. The interaction between you both amplifies your very being. You can never have enough of each other. You lose track of time enjoying your togetherness. You want to spend endless time with this person. Sense of humor from either side only consolidates your bond. You share personal and intimate space with the person extremely comfortably.

The final magic word is Commitment. It becomes your second nature. You both are in your own beautiful world, where no third person steps in. You cannot imagine life without the other person.

Go Ahead! Find Love! Find the Right Person! Refuse to live a farce. Seek your own happiness. You deserve it!



Astar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Just wow.
I wish more people wake up from their sleep and become conscious enough to realise what Marriage really means.
You've missed the point on Dowry concept that is present in states like Bihar, UP etc.
Beta engineer hai. . .20 lakh toh chahiye he!! 😂

Unknown said...

Thankyou for writing this. I'm going to show my boyfriend who has succumbed to arranged marriage.

Bonobology said...

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Subramanyam Vasupalli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Subramanyam Vasupalli said...

Great writing.
Highly influential :)