Against your child’s happiness

You must have read numerous blogs and articles on this topic. This is my view on this topic which is very close to my heart.

Why do some consider the Arranged Marriage way to be better and greater? Is it because it has the agreement of all the family members concerned? There was a time when the prospective Bride and Groom did not even see each other, did not even know details about each other. They would get married, because it was “arranged” by the elders. I seriously wonder how such a couple could just start living together one fine day. And that was the time when the marriage had to be consummated on the “first night” and they had to produce a kid within the first year!! How weird would it have been for the woman to bare her body and soul to a person she did not even know.. I just can’t imagine that!!!. After that as people started getting educated slowly things started changing-the couple wanted to know about each other, wanted to see photos, wanted to court each other for a few months or a year before they agreed. But the control has always been there. Even if the boy and girl do not feel comfortable with the other person, things like status, money, society comes into play and parents force their kids to marry the person who have been selected. Worse are the cases when elders promise each other that they would get their respective kids married once they grow up. They stick to the version that “they have given their word” and coerce them into marriage. No thoughts about whether the boy and girl want to get married to each other just because of a promise made even before they were born.

Just because the parents have given birth, does that give them the right to control who their child marries and spends their entire life with? How does society and relatives become so important when a wedding is to take place? What is that they are scared of? If the parents feel that their child has chosen a good life partner and that their happiness is important, what will others in the society have to say otherwise? Isn’t it better to say to the gossip mongers “yes he/she liked somebody, we agreed and so we got them married” rather than say “we did not agree for the marriage, so they left us and got married”.

Is it ego that comes into play that their child has managed to take their own decision and find someone on their own? Bringing them up, giving them an education, spending so much money on them and they are not giving the importance on choosing a life partner. Is it because they feel that the kids “owe them” their future that they are unable to accept their child’s choice? Wouldn’t the boy/girl in question know what kind of a person they are and what kind of a person would make their lives happy?

Some parents do not even want to accept the fact that their kids have got married, do not want to talk about it or discuss about it and feign ignorance when relatives bring up the topic. They prefer to be like ostriches, ducking their heads in the sand. I would like to ask such people-what are you afraid of? That if you agree and there is a problem later you would be held responsible for accepting such a marriage? But that is what you would do if there is a domestic problem in an Arranged Marriage, right? It is anyways the family who comes to help and support and sort out the differences and dole out advice, isn’t it?. Just because the 4th uncle of the mother’s brother-in-law’s sister’s daughter ate four ice creams in the wedding reception, are you going to ask his help??? What help are you expecting from the so called society and neighbours? Even if there is a misunderstanding among the “arranged” newlyweds or a problem in the marriage, you would want to keep it from reaching the so called society and neighbours, right? You would want to solve it within the immediate family. Or is it because you think that you would have to spend your money and help your siblings if there is a financial problem? But you would do it and try to help your siblings if they had an arranged marriage, right? So where is the problem?

When a couple decide they want to go ahead and get married, they want the acceptance of the elders in the family, not because they think they can’t handle things by themselves, its only because they want the whole family to be united and accept the new comer into the family.

Even after the so called arranged marriages, how many DIL’s are treated with love and as a part of family by the MIL and SIL’s??? The moment the son begins to show his affection to his wife-the mother, the sister all become jealous. There are mothers who tell the DIL not to even close their bedroom door at night!!! Why do they get their son married then? Obviously a man’s priorities and life changes after marriage. Why can’t people accept that?

Except one very close friend of mine, I have not heard any good things about their MIL’s from all of my friends (I do have a fairly large circle of friends, even from my LKG days). Most of my friends have had love marriages-some of which have been accepted by families on both sides. Yet they do not feel a part of the family and the MIL’s do not behave like a mother, when they expect the DIL’s to treat them like their own mothers. I know of a MIL who will not even take and use the veggies or items that the my friend buys for the house. It will be left untouched in the fridge or cupboard till its time to throw it out-when my friend sees it-and she had a love marriage, after convincing both parents. Then there is another friend (who lives in the USA) and her MIL will only talk to her son on the phone. She will speak to her DIL just for namesake for 5 secs. Does not bother to wish them on their birthdays, anniversary or even the grand kids birthdays. And this was an arranged marriage, where my friend is a Post Graduate, from a well-to-do family,did bring a lot of jewels and cash from her side willingly(I don’t think any dowry was asked as such). Her parents treat their Son-in-law like their own son and with so much respect. They send them gifts for every occasion from India. Now her daughter who is 6yrs old asked her father recently “Daddy why doesn’t your parents speak to us nicely, wish us for even our bdays or send us any gifts. How come only mummy’s parents show us so much love”?

Then there are extremes where the father/mother/brother do not mind killing their own child/sibling to save their honour rather than getting them married to the person they love. I cannot understand how they can be so brutal so as to kill their own family members or the other person who is in love with their child. How do some people become so heartless? It’s even more horrifying to know that mothers themselves agree for this and help in getting them killed!

This topic is dear to me as I had a love marriage and because we are from different religions, our union was not accepted by my inlaws. They are orthodox, superstitious and even believe everything their family astrologer doles out to them. He even predicted that our marriage would not last for 1 year and here we are going into our 9th year-and still they have not accepted me into their family. I don’t exist for them (they have accepted my husband back into the family and he visits his mother every week). Well, I don’t regret it one bit. Actually maybe if they had accepted me, we wouldn’t have come this far, it would have been a constant struggle to live to their expectations and having to compromise every single day. But now, we are happy and live our lives they way we want.

I sincerely hope that at least people of my generation would act sensibly when it comes to marriages of their children and put their kids happiness above all else.

I wanted to write about this after watching the Debate “Neeya Naana” on Vijay Tv on 31st Mar 2013. The debate was also attended by actor Prakash Raj who is producing a movie called “Gowravam” (Honour) in Tamil which deals with such honour killings. I for sure will be watching that movie when it releases.

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Edited to add – You can read about “Neeya Naana” here