Love by arrangement

“Love just happens, it can never be arranged,” says a drunk A to a sober B who is getting to know guys through arranged matches. B is an average looking, intelligent and well-qualified girl with a decent job. B explains, “I have played the field but none of my boyfriends will get my parents’ approval. So let my parents choose for me, right?” “But why?” C, who has been quiet so far, asks, “Are you that desperate to get hitched?” “No, but is there any reason to refuse?”

Now, that’s a conversation I overheard. I’m 24 and single. My parents are fairly liberal, but they want to ‘assist’ me in meeting my Mr Right.

One evening, my father told me, “Beta, you haven’t met anyone. But how many dateable guys do you meet anyway? Give this a shot. Don’t wait for the last train.” There was no rational argument out of that one.

I spend 12 hours at work. The rest of the time is spent with my family or friends. So there’s a slim chance of meeting Mr Right in these circles. So I let my family look for suitable matches. I won’t deny that I have interacted with a few ‘prospects’ and I’m not surprised that most of the profiles ‘forwarded’ to me have left me pondering.

According to a friend, “Most of those who opt for arranged marriage are in it because it’s the logical thing to do. You sort out your career and the next thing expected of you is to settle down.”

Hopeless romantic
Another thing about arranged marriages is that love doesn’t come right at the beginning. The hopeless romantic in me wants to believe that you look for love and discover it with your partner. But I can’t help but wonder, how someone’s caste, height, salary or designation defines this complex emotion called love?

“They don’t define it but they are the practical things that you want to be common factors. Marriage is better handled if these factors match. You are deliberately looking for things in common, only to make the process of falling in love simpler,” says a happily married woman. Hers was an arranged-cum-love match.

But I often wonder how one knows what one is looking for? Opposites attract — isnt that the fun part of falling in love? — to be completely surprised by the emotion. “That stuff works in the movies. The ‘opposite’ soon irritates. You have a million fights and before you know it, the relationship drains you emotionally,” says a woman who’s just had a break-up.
She argues that in an arranged marriage, one is slightly closer to reality.” I disagree. In a love marriage, it’s likely that you know the flaws and the problems of your partner.

Get real
In arranged marriages, a lot is left to surprise. “Arranged marriages happen through family contacts. So, people vouch for the guy or the girl. The family is involved and there are more than two people who screen the relationship,” one of my married friend argues.

Debating over this love and arranged marriages can go on forever. But I’m still nowhere closer to discovering which one’s a better option. But I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter as long as you make a balanced decision.

My grandma whose arranged marriage has lasted 56 years sums it up for me, “I’ve seen marriages fail simply because of the happily-ever-after illusion. Forget all that. Accept your partner’s flaws and smile at what you’ve got. And you
will manage to have a happy marriage.”

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