Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Of arranged marriages & life long relationships

I have always wondered about the chemistry between couples from the last generation who had an arranged marriage. My parents included. My dad had seen just a black and white picture of my mom and my mom had been given that privilege. My grandfathers decided everything and one fine day they were married.

My mom is a pure vegetarian. Her strictness about this matter can be easily understood from the fact that we have a separate set of stove and utensils which are used to make egg. That’s it. Meat can not be cooked in my house. Lately, ever since both their sons left home she has been a little lenient about this and dad can order meat from outside. This was but one point where my parents were on the either side of the divide.

My dad was a smoker and a social drinker. He still is. My mom dislikes both these qualities (??) in a man.

My mom loved watching movies. My dad could never manage to sit through a 3 hour long movie. He invariably used to doze off. This is something about my dad that I have never been able to figure out. He sits in front of the TV and watches sports – every kind of sport. Someone watching football or cricket or even hockey is okay but I could never understand the desire in some people to watch something like Golf or Car racing or the mother of all – a Cricket Test Match. I could never understand what is so great about watching two men trying to dodge balls or hit them half heartedly over a period of 5 days. Needless to say, my mom detests sports. I think it is ‘watching sports’ more than ‘sports’.

My mom is a great cook and a food lover. My dad has very specific taste in food and doesn’t love experimenting at all.

My mom is quite talkative and as expected, my dad can spend days without uttering a word.

My mom loves visiting relatives and friends and my dad considers socializing a pain.

My dad loves spending on good things in life and my mother starts fidgeting even at the mention of something that might mean dishing out moolah.

My dad gives quality more weight than quantity. My mom on the other hand keeps buying stuff just because it is cheap and we end up with a whole lot of unnecessary stuff that we might never need.

My dad likes an uncluttered house, while my mom is quite a trinket collector.

The point I am trying to hammer in is that these two people who are in the 28th year of their marriage are totally opposite personalities. But somehow they have stayed together and have managed to raise two sane and working kids and are now looking forward to their old age. Like any other conservative Indian family there has never been a public display of affection between the two. Public here includes their children. If one were to look at their lives from our point of view, they have had a dreary & unromantic life. Of course they have their funny moments, but life doesn’t move on humor alone. Where is the love? What has kept them together for so long despite them spending half of their married life standing on each other’s nerves?

Is this what they call “working on a relationship”? Have they made their relationship work? Is this the formula to a successful relationship? Adjustments, understanding, patience, ignoring shortcomings, lessening expectations. It sounds like a punishment to me.

Do all couples who are brought together in the same manner end up falling in love with each other? Has our generation managed to discover the secret to a long term relationship? We, with all our preferences, expectations, rules, prejudices and definitions.

I wonder a lot.


Anonymous P said...

My Dear,

I almost thought that you were telling me the story of my parents. I guess marriage is nothing but a bunch of compromises. Let me go ahead and say that if two people have to stay together, married or not, you have to compromise and adjust. You gradually get accustomed to these changes and start loving them if you love your partner.
No two human being can be identical and have a perfectly matching mentality. It is the power of love that makes it work in some lucky cases and in others it is the social obligation of marriage.
You can make it work if you want to.
Just realiesed that you are the better person to speak of it having a first hand experience..... :-)

12:37 AM, July 19, 2006  
Blogger jerry_mumbai said...

I personally think that the Indian families....especially in cities like Mumbai.....are going to be more and more *alternative*....like in the West.....and *traditional Indian couple* will be a rarity…..

There already is a plethora of such *alternative arrangements* around me....

1:56 PM, July 21, 2006  
Anonymous Payal said...

Hmmmm...sounds like the story of my parents tooo!!..just a tad bit different...as in we have seen dad teasing mom and a lil bit more...!!! and I know that both of them have made huge adjustments...and I also know that today they are very happy with each other and couldnt live without each other...though they still get on each other's nerves at times! ;)

3:39 AM, August 23, 2006  

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