Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An Arranged Wa(ge)r..?

Coming from the family I come from, I grew up all this time without any disillusions of my marriage. I knew that mine would be the quintessential arranged marriage where my choice would predominantly be limited to the colour of my muhoortham-Saree's and designs on the front cover of my invitation card, and I've had absolutely no reservations whatsoever. My parents trust(ed) me for that, and I did too, more than them.

Of late however, I'm beginning to find the very institution of arranged marriages rather questionable. Despite growing up with the sense of security that parents do only whats 'best', I've suddenly started to wonder if thats just a chancy promise they 'hope' to live up to. After all, there are myriad things that are just not under their control.

Tell me, of all the dubious assumptions one makes during the entire process of an arranged marriage, can one afford to 'assume' the temprement or the sanity of the boy/girl? How can one afford to take that for granted?

There was this friend's friend of mine whom I knew...knew as in just plain acquaintances- as she was this major diva in our common circles, very popular, daring and talented while I was..well, lets just say that I was not your typical Hanna Montanah;)
She passed out of a ranking university and got into a top notch company. Last I heard is that she gets beaten up like crazy by her husband for no reason at all. Her's was an arranged marriage.

Case of assumed-stable temperments eh?

Its one thing to fall in love, get married, and then regret it. But its a totally different thing to marry the person your folks tell you to, and then regret it and feel trapped for the rest of your life. The thing is, you cant really blame yourself here, unlike the former case, or blame your parents as that would be truly unfair... So what do you blame? Who do you blame? What is the solution to incompatibility? Compromise?

Let me tell you, I'm not playing sides here with the trite love-marriage-aa-arranged-marriage-aa discussion. I'm beyond all that. Its just that for a person who'd had unadulterated faith in the system of arranged marriages, I'm rather disappointed that I have to start reconsidering its credibility.

Also, I've been thinking, did Adi Shankara really know what he was talking about when he quoted :

निजगृहात्तूर्णं विनिर्गम्यताम्

(Walk out of your home soon )

You know what? I'm thinking too much... God, where's that can of Ice-cream?

48 Confounded-souls had something to say:

Thanu said...

Arranged marriage or love marriage it doesn't matter. People should have the courage to walk out of marriage when things do not work. I'm not saying at the first argument pack up and leave, but never stay in a marriage if a spouse is abusive or unfaithful.

That is what lacks in our society now, divorced couples are looked down upon.

Anonymous said...

I would say - Prefer a combo.

Option 1 : Get to know the arranged one well before you marry. So you have time to change your mind in case of need...

Option 2 : Get to arrange your parents a person whem you feel is good for u. If Things fall in line, Speak with him & go ahead.

& Always be Bold & stand up to what you want & what you prefer.

What ever it is speak to the person very cleary of what you want & what he wants & if its fine with you, go ahead.

Just understand something, no one is perfect. See what he is today & what & how we will be tomorrow esp with you. Dont see his past. Everyone has a time when they will change...

& reg ur friend's husband, i personally feel only people who cant manage preassure & themselves and also people who try to show their dominance... etc indulge in such things... Something like MCP...

He probably is not fit to be a man who shows his powers to a woman... esp his wife, that too at home.

A man must control thorough his love affection & the woman must feel compelled... That is a true relationship...Just the look of his eyes & face must make his spouse understand him & it should be vice-versa too...

PS : I can personally show u love marriages falling apart at the speed of sound & light... just as i could show you cases of arranged ones...

mmm... Lady, I gotto think too..
Bells will ring soon... i guess..
I hope option 2 will work for me... :) Lemme c.!
Trust Hope FATE & GOD - 4 things i always beleive in.

-- Oops.! ( U can reply stating Oops if you wnat, but not on my true name :) - U know me, Right ! )

Ok said...

What sort of a guy will hit his wife! I am pretty sure he would be really normal when you meet him socially. Guys, I tell you. Sigh!


*~ Mayth!!~* said...

@Thanu: Thats very true. Our societ's women have an innate ability to burry their sorrow and pain and not come out bold with it.

As much as I'd hope that divorce is not looked down upon with so much disdain, I'd also wish that all marriages never had to go to that stage.

@oops- I guess that could be a thought. But sometimes, not everyone;s lucky to have these congenial conditions to get to know his/her future counterpart well.

@OK- You said it boss. Guy..sigh! ;)

Divya said...

hey lady!!!


you have taken the words out of my mind and placed it here.... ok i have no instances of a bad/abusive arranged marriage which has made me think.... but just when moi parents actually started the "process" that thoughts and further thoughts triggered by these thoughts raised questions which are unforutunately not answered.... or maybe just partially answered....

anyways.... confused.........

now let me go read the rest of the blog!!

PS: hope u understood which Divya this is!

Mridhulaa said...

*standing ovation*

could not have put it better myself....

although my parents will disown, disinherit and disembowel me if i get serious with some guy they don't know

ok, what am i saying....i'm only fifteen.

i'm probably a "kutti-papa" in your eyes, but heck, in my opinion, marriage need not even be louwe or arranged but maybe just an agreement between 2 people who know each other well to spend their lives together for security and companionship. It's just that the parents and kith of the people in question must be able to respect their decision.

(whew, that is the most profound statement i have ever made)

*~ Mayth!!~* said...

@Divya: I hope I havent confused you or anything. These were just thoughts that were running in my head yesterday thats all :)

btw....I'm afraid I'm not sure which Divya you are...a sirname would help :)

@Mridhula: For a 15 year old you arent doing that bad ;) Your right....marriage is predominantly based on compatibility more than anything..even love itslef. Its too late at times to realise that.

--xh-- said...

what i feel is, marriage is a gambling, whetehr it is love por arranged. to a certain extent, we can make sure that the guy/girl we choose will suit us, but there are lot of things which r out of control. an ideal way will be an arranged marraige, where you get time to know the guy girl before tying the knot....
now, if you have finished with teh ice cream, pass the pack to me... :)

narendra shenoy said...

My two bits worth

Actually, I could write reams about this, but I'll keep it snappy. I've had an arranged marriage and a very happy one, thank god. Yet quite a few of these go belly-up, leaving the horoscope junkies wondering why.

Most normal people will respect each other. You can see it everywhere - at school, at work - why not in marriage?

I think that is because most Indian men are culturally conditioned to resent an equal status for women. Unfortunately, women these days are not only frequently their equals, they are occasionally vastly superior. This is when the Indian man starts hitting below the belt. Taking offense at her every word, seeing impropriety in her every action, till she submits and acknowledges her inferiority.
Gloomy, huh? But not to worry. Here is Shenoy's recipe for minimizing the risk of marrying an ogre.
1. If the guy is vain in any way, avoid him like poison. Especially guys who think they look like Akshay Kumar. Even if they do look like Akshay Kumar.
2. Go for a guy with a sense of humor that involves making fun of himself rather than ridiculing others
3. Go for a guy who comes from an educated family.
4. Avoid guys who don't look you in the eye.
5. Avoid guys who show signs of being opinionated - unable to see other people's points of view

Do you think I sound like a boring middle aged man with too much time on his hand? You do? Congratulations! You are a fine judge of people and you will do well in life.

Sathish said...


I totally agree with Mr or Ms oops.. You can stop whats gonna happen, but certainly u can have control over that!

I would take enough time to know the other person, and make sure she knows me well, before taking the step further. And then make every move together after that..

Mark IV said...

murder is a likely option. and theres always the option to keep a round the clock bouncer by your side. that way you are protected from injuries + you get good service on your drinks...

or marry a total 'maanga' guy and scare the shit out of him the first day. and live upto it for the rest. probably some one of his frnds wld write abt their acquaintance being all hunky dory and now having his bones broken by his evil wife.. but isn't that the circle of life?!! :-)

*~ Mayth!!~* said...

@xh: Agree with you. Gambling it is. Ice cream on its way. :D

@ Mr.Narendra Shenoy: Am honoured to get a comments from an expert blogger such as you Saab. :) Your points have been indeed enlighteing. Except the Aksahy Kumar part...that will be a bit difficult yo ignore ;)

@Sathish: Yes that seems to be a sensible thought. :) Nice to see you here :)

*~ Mayth!!~* said...

@Mark: Thank you Mark. That was a very thoughtful piece of advice. I'll remember to call you when I need someone exclusively to screw up my marriage. When it happens of course :P ;) hehe..

Ramanujam R S said...

Whom to blame when an arranged marriage fails? யோசிக்க வேண்டிய கேள்வி. Why don't women take control of the world, back from the men and put them in place? Then, any marriage would be fine.

Nice post though...

coconut chutney said...

maythu chellam!
Yes, we are two of a kind, the whole 'chamatha amma appa paakara payyana panikko' philosophy has been driven into our heads from a very delicate and impressionable age.
These abusive cases are few and far in between methinks, its not fair to generalize, we have our own amma-appas as examples.
See, its all about compatibility, not just between the payyan and ponnu but also the families. Which is why there is so much of 'research' (jadagams blah blah) work that goes into it.

Tell me, of all the dubious assumptions one makes during the entire process of an arranged marriage, can one afford to 'assume' the temprement or the sanity of the boy/girl? How can one afford to take that for granted?

See, thats why payyans and ponnus are given a chance to interact (ponnu paathufying) before the actual deal is done. I think thats fair enough.
I'm someone who stands strongly by the arranged marriage system as well (vera vazhi illai).
But I also believe that if you manage to find dreamy well educated iyengar boy, nadathu nadathu.
And finally to quote the song thats playing in my Itunes right now:
'Indha ulagathil evanunumey Ramar illai'

This is a very confuzzled comment, I know.
But I loved your post.

K said...

well...... in my opinion, love or arranged, a marraige being a success or failure is more in the hands of the 2 people involved than anything else..... but tats jus me....

der hv been successes and failures in both these types..... but agreed, wen it is an arranged one, u dont even hv the time to knw how the other person is gonna be.... definitely it does freak u out :-)

I was apprehensive of an arranged marraige myself but things changed recently n I am actually lookin fwd to mine soon :-)

Raag said...

Good luck with whatever you choose, a marriage arranged by your parents or one of your choice.

There is no one size fits all as far as marriage is concerned. When love marriage fail they do so because is no institutional inertia to them. An arranged marriage is one between two families not just two people with some relative or other usually playing the match maker. So it is not easy to get out of it. Several people have a vested interest in preserving it.

On the other hand in love marriages the level of understanding between people is critical. Silly fights tend to get magnified. I am speaking from experience. I met my wife and married her while we were in grad school (and happy to report still going strong at 15 years)

FYI, I reached this blog via Uppili. Please visit my blog at

-- Raag

P.R.E.E.T.I said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P.R.E.E.T.I said...

awesome! i ws gonna write on tis soetime bt nw tat u hv done it, im fine! :)

rite nw wit tis topic.. empathy is my middle name gurl..for me itz more tis way- failed at luv, decided to let my parentz do their doingz n c whr it goez...god, itz one hell hole of a ride man...

but iv juz decided to tke the escape route- leave it all to destiny...tat veritable thala ezhuthu u knw...ppl may tink im a coward, let thm, id rather tke tingz tat way than broodin ovr wat i shudv done n shudnt hv at any point of time...

sigh...juz hopin n prayin for the best...rite nw, tatz all i cn do...n uv gt me prayin for u too gurl... :)

loadza luv!

♥bμşγ-ŵŗϊŧēŕ♥ said...

sensitive topic. completely an individual's opinion and choice.
nyway, in my opinion, its me who is gonna haveta live wid that person forever. i'd rather, choose whoeva myself. if it goes wrong, no blame sharin, no guilt, no hard feelings, ntn.
arranged marriage--goes wrong. oblivious to whether u blame the parents or not, they're bound to feel very guilty. unwanted.
also, who the parents feel is the rite match, mite be rite frm their point f view. as in, their wants and xpections, all fulfilled!
it need not tally wid yours rite?

i need ice-cream too. mayth, sharee!! :P

*~ Mayth!!~* said...

@Ramanujam: That could be a thought. But its highly impractical. Not in our socitey at least.

@CC: Hheh...Amen to that. :)

@K: wow...looks like someone's close to 'eternal bliss' ;)

@Raag: Hey! THanks for visiting my blog. :)

@Preeth: Dahlin! YOu and I are 2 of a kind ;)

@Busy-Writer: As long as our decisions are respected, I guess both ways are safe.
One Chocolate Ice-cream coming at ya! :)

K said...

ya.... its 'eternal' I tell u now...... 'bliss' or not, I shall tell u later :-)

*~ Mayth!!~* said...


♥bμşγ-ŵŗϊŧēŕ♥ said...

mayth, can u make it walnut? :P

Ramkumar said...

Yes! Those cans of icecreams... You better have lots of them to douse these thoughts of yours in the near future :D

Confounded-Lady said...

@Busy-Writer: Walnut it is dahlin! ;)

@Ramkumar: err...the ice-cream is to make me feel better. ;)

ராமானுஜம் ராகவன் said...

Impractical? yes, and that will not happen overnight... sure... but if that does happen, it would then turn out to be good for everyone...

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