Nuptial Crisis and Modern Indian Marriages

When a film like “What's Your Raashee?” releases, Chetan Bhagat’s new (4th) book’s release date is just a few hours away which draws inspiration from his inter-state love marriage, your youngest uncle finally (yes finally!) is ready to “tie the knot” next month and you have recently turned 21, i.e., now a legally eligible bachelor (*wink*), the most pertinent question which is likely to haunt you could be necessarily related to your marriage. Hence, the result is a fictional account on marriage!

Rajesh, a typical NRI who left India at the age of 21 in pursuit of financial stability and exotic lifestyle after doing his engineering from “BITS Pilani” was worried while returning back to Lucknow after 5 long years. His disturbed mood was due to the pressure from parents’ side to get married soon. Firstly, he was not at all ready for marriage and secondly, he didn’t have much faith in the institution of arranged marriage in India which was his only route to get married so soon as he haven’t dated a single girl in his life including his 5 year of stay at United States.

Scene of “Modern Arranged Marriage” in India:
A girl/boy is found through some so-called reliable sources like matchmaker, matrimonial sites, or even relatives and friends. Till this point, it’s completely comprehensible but the real problem starts now. The girl/boy in consideration should be of same caste, different clan (Gotra) and preferably of same state too. After these two screening stages, an astrologist is consulted to match the horoscopes of the prospective bride and groom and after a green signal from the expert the parents fix an almost blind date in which the boy and girl have to give a final agreement or reject the proposal. The matching of horoscopes could also be done after the approval of both the sides.
This weird looking algorithm to arranged marriage really skewed Rajesh’s belief about the traditional marriage in India. However, he also wanted to have a partner to fulfil his physical and emotional cravings so he agreed.

Why against “Arranged Marriage”?
Educated youth like Rajesh not necessarily NRI’s do find arranged marriage strange but lack the guts and conviction to revolt against the wishes of parents and succumb to the emotional pressure. They simply don’t like the whole complex procedure of marriage, in which clan, caste, state and some imaginary concept like horoscope is prioritised much higher than the compatibility of boy and girl.

Why “Love marriage” is not an option?
There is a concept called maturity and lack of experience. Supporters of “Arranged Marriage” argue that people in their 20s are not matured enough to use their inadequate experience to choose the right bride/groom. There is one more concept of “surprises and new experiences”. They say when people don’t know each other before marriage, everything is new in marriage and each day brings surprises which strengthens the nuptial bond compared to “Love Marriage” in which there is no such surprise as they say!

However, I say “are maturity and experience that important”? Haven’t they heard that “Experience is a comb which life gives us when we are bald”?... In metropolitan India, teenagers are generally well aware about their career-plans, so are able to convince their parents in contrast to sub-urban and rural folks. This is where the actual problem lies!

That “surprises and new experiences” concept could also turn a nightmare to deal with as all surprises and new experiences are not pleasant.

BTW, how could I forget to mention the witty sugarcane analogy?
Sometimes, parents are equally wise enough to convince their sons/daughters to take the path of “Arranged Marriage”. The sugarcane analogy goes like this. The sugarcane is meatiest and sweetest at the bottom and loses its thickness and sweetness as we go up, and in love marriages it’s like eating the sugarcane from the bottom. So, it feels very romantic and perfect at the beginning but gradually differences start coming and it is similar to chewing the tasteless thin sugarcane which is only water at the top. In arranged marriage, it is the reverse and surprisingly it works for most of the Indian couples!

So, Rajesh was confused and was going through what we call “Pre marital blues”.

Rajesh tweeted: I don’t want to marry :(

Shriya replied: @Rajesh what happened?

Rajesh: @Shriya “Arranged Marriage sucks” and I don’t have a girlfriend :(

Shriya: @Rajesh heeheee!

Rajesh: @Shriya don’t laugh, help me with some ideas to escape this mess

(Phone Rings!)

Rajesh picked up the call. “Hey! How are you?” Shriya asked. Rajesh shared the
problem with her and Shriya said “Don’t worry! I’m coming to Lucknow in 3 days; we’ll sort out the problem. Bye! Take Care!” Shriya comforted Rajesh as he went back to his laptop.

Shriya tweeted: uploaded new photos @orkut (link).

Rajesh as every other internet user clicked the link but left the tab open and went to attend the call of nature.

Rajesh’s mother entered the room and looked at Shriya and found nobody in the room. She left the room shouting “Rajesh! Rajesh!”...

Rajesh sees her pictures and immediately memories of childhood started coming to him in flashes.

After 3 Days...

Rajesh and Shriya are talking at Rajesh’s room. Shriya tries to put some “desi-gyaan” into Rajesh’s thought process. Shriya sensed it all was going in vain.
“Do you love anyone? Crushes?” Shriya finally asked the most important question.
“No” Rajesh replied in a plaintive voice.
“I think you are in the wrong place then” Shriya tried to make some good logic
“Are you ready for marriage?” Shriya asked annoyingly
“Don’t know” Rajesh was getting more confused.

The whole conversation was being heard by Rajesh’s mother...

What followed next...?

Any guesses?


To cut the long story short, Rajesh’s mother and father met Shriya’s parents, discussed all the matters. As a matter of coincidence, Shriya and Rajesh are of different clans and of same castes with matching horoscopes. Initially, Rajesh hesitated but soon his feelings for his first crush came to fore and he fell in love with Shriya.
Rajesh and Shriya lived happily ever after...

Lesson learnt:

It is either love or arranged, marriages are made in heaven. So, both have equal odds of succeeding. Ideally, one should leave everything to his/her fate and use his heart and a little bit of wisdom.
As with Rajesh and Shriya, your love could very well be arranged...

If interested in reading further, click on these links for articles:
1.A modern guide to arranged marriages

2. Pre Marital Blues

3.First Comes Marriage, Then Comes Love

PS: I don't know what will be the reaction of my family members after reading this post.

PS: God Save Me!