This is a system that is still prevalent in India. According to a survey, even today almost 90% of the marriages are arranged. I know that the first thing that may come to your mind is that how come 90% when you know that half of your friends have done love marriage. Well, India has a huge population that stays in rural areas. To do a love marriage in rural areas is still a taboo. There people don’t have an option. Just to please the society and their parents, they go ahead with arranged marriages.
The system seems to be very funny and too unrealistic to work. But somehow it seems to be working in India for thousands of years. This is the Step 1 of arranged marriage. In this system, when the parents feel that their son or daughter is of the age of getting married (this age is highly variable), they get their horoscope/kundli out in the market. Here the market is a place which actually does not exist but it is managed by a few oldies (generally!). There are people who match these horoscopes based on planet positions and give their verdict if the horoscopes will match or not. If I am not wrong, I think there are a maximum of 10 matches that can happen and if the score is 7/10, then the rishta is good to go! But……….. But does this guy who has matched the horoscopes give a guarantee that the marriage will last? Can he give an assurance in writing that his planetary calculations are absolutely perfect? No… but still we Indians believe in it and go ahead with it!
Over to the next step! Step 2 – Ladki Dekho: Once the horoscopes match, generally the bride’s family contacts the groom’s family and sets up a meeting. Sometimes it happens the other way round too… And then it is the d-day when the boy and the girl meet for the first time. Two strangers – they meet in the presence of their parents/elders and then they decide to get married and stay together ever after! Again a funny situation, but it works! If the boy and girl like each other, then their respective families perform a background check of the bride/groom to verify if the guy/girl is good, cultured, etc. If they pass this test, then the story proceeds to Step 3. Otherwise back to Step 1 😉
Step 3: Engagement: In olden days (I mean till around a decade back) this function was done in the presence of close family and friends. It would be just a ring exchange and an official announcement of the marriage. This step would ensure that the boy and girl’s relationship status in Orkut would change from single to committed. But now-a-days, engagements are being conducted in a grand fashion with lots of guests and at a scale that is almost half as marriage. In our Tamil Brahmin culture, this activity is completely groom’s family’s responsibility and they would be in-charge for everything.
Once we cross step 3, then in the olden days it would be the testing time for the bride and groom. They would feel like the cat that is tied with a rope and milk is kept at a distance where it can see the milk but cannot drink it. They would desperately wait for the marriage to happen so that they could start their family life. But as times change, customs also change. These days, this period between engagement and marriage is being utilized by the couple to understand each other. They try to build the relationship before actually getting into the big commitment. This helps in two ways – to understand the other person’s tastes, likes, dislikes, attitude, etc. And at the same time if they feel that the relationship won’t work, then they always have an option to part ways. And it is not very late at this stage!
If everything goes well, then we proceed to the last and most important step – Marriage. Here it is a grand celebration. It’s time for all the family members to get together. It’s time to forget differences and unite with good mood. It’s time for lots of sweets, lots of food and lots of fun. Generally everyone is in a very happy mood during this step. At times the bride’s father may look a bit nervous, a bit worried, or a bit sad. But that’s natural. No one can stop that! Apart from that, it is one function that at least the bride and the groom would like to remember for the rest of their lives. The marriage happens in the traditional way. And then after the marriage, its bidaai time! The girl leaves her maiden home and goes to her sasuraal permanently!
What happens from here is the same for arranged as well as love marriage. I believe that to hold a relationship, what is more important is the give-and-take attitude between husband and wife. It’s the mutual understanding that makes relationships last forever (like Batman Forever!) and not kundlis and jyotishs!
P.S: I am still unmarried. So some information may be inaccurate or inappropriate. But anyway this is my blog and I write what I feel is right 😉