Are you of the age group where, if you open Facebook or Instagram, you’ll find a post about one of your peers getting married? Are you that unfortunate soul who is still stuck in the loop of searching for the ‘Perfect One’ via the arranged marriage system?
If so, may God give you the courage to deal with all that you are facing right now. Believe it or not, for some unlucky souls, this period can be one of the most difficult times in their life. From questioning oneself every time they face rejection to listening to society’s jarring advice, life is not all that perfect for them.
While it is easy to look from the outside and see people get married, there is a lot of struggle, confusion, inner conflict and family battles that go into reaching the wedding stage. A marriage is a decision that lasts (at least, meant to last) a lifetime and it is not to be made within a given deadline. For the relatives and nattukar, the fun, frolic and sadhya last a day but for the couple, the marriage may either be a fruitful partnership or a prison sentence.
Let us explore some of the nagging advice/judgements that you will come across.
Number of candidates considered for the Swayamvar
‘One’ is a golden number in an Arranged Marriage System. When you get married to the first person you meet, it is a dream come true for your relatives and nattukar. And this particular couple is bestowed as the living example of how to find your partner at the speed of making that 2-minute Maggie noodles.
The number of “rejections” is a metric that your relatives will use to judge even if you are a Sanskari person or the Black sheep of the family. The higher the number, the more disgrace you bring to your family name. And on your wedding day, you are sure to hear the following comment “Oh, ithu 30th proposal aanathare. Enthu kandit aavo ithu select cheythe. Kaanan ottum gunam illa.”
The proverb, “Chottayile Sheelam Chudala Vare“, is applicable to these people. Neither can you change their minds nor can you silence them. So practice Mahatma Gandhi’s “See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil” in such cases.
Also Read: Would You Marry A Woman Older Than You?
Marriage is all about compromises
This is one of the best-selling pieces of advice available in the Arranged marriage market. You will hear various examples of couples who are different but live in harmony with a baby. In such scenarios, please ensure to pay extra attention to the presence of a ‘baby’.
Some advisers even fix a percentage to the degree of compromise that is acceptable. “Oru 50% compromise okke cheyanam nalla oru relationshipine vendi.” But unfortunately, no one clarifies how to measure or quantify compromise. While the word ‘Compromise’ is not a negative term, selling the idea of marriage based on such a condition is definitely not a healthy deal.
If you go to the store to purchase shampoo, you will find various options: ayurvedic, dandruff protection, smooth and shiny, protein ++, etc. And we all have our preferences based on the cost, usage, look or feel. When for a simple shampoo we have so many choices and don’t have to settle for a compromise, how can today’s generation be advised that a lifelong decision is all about compromises?
Who do you think you are?
There are some very ‘open minded’ families, who say practical statements like: “We will not force you, take your time, get to know the person and only then make the decision”. But what happens once you reject the third arranged marriage prospect?
It’s the time to DISCO (to put you down and kill your confidence). And how do they do that?
“Have you seen yourself in the mirror? You are of dusky complexion.”
“You’ll have kashandi soon. So better get married before that.”
“You are not an engineer or a doctor, you should make some adjustments.”
“Your jaadakam has issues, we should try to adjust with whoever it matches with.”
“You know you have that disease, not everyone will accept you because of it.”
“We are not that financially well-off, this is a good prospect, they will take care of us.”
Some of these statements can pierce straight through your heart and leave you bleeding to death. But understand that putting you down and forcing you to take away your choice is wrong. What these well-meaning families do to you is not acceptable. It’s your life, you have to live with the repercussions, so hold your head high and make your own choices.
People younger than you are getting married
Comparison is the favourite hobby for most Indians. Be it in the area of education, job, clothes or even complexion. So even if you are the CEO of a company or have climbed the Himalayas, don’t be surprised if you get compared with a random stranger who got married at 21. Our culture is rooted in ‘family values’ and if you fail to uphold this expectation, you are a disappointment in the eyes of the well-meaning society.
Unfortunately, since we are yet to invent the time machine, we just cannot go back and marry early. So maybe this set of advisors are destined to live with this grief, while you will continue to hear statements like “Mukkil pallu vannit aano thaan kalyanam kayikuka?!”.
You will end up all alone
If good-hearted advice doesn’t work, they resort to instigating fear in you. What is more fearful than the thought of growing old alone? Who will look after you if you don’t have a partner and children? Quite an exciting and through-provoking question, isn’t it?
Well, let us teach this set of advisors how to use Google:
Open a browser
Type in google.com
Once that magnificent search box appears, type in words like divorce, marital rape, nursing homes, and parents abused by children.
After reading the results you’ll see, you’ll wonder if ending up all alone is actually the worst thing that can happen to a person.
The expiry date is nearing
This is another famous and widely used pressure building tactic. In a matrimonial scenario, the expiry date in question could be plenty: it could be your age, the appropriate breeding time, or even the matrimonial paid subscription period. Be ready to bid farewell to your peace of mind as the deadline for these is near.
Practising yoga, planning a retreat to Kasi or even doing a Shayana Pradakshinam may help to reinstate peace during such times. Hold on strongly to God for support, because only the ‘Good Boy/Girl’ image can help you during this hard time. Try breaking some coconuts also to earn extra brownie points.
All the above-mentioned judgements/advice are like minefields. Once you accidentally decide to accept these, no one can save you from the upcoming explosion. In an arranged marriage setup, tread carefully and keep a minimum of two feet distance from such health hazards.
Also Read: Why I No Longer Oppose Arranged Marriages