Disclaimer: all written below are purely my views and are in no way meant to hurt or indicate any particular person/sect/group.
I have never written in my blog anything controversial. I might probably be writing one now.
There was a nice post in one of the blogs that I visit frequently, that set me to think. You can read it here - I really admire and like the writings of this lady and have often felt so much respect for her mature writings.
In one of the numerous training sessions I attended, the trainer shared an anecdote. An Indian lady who was training a bunch of Americans, in an attempt to make a friendly conversation, started telling about herself and proudly stated that she had a "Love" marriage. She was swamped by incredulous expressions as the audience asked - "How else does one get married?".
In India, since ages - and to a large extent even in the changing generation - "Love" marriages have been a serious taboo. To be truthful, yours truly was also a serious adherent to arranged marriages, till she was swept off her feet by her Prince Charming. But, after the always-on-cloudnine chapter of "Falling In Love" passed, ground realities stepped in and we found that a "Love" marriage is not all that "Love"ly, especially if you belong to different castes/states/religion(this is considered blasphemy) - some cases I know of had trouble marrying a person speaking the same language and from the same sub-caste too (god only knows what objections the parents and paraphernalia family had!). Well, after a lot much trouble/drama/lectures etc. etc, we are finally married - very happilly that too and so are our families too.
But then, today when I take a small step back and away from my married relationship and think from outside "myself" - can I accept all the objections that my parents/in-laws had provided? To a certain extent, they were not entirely wrong - I feel. Does this make me feel upset that my marriage was wrong. No, my marriage taught me to appreciate their concerns.
Marriage, above everything else, is a demand for compatibility - which means giving up more than what you get (atleast one person has to give more than what he/she gets). No two people can have clear win in a certain situation, unless you are willing to ammend yourself a bit. It is also a blending of two families - not the in-laws ; but the new couple and each of the two sets of parents. (It is too much to be asks two sets of totally different set of parents to start loving and accepting each other just because their children fell in love.) But if there is no love/affection/respect/admiration etc.etc. between the new couple and the parents - then i feel the purpose of the marriage is not fulfilled completely. When a daughter marries, a new son is added to the family and vice-versa ; and not that the daughter is lost to the family.
The former requirement for a successful marriage is a very very touchy thing I feel. When one hears above divorces becoming more common, and movies like "KANH" being made on a touchy subject like incompability in marriages - one really tends to think. What makes two people compatibile enough to lead a life with each other for nearly half a decade, if not more, withstanding all sorts of pressures, problems - solving each one of them together, changing priorities, changing behaviors/attitudes - I can never find an single answer to this question. Maybe it is that magical thing called "Love". Inspite of knowing my husband for more than 6 years now, I find new things about him, new traits - which sometimes are not to the best of my liking. Then, how many such things would my mother have found in my father - whom she hardly met before the marriage day - or my mom-in-law who got married after just having seen my father-in-law's photo?
This is not the bone of contention now! It is something bigger than that - two people, brought up in entirely different sorroundings, differnt cultures, different social backgrounds - getting together in the bond of matrimony - is this important or not. One of the words that rings in my mind when I think of all that my father told me before marriage is - "base is not the same". Base - in his words, meaning religious practices, eating habits, economic differences! And, even when I was arguing with him saying we can adjust - I was aware that he was right! If I, who has been brought up in a semi-orthodox environment of not having non-vegetarian food at home/cooking it, going to temples on auspicious occasions, chant some prayers - am married into a place where all of the above are not done/appreciated, if done/not given a company - would I not feel lost?
Women, more than men, I have felt, have an inclination for tradition. If not immediately after a marriage, atleast after a kid is born. In many cases of parents speaking different languages - I have seen that at home it is the "Mother's" language that is spoken. And she is more comfortable in doing what she has always been doing at her "Mom's" Place, than what is followed at her in-laws' place, unless forced to/she feels the latter is easier to do so. In a traditional south indian brahmin family - it is the unwritten norm for every kid to attend some kind of classes - slokas, dance, music - almost all of these having a leaning towards hindu gods. If an individual who has been brought up in such an environment marries a muslim/christian, who has no inclinations what-so-ever for the above - how much would one be willing to comprimise with one's kid?
I could go on and on, and in the process also get confused! There are zillions of things that cross my mind when I think of the topic called marriage - various flavours to it - arranged vs. Love, Love Marriage - within caste vs outside caste, Love Marriage - across religions , across continents and so on. You hear of everything happening these days - and then I finally resign - it is all upto the individuals who are in that situation. There is no written rule in all this. I know of someone, who even in this so-called modern age, got married just having met his/her partner only once ; and also know of someone, who has fallen in love atleast a dozen times(much to the dismay of parents) and is still unable to decide whether he/she wants to have love/arranged marriage.