When Hema Malini is quoted as saying she is looking for a suitable match for her older daughter, Esha, your eyes can't help but widen. This from Hema Malini? The woman who flouted society and married an already married man because the two of them were in love? This woman would rather arrange her daughter's marriage than let her do her own thing?
If your eyes widen at Hema Malini, you're open-mouthed a little later, when novelist and columnist Shobhaa De says that, so far, she has been "spectacularly unsuccessful at finding the right match for my children". Shobhaa De said that? The role model for spunky, independent women?
And then, when you really think about these two examples, your jaw just hits the ground. Because these women's children are not complaining. Neither, come to think of it, is your neighbour's son, the 29-year-old advertising professional who lives on his own in another city. Or your own friend, the 25-year-old graphic designer who earns a bomb, has her own flat, and parties every night. Not only are these people not complaining about parents who are on their case about getting married, but they have actively asked their parents to find them a suitable boy or girl.
Pyaarvyaar, ishq-vishq is all very well, but when it comes to a long term commitment, mummy-papa know best. And all this is happening right in the heart of urban, metropolitan India. A recent HT survey of 603 young men and women in Delhi and Mumbai (between the ages of 17 and 25) revealed that a staggering 93 per cent approve of arranged marriages!