Ok, so there’s this case of a young couple who are in love and are facing some pretty bad opposition from their families in order to end it all. But thankfully, due to the prevailing of some better sense (and some serious efforts in persuasion from yours truly), they finally decided to marry.
So, just the other day, I suddenly got a call that all was decided and they would be marrying in the quick way which such couples usually have to resort to ultimately. As I was needed as a witness, I had to leave immediately for the destination.
Since all this was a hush-hush affair, there wasn’t anyone else who would be there to give some much needed confidence and support to the marrying couple. Not even our other friends. So, I decided to hook along one of our close friends who was visiting his family during the Puja holidays.
All I told him over the phone was that we were going to attend a wedding. Whose, I did not tell. I promised to let the secret out once we met at the bus station.
I found him inspecting the vacant seats of a bus when I reached there. As he caught sight of me, he gave me that look which said, “You have some explaining to do… and pretty fast”. I smiled and suggested that we find seats for ourselves first.
We had hardly been seated when he threw the flood of question at me. I had to break this slowly to him, for I knew about his history of being really bad at taking surprises. More so, this would be surely a shock rather than a surprise.
But experience isn’t everything. Because, hardly had I revealed the name of our mutual friend (who was getting married), his eyes bulged out of their sockets and he jumped almost bumping his head on the luggage rack above his seat. A classic example of watching someone jump even while he is seated…
After a few minutes, when things had probably started to sink in, and also the bus had started moving, did I see him coming back to life once again. The following is the conversation we had between us after that.
Me : So…. ??
Friend : This is not right !
Me : What is not right ?
Friend : They shouldn’t marry like this…
Me : But there’s no other option…
Friend : How will their parents feel…
Me : They’ll feel bad. Obviously.
Friend : They should think of their parents who’ve done so much for them all these years…
Me : Hmmm…
Friend : They should have thought about all the problems before starting their relationship…
Me : When love strikes, the brain is always in deep slumber. Love is not a decision. You cannot decide emotions.
I just remembered my earlier post ‘Decision or Emotion…’
Friend : How can they just forget about their parents… ??
Me : Who said they are forgetting their parents ? Or they would forget after marrying ? Why is it that everything that they’ve done for their parents is calculated on the basis of this one decision… ?? Would everything they’ve done for their parents get wiped off just by their decision to marry… ??
Friend : I mean why can’t they think of what their parents wish for them.
Me : Isn’t their wish in this matter unreasonable ?
Friend : Why ??
Me : What’s the shortcoming in the boy or the girl ? Just that they were born in different communities ?
Friend : Still. They are trying to make their lives at the expense of their parents.
Me : How do you mean ?
Friend : Their parents have to live in this society.
Me : Yes. So… ?
Friend : They have to be answerable to the society.
My hand twitched to hit something in a fit of irritation….
Friend : It will be a difficult life for their parents.
Me : Leaving this case aside, have you ever seen anyone from the caste/community come forward to help one of their own in times of any difficulty ? But yes, they’ll be right there to criticize once a person does something off track.
Friend : Still…
Me : Still what… ? Tell me. Is pleasing one’s own community more important than the happiness of one’s children ?? That community which gives a damn to everything once the wedding dinner gets over….
Friend : Have their parents done all that they have done to deserve this ?
Me : Deserve what ? If they both give the utmost care and respect to their own and each other’s parents after their marriage, is that a raw deal ?
Friend : And how long have they known each other ?
Me : A little over three months.
Friend : How can they expect to know each other so well in such a short time that they expect everything to go nicely ?
Me : Hadn’t A****** (another mutual friend of ours) met his wife just for an hour and decided to marry her. Is it valid just because theirs was an arranged meeting through their parents ? In most arranged marriages still, most couples meet each other for a few hours once or twice. How then, is that considered to be a good prognosis for a happy married life ?
Friend : Still how can they put their lives in each other’s hands… ? Parents know best as they are experienced.
I thought of reminding him that he hadn’t known the driver of our bus well enough too before putting his life in his hands. The way these drivers drive these days, it’s really like putting our lives in their hands. But I decided against telling him this.
Me : Usually parents look for a decent reputed family, financial stat…
He chipped in…
Friend : Yes. A reputed family background. That’s not a wrong criteria to look for.
Me : Agreed. But does a reputed family background guarantee a boy or a girl with a good moral character ?
And I named a few such examples from good families whom we had seen and experienced in college.
Friend : In an arranged marriage it is not just the couple but the bonding of two families…
Me : So, is that bonding between two families more important even if the couple are not a good match and are not happy being together... ?? And if the couple themselves cannot bond, how can you expect the families to bond... ??
Friend : Do you mean to say arranged marriages are wrong ?
Me : No. In fact they are the best possible option for certain people. I’ll tell you which people. They are the best for people who have never loved. Those who are happy to live with a person who has been searched according to the criteria they and their family have. Those who want a simple life with a partner who can manage the aspects of married life according to their own and their family’s needs in life.
Friend : So ?? Aren’t arranged marriages more successful ?
Me : If you consider success by two people living together just because they are wedlocked, then I don’t agree. There are so many examples where the couple can’t stand the sight of each other. But are still together. Either for the sake of family or for the sake of their children. You can call that a successful marriage. But I won’t. But then again, there are numerous examples of successful arranged marriages too. But it’s absolutely wrong to arrange a marriage elsewhere for someone who is already in love with another person.
Friend : They are resisting their family’s wish to get married elsewhere. I know its difficult. But after marriage, everything becomes fine. Everyone forgets and moves on in life.
Me : How do you know… ??
Friend : Why ?? Isn’t A*** (another mutual friend) happy ? He got married as per his parent’s wishes. He forgot his love.
Me : Hmmm… It may be possible for boys to forget and ‘move on’. But I guess it’s not so with girls. And I have ample proof to support my statement which unfortunately I cannot divulge. It’s easier for boys more so because they have the upper hand in a marriage.
Friend : Huh…
Me : And by any chance, a guy gets to know that his wife had an affair before marriage, which most often he does, then life’s nothing short of hell for that girl. Is it right to ruin the life of one’s own daughter just for some false honor… ??
Friend : Hmmm…
Friend : But if I were in a similar case, I wouldn’t have done this…
Me : That’s why you are not in a similar case…
Friend : I would never approve of my children marrying into another community…
Me : Well, I hope such a situation never arises. But I know you’ll love your children more than anything else.
Friend : You may say what you like. But caste/religion/community does matter.
I wished to ask him if he knew what caste or religion or community was the vendor in the bus from whom he had purchased the bottle of cold-drink earlier which he was busy sipping now.
Me : I know parents do all they can for the good of their children. And also that children do all they can for their parents. But they should be allowed to take this one decision of their life.
Me : They are making a difference. And I’m with them in this. That’s how some stupid mindsets would eventually be eradicated from our country.
Me : And you are with us too in this. Aren’t you ??
Friend : Hmmm… Yes. I am. Why do you think I’m accompanying you…
My smile broadening….
Friend : But…
Me : It’s not wrong… !