The author is a small-town girl working in a big city, alternating between Bridget Jones and Amrita Rao from 'Vivah'. Her parents, progressive and liberal in every other aspect, go full-on Amirsh Puri from DDLJ where marraige is concerned. Thanks to them and to her own conflicted self, she has spent the last year trying out the arranged marraige expereiment. Here are her takeaways. which she has kept anonymous because she still needs to find a guy from the same pool she has not exactly praised below.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single Indian woman above 27 is disastrously late for marriage, and her parents are frantically trying to remedy the situation.
The woman is now being bombarded with phone numbers and photos, her father playing the role of caste-correct Tinder.
This is a shadowy, scary world. (Photo: Reuters/file)
This particular woman spent 2018 knocking around in the arranged marriage arena — and learnt some profound truths. Here are some (reductive and generalised) nuggets of my wisdom.
The Revenge Of The Nerds
The arranged marriage market is where the nerd empire strikes back — and how. All the boys you had ignored in high school have IIT/IIM degrees now, and have become hot property. Hopeful fathers are thanking them for their time and promising them dowries. The Abhishek who didn’t dare approach Priyanka in school is looking at her CV — and rejecting her for not being fair and lovely enough. Though the mills of God grind slowly, they grind exceeding small.
We Didn’t Need No Education
Our education system and society have been terribly unfair to boys. Since Class 8, Abhishek was taught to train his gaze at IITs (or AIIMS). His PCM textbooks replaced any other interests he might have had. Abhishek now has fancy degrees — but few hobbies and fewer interests and little he can talk about.
Our education system and society have been unfair to everyone — but specially to boys. (Photo: Reuters/for representation)
Also, since one of the biggest decisions of his life — his career — was thrust on him before he could explore what he liked, he is not much used to questioning — or thinking — for himself.
Everyone Loves ‘Traveling’
A lot of the men I met said they loved travelling, but when asked why they would want to go to a particular place, they didn’t have clear answers. What I've concluded is that travelling is the path of least resistance. Other hobbies — reading, sports — demand some backgrounding (or so the world believes). But anyone can pick a destination from a ‘must go’ listicle. And from there, post pictures with #MountainsAreCalling.
Bunny Is A Terrible Idol, People
A lot of men told me they were tired of responsibilities and would love to ‘keep wandering’ or ‘run off to the mountains’. Tip — not a good idea telling your prospective wife your deepest desire is to ditch home and hearth the first chance you get.
Bunny from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is the householder of no one's dreams. (Photo: YouTube/screengrab)
Bunny from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is NOT #goals.
Yes, All Men. Almost
All men are issued an entitlement package sometime in their teens. The wokest of dudebros will let slip something like ‘Of course I will allow my wife to work’, or sulk if you tell him you can’t talk in office. If you point this out to them, they’ll be supremely hurt and mansplain to you that your concept of women’s rights is wrong.
The arranged marriage market is no fairground.
It is an aag ka dariya, and you must sink before you learn to float. At least, that's the hope that's keeping me afloat through 2019.