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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Falling In (Arranged) Love

Marriage. The very word conjures up images of drunk relatives, annoying in-laws, wailing babies and (subconsciously) divorce lawyers, at least among people of my age group. To us, bringing up marriage in a conversation inevitable ends with the unanimous conclusion that marriage is for 'later', and that anyone getting married 'now' is just foolish and throwing their life away.

This was all well and good, until something strange started happening to all my anti-marriage friends. They all started dying, one by one, under mysterious circumstances, and at every death there was a small bouquet of dead flowers left over their bodies.

Fine, they didn't. But they were definitely falling prey to the very demon they so adamantly denounced. One by one, they were either getting married or trying to get married!

Now this puts a whole different spin on the discussion. You see, our greatest fears had come true: 'later' had become 'now'! Suddenly all the staunch protests against the 'institute of marriage' and its so-called use as an 'instrument introduced by society to suppress the something or the other' vanish behind a cloud of 'I wonder what kind of colour scheme I want for the reception'. Or, in the guy's case, the boasting about freedom is replaced with talk about settling down and picking out a 'safe neighbourhood'.

Needless to say, it's all very confusing. I suddenly find myself hesitating before I make a 'wedding joke'; after all, you never quite know if the person you're joking with is secretly browsing potential brides/grooms profiles on the internet at night. And that is exactly my point.

You see, without our knowledge, we suddenly arrived at the stage in life where people DO get married, if not the guys then definitely for the girls in my group of friends. But no one told us that the rules had changed from our carefree years in college. Arranged marriages have become oh-so-fashionable these days, with both girls and guys having no qualms about posting their details on the internet and literally inviting all callers. I always assumed that the biggest challenge in getting married would be deciding whether or not the person you're with at the time really IS the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. Instead, it's more about wording your 'requirements' in a way that will get you the best possible 'candidates'. Does anyone else get the reality TV vibe?

I have nothing against arranged marriages. Some of the happiest couples I know were the result of an arranged marriage. I guess it's just surprising to see exactly how many people are willingly settling for an arranged marriage, especially the so-called independent women that not too long ago simply laughed at the thought of letting their parents decide who they marry. For some it's merely a way to avoid the drama of dating and actually meeting someone and then going through all the trouble of making your parents like him/her. For others they blame the pressures of society and other vague 'powers' and simply shrug their shoulders in resignation.

It's all rather depressing, really.

Delilah wrote an interesting post here about love and logic, and I sort of agree with her in certain areas. However, I feel we've all become just too damn lazy and too damn impatient, and so we celebrate our 24th birthday by uploading a profile on a marriage website or sending out our "marriage CV's" into the aunty-network. Sure, it's socially and even culturally accepted here, but really, why settle for the easy way out?


Scrumpulicious said...

If someone is ready to get married, I don't think they want to shut off any avenues. The way I see it what's the difference between your friends setting you up and your parents/relatives setting you up?

Or what's the difference between a matrimonial website or meeting someone in a club and getting to know them?

It might be the easy way out but the amount of heartbreak and grief that some people go through - why wouldn't you want an easy way out?

Hi Gehan! *waves*

Sachintha said...

Dude. Tell me about it.

I'm so fucken annoyed with my mom these days for the exact same reason. She just wouldn't stop it, reminding me every opportunity she gets that all her friends' children are getting married and so should I.

Oh gimme a break.

PseudoRandom said...

That's how you celebrated your birthday?! Erm...dude... :P

I agree with the comment that people have become too impatient. We live in an age of instant gratification, and people want results with minimum effort. And what's the best way of doing that in this case? Get your parents to do it! And from what some guys have told me, fooling around with all the girls in town while their mothers go 'bride shopping' is the done thing nowadays.

The Puppeteer said...

I don't have to worry about that... I've two sisters to go before me, and the oldest is going on 29! =D

Practically all my friends are married though, and they've already had their 2nd kid! But they're actually quite happy. So I guess, if they really want to get hitched and aren't being forced into it, it's all good.

As for me... I'm still young! I need to have some fun! And...of course sort out my studies and career... *ahem* =P

pissu perera said...

i think the whole concept of arranged marriages have changed from what it was during our grandparents' time. it is now less about letting your parents "choose" the person you marry and more about letting them look for the someone who you might marry. meaning, i could be wrong here, but i feel there is more room for the choice of the individual involved. in that sense i can see how and why the "so called independent women" also go with it. i can also see why people are open to it as a way of meeting new people, especially if you're looking to get married.

that said, i think the de facto barter system we have going on in the form of the marriage proposals in the papers are appalling. i would have a huge problem if i were to be commoditised like that. internet sites are a step up, i feel, since they (i assume) talk about the person as a person instead of in relation to his/her educational qualifications and net worth.

Delilah said...

scary shit this arranged marriage business:/
but lately i've noticed how most people request a 'getting to know' period which i'm sure helps.
Also i guess it makes sense to make use of these 'introductions' if you lack the opportunity to meet potential partners eg. people who work/ study abroad.
done the right way even the arranged relatioships can prove successful and convenient.
thanks for the mention btw :)

Cadence said...

I still can't personally deal with the 'arranged marriage' system here, regardless of how socially and culturally accepted it is.

But! I do get why some people willingly go for it too...and there's no harm done at all. In fact rationally looking at it, it makes a helluva lotta sense. Very practical and matter of fact.
My personal dilemma... is that what marriage ultimately deserves? Simplicity, convenience and rationalisation? Sure it'll make the engine run smoother but I believe marriage is much more than that. So yes, I doubt I'd settle for the easy way out either.

And errr no we didn't celebrate our 24th b'days like that! :P

who else but me said...

:D turned 25 this year and yet to upload pic onto matrimonial site...although considering my parents and their recent antics i wont be surprised if there's a pic of me lurking somewhere out there! :S anyways i have nothing against ppl getting arranged married but for me personally that's a NO-NO. hell i even hate it when friends try to set me up. But having come out of a loooong relationship last year, and all my best friends getting married off, the pressure to get married at this age is right up there. the pressure however is more a social one than personal. my parents are worried and being single at this point in my life, does bother me (sometimes) particularly when you go to weddings (which i've been going for plenty lately) and ppl ask "so when are you getting married?" and i say "not anytime soon" and then they ask "anything even in the pipeline?" and i have to blush and go "no". so i understand ppl settling for whatever way because let's face it, especially in SL, where there is no dating culture or that sort of thing, finding someone is no easy task. but yea, being arranged is not my thing, cos i want a real nice love story to tell my kids when they ask me "how did you and daddy meet?" rather than "well aachi and seeya found him for me!" :D

Gehan said...

scrumpy: well, my point is not so much that its happening but rather how common it has become, and that instead of it being merely an alternative, it has now become the go-to method to get married... as for matrimonial websites, in NO WAY is that similar to meeting a guy at a club! personal experience trumps online persona anytime in my opinion..

as for the heart ache etc.. agreed, u have a point there...

hey ya scrumpy waves :D

sachintha: lol yeah moms are persistent aren't they? :D

PR: err no thats NOT how i spent MY bday :P and seriously, wat kinda boys do u hang out with?! :P

puppeteer: sure.. 'career'... :P dnt worry, ur time will come.. bookmark this post for future reference :D

pp: agreed, it may be more flexible nowadays, but that just points to the acceptance of arranged marriages as well.. as for internet sites and advertisements, i believe there's no difference in that sense.. its all about selling urself, and a website doesnt do more to 'personalise' an individual...

delilah: agreed, the 'getting to know' period does help, and as i mentioned in the post, im not against the form... i know many ppl who are happily married after being 'arranged'..

and ur welcome :)

cadence: yes well neither did i, hello, humour anyone?? :P

WEBM: yes the lack of romance does kinda suck i assume... :)

Middle Child said...

I might settle. I haven't found 'true love' and I'm getting too old. and truth be told, I am worried I am going to be completely alone. simple, isn't it? :)

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