Sunday, April 01, 2007

Yes / No...

Ok, so today the man's folks AND the man came home. You are thinking "Who man? What folks?" Here is a quick run through of events and facts, for people who do not belong to India.

The concept of "Arranged Marriage" in Brahmin Community.

According to me, marriage is just a formality in which the couple tells the whole world they are together. It is a social institution. Only, if my family members heard me say this , I d be disowned or even worse, treated as an outcast.

"Arranged Marriage" is probably an alien term to a lot of you out there. In India, even in the year 2007 , it is sadly not. So, this is what happens. Traditionally, Hindu parents look for a prospective match for their son/daughter from their own community also known as arranged marriage. Elders in the family and parents seek the prospective match through word of mouth within the community. The use of jathakam (astrological chart at the time of birth) of the son/daughter to match with the help of a priest is common, but not universal. Parents also take advice from the brahmin priest who has details of many people looking to get married. Some communities, like the Brahmins in Mithila, use genealogical records ("Panjikas") maintained by the specialists.

Jathakam is drawn based on the placement of the stars and planets at the time of birth. The maximum points for any match can be 36 and the minimum points for matching is 18. Any match with points under 18 is not considered as an auspicious match for a harmonial relationship. If the astrological chart of the two individuals (male and female) achieve the required threshold in points then further talks are considered for prospective marriage. Also the man and woman are given chance to talk and understand each other in the duration anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour. Once there is an agreement then an auspicious time is chosen for the wedding to take place.

Here is what happens in a Brahmin community besides the above. The man and his parents visit the woman's house . She is made to wear a saree and serve coffee ( a beverage brahmin's cannot live without and I am not even exaggerating). And of course, act coy and the works. After which the man and woman are allowed to talk for a few minutes and confess their "undying" and "eternal" love for the stranger sitting next to them. Now, where do I feature in all of this? That is right, smartypants. I was the "woman" today. How did it turn out? Your guess is good! Disastrous. Why?

1. I do not believe in getting to know a person in a matter of 15 minutes which I think is the sanest part of me.

2. I cannot "act" shy to save my thumb.

3. I have not yet mastered the art of fake smiling without making it obviously fake.

4. I do not believe in a male dominated married life since I have been a witness to it all my life (No, I m not a raging feminst either. Equality is good).

Anyway, so my parents ordered food from outside for the "guests" and guess what? They won't eat till I say "Yes, I will marry him" while thinking "What's his name again?" So they sit around waiting for my answer for about an hour . You may ask why I did not tell them I m not up for this. Well, simple. This is how it works in our family and if I do something like that my family gets a bad reputation or something like that. I tell mom to tell them I say "No". But my mom wants me to say otherwise. I lock myself up in the loo because I am so frustrated with all of us. Thanks poopy ( thats my friend Preetha. I know loo and poopy in the same line cannot have two meanings to it. But hey, what do you know!) . Anyway, I was talking to her over the phone in the loo while my mom would not stop knocking.

Finally, they left abruptly. Sigh. What followed? Emotional talk, subliminal emotional blackmail and the like which also includes their concern for "leftovers". I asked my family not to follow this ritual anymore. My horoscope (which I do not believe in) apparenly says it is ideal for me to get married before November'07. So my grama asked me to find a guy for myself and let her know ASAP. Which is equally funny considering..well, my state of mind right now. At the same time, my family is very important to me.

I am sure you guys had a good read while my life gets twisted by the day. Proud to be a Brahmin! Woohoo!

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