Anything to avoid arranged marriage?

  • Sonal Kalra, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 27, 2015 17:40 IST

The wedding season is just a few months away. And set to bring with it a truckload of stress, as always. I toh anyway firmly come from the ‘shaadi is barbaadi ­public school’, but, I recently realised what a tension a ­wedding can be, for the bride or groom’s single friends. ‘The moment your best friend gets engaged, the pressure on you to get married too, strikes like a monster,’ said Minakshi ­yesterday. ‘And, because you don’t want to give in to the pressure and agree to an arranged ­marriage, the stress of falling in love takes over,’ added Neha. ‘The stress of falling in love? I thought love happened to people on its own, in fact, far too soon these days,’ I said, and they both laughed, before rolling their eyes in a very ‘oh-we-are-stuck-with-an-imbecile-cavewoman’ kinda way.

My hesitant queries on this subject to my own younger cousins eventually told me how right Minakshi and Neha were. So one has to try really hard to make love happen these days, varna ghar waale pakad ke arranged marriage kar dete hain. I wondered if this desperation to escape the possibility of being tied to a virtual stranger for life, is making people get into ­relationships without too much thought. A mail from a 24-year-old girl from Indore, who didn’t wish to be named, confirmed the fear. “We are a group of four close friends. All three, apart from me, have either got married or engaged. Mom does nothing else these days but remind me that good rishtey won’t come if it gets too late. My parents are broad-minded enough and asked me if I like someone. Now there is a guy in office who I somewhat like. I’m not 100 percent sure if he’s perfect for me, but he’ll be better than someone totally unknown. Shall I quickly become friends with him?’ Well, I don’t know, the girl from Indore. Seems like we are deciding on buying a dress or something. Anyway, it’s much easier for me to give you gyaan, than for you to go through this stress daily. But, then gyaan is all I have right now and it may just make sense to you. Please remember...

1. People don’t want to be with a desperate drama case: The more hurry you are in to get out of the ‘single’ status, the more you’ll ward off the right kind of people. Because whatever said and done, desperation shows. Coming on too strongly can intimidate, scare or simply put people off. And frankly, why should someone else make such an important decision in a hurry only because there’s pressure at your home to get married? It’s a question of their life too, equally. Isn’t it? Don’t put someone else’s — and your own — future happiness at stake out of sheer desperation. All that a good decision ever wants in life, is time and thought. Give it both.

2. It’s too old fashioned to think you are too old: There used to be a time some decades back when marriage would start to get discussed at home when a girl or guy would turn 20. Elderly women, with a grim expression, would also declare from time to time that ‘the family must be complete by 30 years of age,’ whatever that meant. Now, that mindset has thankfully gone from at least the educated middle class. So should the stress. Of course, there is always an ideal age to settle down, both from a biological view point and otherwise, but the notion of an ideal age to ‘settle down’ can no longer be a sword hanging on a person’s head. If the choice is between marrying the right person and marrying at the ‘right’ age, and you go for the latter only to gain short-term peace of mind, let me slap you right now. Because life will, later.

3. Single doesn’t always mean sad, just as relationship doesn’t always mean happy: Kisi married bande se jaakar poochho, you’ll get the right gyaan about what rushing into commitment does to peoples’ sanity. But then you won’t understand it, because all you can see around you, when you are single, is happy couples. Just remember that when they are done flaunting their ‘committed’ status, all they see around them, are happy singles. That’s the irony of human mind. Your happiness, whether you have a Mrs or Miss in front of your name, will only come from your own thoughts. If you’ve consciously chosen to be happy, the presence or absence of a girlfriend or boyfriend can only add value to it. It can’t be the basis of it. Life just doesn’t work that way.

4. It’s your life...not theirs. One wrong choice and you’ll be stuck, not them: When I say ‘them’, I mean everyone, right from relatives to friends to even those who have proposed to you and waiting for you to say yes. None of them can, or should, influence your decision to get married. The voice, about the right time and the right person, has to come from within you. If you get into a hurried relationship to avoid arranged marriage, or say yes to an arranged match only because all your friends have settled down, it’s finally your life that’s going to suffer. And your partner’s too. No relative will then own up to the responsibility of pushing you into an unhappy state. And even if they did, it wouldn’t change a thing. Take your time before you take the plunge. Even if it means taking forever. Staying single is not the end of life. It’s just ­another way of living a beautiful life, if you’re at peace and in love with yourself. Anyway, whether you’re married, unmarried, ­committed or single, there’ll always be some people who’ll envy you, and some who’ll thank God they are not in your place. That’s just how it is.

(Sonal Kalra will someday open an ashram where only two kinds of people will be allowed. Happy or married!!. Mail at or on Facebook at Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra.)

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