Ten

Ten years ago this day, I was standing barefoot in my parents’ living room, wearing a grey and orange teeshirt and faded jeans, signing away my bachelorhood. The OA stood by my side in jeans, a white collared tee, lanky and pale, doing the same. I had dark circles after nights of worry. What if the inlaws showed up and dragged him away, kicking and fighting. Okay, so he was legally an adult and couldn’t be dragged away, but did we need that tension?

Within the next 24 hours we were married twice over and no one but we could dissolve it. I finally breathed a sigh of relief and began to live the life I’d dreamed of.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I truly have lived the life of my dreams. Married to a man I love, having two terrific babies with him, and writing, writing, writing as much as I please. Also reading, gardening and traveling. Sigh.

There are moments in life when you wonder if you made the right choice. Low moments, moments when you doubt yourself, when you second guess, when you feel your chest constrict with panic that it’s over. This is it. You’ve made your bed and it might be uncomfortable. We all have them. But with the OA, the blinding realisation that this is the best thing that could have happened to me, comes back time and again.

Was it Byron who said, Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart, ‘Tis woman’s whole existence? Well, I hate to say it, but in our case, Byron was wrong. For me, yes, love, the OA, my babies, my home, are my whole existence. But I just lucked out because they happen to be the OA’s entire existence too.

This is the man who if he does succeed in waking up at the crack of dawn, will help me get the kids ready for school that day, rather than hit the gym. If he gets out of work early, he’s ringing our doorbell rather than catching a beer with the guys. His weekends are spent rearranging the heavier flower pots and cleaning the fans. And once he’s done that, playing football with the kids or reading to them before he takes his wife for a movie or a walk around the complex. I say this not as praise, but as a matter of fact. This is the man who chooses to centre his life around us. The man who shares my dream. Admittedly in his dream he wasn’t hanging quite so many pots or changing curtains so often. And just maybe, his dream might have involved some mountain peaks conquered and some bungee jumping, just as mine involved some travel and some being-Editor-of-a-magazine-at-25. But the basic theme of a home, children, and quiet evenings spent in a tangle of limbs while we all eat chocolate and watch Ice Age 2 is one we both share.

Years ago there was a competition on the blogosphere that I refused to enter for fear of the Furies coming down on my head. Which one is better, it asked – love marriages or arranged marriages. On this momentous occasion I’ll rush in where angels fear to tread. My head says, eventually we all end up in the same place, doddering old fools walking into the sunset. My heart says, No.

In this day and age I see no reason to get married unless you meet that one person who makes your heart skip a beat and your knees go weak. I don’t believe there is a right time to get married when you should start seeing suitable people of your caste, community, age and socio-economic status. We’re not cows meant for breeding who must get married before it is ‘too late’. It’s never too late to find the right person. I’d rather stay single than marry someone because the time is right, our bank balances match and his family likes mine. Acquiescing to the person you’d find it most comfortable to live with is not my idea of the good life. Falling so madly in love that you feel your heart constrict each time he walks into a room is a good start. Particularly if 10 years later you still feel it.

I come from a mixed background. I have Tamil, Bengali, Garhwali and Chinese blood. What does that say to you? It says that for the last 4 generations my family has chosen to follow it’s heart and not just marry because it’s the right time and the right caste. They’ve waited, for the right person.

If you’ve read my blog for more than 4 years, you know I’ve had a tempestuous relationship with my inlaws. It’s only fair that I tell you that things are far better now. Am I the daughter in law they’d have chosen themselves? Good Lord, no. Am I the daughter in law they’re fond of when they visit and see the happiness on their son’s face, their adorable grandchildren and a home filled with love? I think so. I look forward to my MIL’s voice now and the way she says Hello sweetheart, the warmth apparent even over the crackly, static-filled phone lines. My FIL however, is a story for another day. What? This is a real love story, not a filmy one where everything falls neatly into place. It’s been a long journey and it’s not been easy on either side.

But it’s been worth it. Everyday I ask myself if I’d do this again. Every morning I wake up and ask myself if there’s another face I’d rather see on the pillow beside me. And everyday the answer is clear. If I had to do it again, I’d do it. With one hand tied behind my back, blindfolded.

Admittedly I fell for him because he drove well (hah! you didn’t know that, did you?) But he drives like a cab driver on cocaine now so that reason is struck off. I now love him because he’s gentle, patient, kind, and all the things that one would look for in a wife. Yep. He’s my wife and I love him. Today as we complete ten years of mostly blissful, sometimes frustrating, wedded life, I thank God for the broken road that lead me straight to the OA.

People sometimes ask me what my kids could do to break my heart. I don’t know – I’d make my peace with them being beach bums too. But what would kill me is knowing that they ‘settled’ for someone and didn’t fall head over heels, tumble down that rabbit hole into love, the way we’ve done for generations. That they didn’t find that soul mate. That one person who sees right into the core of them, sees them for what they are and loves them for it. I come from a long line of love. And although we own no house, little money and not very much jewelry, the OA and I have this wonderful legacy to pass on to our kids and I very much doubt anything could top it.

On this tenth year, dear husband, allow me to remind you of the nervous, breathless, almost offhanded way you proposed to me  – So, we may as well get married then?

Yep. And now that we are, we may as well stay this way.

Here’s an old, cheesy one for you.

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131 thoughts on “Ten

  1. Congratulations! May you have the happiest of happys always 🙂

    It’s been a while since I’ve commented here. And you don’t know how happy it makes me to see people following their hearts as I increasingly see my friends waking away from the love of their lives so as not to disobey their parents!

    Anyway, time to repost the engagement story perhaps? Pretty please with a cherry on top! 🙂

    • Gw – aren’t you sick of that story, babe? 🙂 Will do, one of these days.

      I don’t understand young, educated people walking away from what their heart chooses, like dutiful sheep. People have married for love from the beginning of time. Why are some people so lily-livered about it then?

        • 🙂 Actually I didn’t. But I LOVE THE WORD! I feel language these days is so impoverished. You call everyone a biyaatch and think its so cool. When we have cowardy-custard and lily-livered just waiting to be used!

          • Impoverished is right. I think in recent years there’s been a noticeable shift in writing — the market seems to demand and welcome books that use simple language and smaller, easier to understand words. Sometimes a story needs simple language but I do miss grandiloquence.

            Apologies for having hijacked your loving post, belated Happy Anniversary to you both 🙂

            • I’m fine with simple language. And most of my favourite books are written in simple language. But there are so many phrases that are just perfect – they beg to be used!

              And don’t apologise. I’m called the grammar nazi on FB. This is the kind of chat I love having.

          • I’m all for bringing back words. Y’know, like instead of ‘Oh Shit’, we’ll say Zounds and Egad and things aren’t ‘awesome’ or ‘cool’, they’re smashing or wizard. In case, your wondering, I’m having a second childhood and re-reading Enid Blyton.

            Oh, and bring back Cattywampus too. For as you can see, I have many cattywampus ideas. 🙂

  2. No one, absolutely no one says things better than you! I also find myself staring at my husband’s sleeping face across the pillow and thank God for letting me know and love such a wonderful man. And yes, even after 7 years, we make each other laugh and I get butterflies in my stomach every time I see his cute ass (Sorry, TMI)!

    Congratulations and here’s to many many more happy years ahead!

    • Dude, that is NOT TMI! It’s about time we women started letting on that we like cute butts. I’m so tired of people imagining that we feel no lust. Lets hear more about cute butts, and broad shoulders and chests you want to bury your face in, please!

  3. Dear MM,

    Happy Anniversary to you and OA!! as usual wonderful writing.
    -I was so looking forward to it.. GOD bless you and your wonderful family..

    I sent u a mail 2 days before too 🙂

    So no trips this time???

        • I don’t know why… it is your love (which I don’t think I deserve) that really makes me teary. You write away for an unknown audience really. And then you get something back from those readers and it’s always a shock to know that they care. Hugs.

  4. Loved it!! 🙂 wish u guys a very happy anniversary and lots of happiness.

    I married for love and every passing day I love this guy a bit more.

  5. So lovely…the story and the way you tell it! Some bits left me a little teary eyed 🙂 I don’t know you and your family outside of the blogosphere, but I so wish I did.
    Wish you and the OA zillions of wonderful years together!!!

  6. What a heart warming post! Yes, that’s my prayer for my kids too!
    Happy Anniversary, may you have many more of them with children, grand children and great grand children around you!

  7. Bas Dus??? Itni badi badi baatein karti ho.. mujhe lagta tha ki ab tak pachees to ho hi gaye honge…
    Good for you kid… congratulations!

  8. Congratulations on many more great years ahead!I love the fact how you balance the love between OA and your kids!I envy the fact that you still are able to take time out with the OA alone which is so necessary for keeping the romance alive in a marriage.I like the fact that the two of you give more importance to living your life unlike most couples who are busy buying houses and paying EMIs which bring an unwarranted tension into married life.Have a blessed time together!!Be the mad family that you are.We love watching you from the other side and getting inspired.

  9. Gotto admit, I teared up more than just a little bit. Maybe because I have been reading you for far too long now. Maybe because I actually saw that everything one reads in here is pretty much the same way in real life. Maybe because in your story I see way too many similarities with mine.

    Happy Anniversary you two! Ive said it before, and I will say it again — you make non-baby freaks like me wonder what having a family will be like, because you do it that good *touch wood*

  10. Happy 10th to both of you! May there be many more such happy occasions! 🙂

    What a lovely post, MM! True, you should marry someone who knows the inside of you, and still loves you. The same applies both ways. I could see a lot of the OH in the way you talk about the OA. Thank God I ended up with him! 😀

  11. Wish you a very Happy Wedding Anniversary MM… May God bless you and your family. Its a wonderful and such a warm post.. just loved the way you said “quiet evenings spent in a tangle of limbs “….

    • Thank you 🙂
      Those are my favourite parts of the day – when we’re all busy with our own books or thoughts, not necessarily focusing on each other, yet ensuring that we’re all touching each other…

  12. Sigh! you make it sound so romantic…I am sure like every couples you guys have had your ups and downs, but its wonderful, the relation you share 🙂

    Big hugs to the Mad Family 🙂

    • It’s not all that romantic you know 🙂
      We’re all down with an eye infection so I’ve left the OA and run off with my babies to my parents’ place. On a more serious note, it took us a long time to get here and now that we’re here, I look back with rose tinted lenses. It wasn’t all that much fun when it was happening!

  13. Wow..really sweet post!!

    Hearty Congratulations to the 2 of you!

    As you rightly mentioned, what really matters in a marriage is love and not material things..

    I will be completing 5 years of marriage in September this year and i hope i can say i am happy after another 5 years too!

  14. Hey MM, hopped onto your blog through IHM.

    Congrats on your Anniversary and wish you both many many LOVEly years ahead. Your life is similar to what we went through too, with regards to marriage and his side not accepting us. My hubby too is very similar and yes, I would settle for the same man every time, no questions asked.

    Wish you both a Happy Anniversary once again.

  15. Happy anniversary MM and OA! Reading about OA and you keeps my hopes alive. Still waiting for that one person who will make me skip a heartbeat. 🙂

  16. Happy Anniversary MM and OA !
    I just got married to the man I love after a six year long struggle.. can’t tell you how this post resonates with me .. here’s wishing you many decades of love and togetherness !!

  17. Happy anniversary, MM and OA. Thank you for letting so many of us into your life. You and R are my best ‘online finds’.
    Here’s wishing you both many, many more years of the happiness you beautifully described. Thank you for sharing your babies with us.
    (Also, that note on marriage not being hurried? A double thanks :D)

    • Oh we’re online finds, are we? 🙂

      And yes, hang in there. No need to marry someone you can tolerate and then wait for it to turn into love. Wait for the right man to come along. You’ll know when he does. And knowing you, I can believe he’s going to be something else!

  18. Wish you many, many more years together MM.

    I had an arranged marriage and yet am madly head over heels in love with a man very similar to the OA nature wise- in his case his infinite patience is borne out by the fact he patiently waits for hours while I window shop!!! We are 13 years going strong, battling my cancer together far away from family and yet every single day there is good food, laughter, a few fights and many, many PJs to fill our life. I can think of no better man our parents could’ve introduced me to and nope I wasn’t head over heels in love with him when we got married. I liked him very, very much. The tsunami of love came afterwards. What happens before is lust my dear, what happens later regardless of how it began is the best kind of love. I come from a long line of so called love marriages some of which survived and some of which didn’t. Am the first in my family to have a so called arranged one. So it truly doesn’t matter how you start. But it does matter how you begin your life together, get thru the bad and good times and end it with grace, love, affection and respect.

    The best to you and OH.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about the cancer. I hope you’re fighting it well and will show it who is the boss. Hang in there… my prayers are with you.

      I have to say that line on what happens first is lust, made me laugh. For many reasons.

      1. Reminded me of the Khap panchayat! Even they tell all young couples who want to get married, that it’s only physical!
      2. Reminded me of Arshad Warsi telling Naseeruddin Shah in Ishqiya – Hum karein toh sex, aap karein to Ishq?
      3. I sure hope there’s some measure of lust – after all, what is a marriage where the mental and physical don’t have equal space?

      I have to say this is why I didn’t do the post in the first place when the contest came up. I didn’t have the bandwidth for this debate at that time and I didn’t want to offend anyone. But then what is a blog if not a space for opinions.

      I’ve always found the argument that what comes before marriage is lust and what comes after is love, a spurious one. Love comes when you get to know a person and the thing with love marriages is that you do know the person before marriage and grow to care for them. Does it strengthen over time and deepen? Of course. But for myself, when I was introduced to men by nosy Aunties who wanted to play matchmaker, I realised there were many I could learn to live with, but none who I couldn’t live without.

      To my mind, in an arranged marriage an affection grows into love just as it would when you live in proximity with anyone. For instance, one is never as close to other friends as one is to flatmates/hostel mates. Throw in a conducive atmosphere like similar community, socio-economic background and encouraging family on both sides and it’s an easy basis for a marriage. Those similarities make it easy to learn to live together and over a period of time that mutual respect and affection grows. I see that and appreciate it – but it’s just not for me.

      In these times, I don’t believe every person needs to get married. It’s not socially or financially necessary for a woman. So I don’t believe one needs to be introduced to be people because ‘it’s time you got married.’ I also believe that a similar religious/community background no longer guarantees a good marriage. What matters is a meeting of the mind on personal politics, religion, whether you want kids or not, interests, career plans etc. If anything, I strongly encourage people to marry out of their communities and castes (Gandhiji also asked his followers to do that – see what i did there ;)?) – makes you a more tolerant person, broadens your mind, ensures that you like the person for who they are, not for being able to tick off trivial social columns like suitable age, sex and community. If you find and fall in love with someone within your community, nothing like it. But this pressure for young people to get married just because its the right time, I cannot understand. I’d rather they waited for the right person.

      Please understand, this is not a judgment of your choices – just my opinion on two different ways of doing something. We’re all a product of our experiences, I’ve seen both love marriages as well as arranged marriages work as well as fail – and that is usually for a variety of reasons.

      To my mind it DOES matter how you started. Did you start because you liked each other so much that you wanted to be together? Or did you start because it was time to get into the institution and you picked the person it was most likely to work with.

      But yes, as I said, it mostly ends as you want it to. Said that in the post too.

      • Deepa, as someone who is on the wrong side of 20 and has been asked to consider the option of arranged marriage (simply because I haven’t found someone on my own), I am going to have to disagree with you. Isn’t the lust part of the love anyway? Why is it a bad word? My problem with the Indian arranged marriage system is that somehow, when it is an arranged marriage, everything takes on virginal, white hues. Is there no lust there?
        Call the love that blossoms over the year a mature, maybe even longer- lasting love, but by calling it lust, I am afraid you are dismissing with that one word, the ‘love’ relationships that people have been able to form and sustain, by choosing to marry a person of their choice.
        Among the many things I want in the man I marry, is also the physical chemistry, that toe- curling shiver down my spine when I see him come through the door. Maybe the mature love of later years will make me look back on this hot- blooded desire as even a little silly; but at 28, this need is as important to me as the fact that he like kids or is courteous or funny or well- read. And I like to believe that this is as much a part of the ‘being in love’ process.
        Here’s wishing you a quick recovery from the cancer. Prayers.

  19. Wow 🙂 Reading this made me want to fall in love and get married all over again (to the same person, and we’re almost ten years there too!). Congratulations to you both and here’s to many many more!

  20. Happy 10th anniversary! 🙂
    Delurking here…. but its my 10th anniversary in 2 months too… and it seems to be a point at which I can look back, see how far we have come, grown, and yes – loved each other even more deeply than when we began.
    Here’s to the ten years past… and the many tens to come! 🙂

  21. Wish you and the OA a beautiful journey ahead. I always look forward to reading your posts, simply because I relate so much to them. When I read this, I felt as if it was my story with all the twists like me being a mixed breed myself, different religions, opposing parents, etc. I just smiled by the way you called him your wife, I do too! Thank God for men like them made to order for women like us 🙂

    God Bless the little babies as well

  22. You know there are times, when you are down and all that matters is that streak of positivity that reaffirms your thoughts, faith and belief. And your post did just that. 🙂 Happiness to you and your family always!

  23. Happy Anniversary, MM. Wishing you many more beautiful years of togetherness ahead.
    And thank you for the inspiration for not rushing into marriage just because I’m a girl-of-a-certain-age. I needed that!

  24. Happy 10th, MM and OA!! Here’s wishing you many more decades just the way you want them to be. On an important note, did the OA write you a poem, or a post you’re too shy to publish? 😉

  25. MM, wish you and the OA a very happy Tenth Anniversary !! Truly hope that many many years down, you two sit in your living room couch, and fondly narrate your journey together to all your excited great grand children !! 🙂
    Hugs !!

  26. Happy Anniversary to you and the OA. You have shared lovely happenings of everyday life at home as a family all along that has provided me warmth on a bad day and also inspired me as a mother and wife. May you be so happy all your life and best wishes to your kids.

  27. Nice one, MM, I’ve been a lurker on your blog for several years now and I’m delurking to say I really loved this post.

    I’m 36, male and single. I’ve never met anyone who “makes my heart skip a beat and my knees go weak” and with whom I “fell so madly in love that I could feel my heart constrict each time she walked into the room”. Well, I did once years ago, but she was too chicken to go against her parents’ will. I do try to meet new people as much as I can, but realistically I must face up to the fact that I might never fall in love that way again.

    Anyway, I still have to deal with pressure from family and friends to get married, and sometimes I find myself wondering if I should just “acquiesce to a person I’d find fairly comfortable to live with”. But the idea doesn’t really appeal to me. I actually think I’d be happier single than acquiescing, but there’s always a tiny doubt that I might regret it far in the future when I’m old and grey. Loneliness is a companion even today, but I have friends and I can mostly deal with it. but I don’t know if I will still be able to in the future.

    Well, it’s when I’m wrestling with this kind of doubt that I see your latest post, and it comes as a breath of fresh air. Thank you! 🙂

    • 🙂 Hello Anonymous Dude!

      I’m always pleasantly surprised to see dudes reading my blog.

      To be honest, I can imagine getting lonely as the days go by and friends get busy with life and kids and what have yous. Particularly say, if you’re in the West where after work everyone needs to get home to chores etc. I somehow find it’s easier to do this in India where well, for one, there are more people than anywhere else (!) and the work/after work dichotomy isn’t so strong.

      Honestly, I stand by what I said. I believe a life of being single and lonely but peaceful is better than a marriage for the sake of it. There was a time when raising a child is what kept you occupied post-30. Not so, anymore. I see my parents glow when they see each other and I know they set this high standard that I fortunately met. I too wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t found the old man….

      I think the crisis really is having fallen for someone and losing her. You sort of set that as a benchmark and as the years go by, the memories get rosier until the standard gets quite impossible. I have friends who married later than 40 and are happy they waited.
      hmm.. maybe I should play matchmaker and introduce you to my single friends? 🙂

      • Thanks, MM! I’m touched that you actually took the time to reply personally, when you have so many replies to all your blog posts. Thanks again!

        Why are you surprised that men read your blog? We dude’s find the brat’s and the bean’s antics funny and cute too, you know. 🙂

        I see you mean about setting the past as a benchmark. I’ll try not to do that, live in the present and stay hopeful about the future.

        And if you have single friends in Bangalore, bring ’em on! Do you have an email address on your blog? 🙂

  28. Happy Anniversary ! and a great read it is too..oh and a belated birthday wish to her spunkiness,The Bean 🙂 xx

  29. Lovely post. But you have summed up the euphoria of the early years and the settled down love of the later years with the driving bit so well. Serious words said with humour is what strikes a chord.

  30. May I say I love how awesome you are? And loved this line best of this lovely post: “In this day and age I see no reason to get married unless you meet that one person who makes your heart skip a beat and your knees go weak.”

  31. I’m happy to say that several decades down the line, the magic is still there, the companionship is greater, and the acceptance of each other is more than ever. Splashing up the bathroom counter still annoys, as do many other stupid habits, but they weigh far less against the oh so generous blessings that my spouse has filled my life with. I honestly don’t know if it really matters how you met, whether you were asked to meet by your parents and families, or you ‘just happened’ to meet, without that little spark, the flash of recognition between kindred souls, I don’t know if a life long commitment is possible.
    Here’s wishing the MM and the OA many many more happy and loving decades together.

    • I don’t know doosi nani. I think most people are brought up to ‘nibhao’. Isn’t that the word? It bothers me hugely.
      That spark is what makes it last, and survive all temptations and trials. If not, it’s just like living with a room mate and making the best of it because you really have nowhere to return to 😦

      • I really wouldn’t know, luckily for me! But I do know that the spark needs nurturing- I’ve seen relationships where the couple who married against all odds can barely stand each other, and total dedication to each other in marriages that were arranged in times where there were no options but to accept the decisions of the family. I guess it’s what you do with the spark that really matters!

  32. Many Congratulations and happy anniversary 🙂 You are one of my favourite-st bloggers.

    Though I don’t want to get into the whole love vs arranged debate, I can’t help point out one thing.That you were lucky to meet someone you fell heads over heels in love with at a young age, and married him eventually. May be, just may be, you are of this opinion because you were enjoying your matrimonial bliss in the prime of your adulthood time, in your 20s. And as strong minded, as educated and as attractive as you are, you were confident that you would find someone suitable sooner or later.
    But there are girls who are low on confidence, who are meek, who are introverts, gullible, who don’t think of themselves as attractive or beautiful or smart or intelligent. They are sure that they will remain single if they don’t meet the guys that their parents show them at the ‘right’ time. And if they refuse at that time, it just gets more and more harder for them to marry someone right as theirs 30s approach. Then they would be forced to make ‘adjustments and settlements’. So they give in because of this fear. And also because they are convinced that no one will love them. Its sad, i know. Very sad. But that’s how it is for some.

    I am just saying that love doesn’t happen to everyone for a variety of reasons. But they may still want to have a family, a husband, and kids. So does that mean that they should not marry?

    Gosh, I don’t know by saying all this what image am I portraying of myself in your mind. Once again, I am not pro-arranged or anti-love or anything. I am just saying who are we to judge. To each his own.

    Yes, yes, I know it was just your point of view 🙂

    Cheers!

    • Zinal, thank you for all those compliments. It didn’t work that way. Like all young girls I had my insecurities about my weight, my face, my whatever, but they were my own to deal with. They were not in context to marriage.

      I think we’re looking at this from two different ends. You’re looking at it from the – they are too underconfident to get men. I’m looking at it as a – why do they need to be brought up to find men? The goal we should be brought up with is to make something of ourselves, to be happy, comfortable and complete in our own skins. That way if you don’t find that one person, you are not devastated and incomplete. The idea should not be to raise you to be the complete/perfect partner. No wonder there is such a rush to get married at a certain age because people then don’t know what to do with themselves if theyre still single – marriage was their only big plan.

      If you see your child has low confidence, you work towards boosting that. If you see your child is aggressive you work towards controlling that. That is just part of what a parent has to do to create a complete human being. That itself will create confidence.
      That is the problem with our country, no? girls brought up with the single idea of pleasing a man and fitting into his home without causing upheaval. If you’ve been brought up to think that marriage is the beginning, the end and the only way, it can’t be easy to think beyond it.

      If anything, the people who waited are the ones who didn’t adjust and settle. They found the people they want. It is this fear of getting too old, that makes one settle for second best. Anyway, I don’t ‘judge’ people who go in for arranged marriage. I just don’t appreciate the system of arranged marriage itself – it implies that marriage is necessary. I don’t consider either marriage or kids mandatory.

      I dislike that as a country we don’t let our girls and boys mingle freely and get to know each other. Because what if they fall in love with someone unsuitable from another community? While many families are broad minded, when I was growing up, most girls had never really got to know a boy other than their siblings and cousins. How then are they expected to know good from bad and make sensible choices? Naturally then they have to depend on their parents to pick someone suitable. This is also why kids have low self confidence. If they grow up around the opposite sex they would not be so self conscious and would invariably have had their share of crushes and sweethearts. And while you are unselfconsciously living life, you meet people who get to know you for the person you are and don’t marry you for the caste you come from and your father being from the right economic bracket.

      This is not to say you don’t introduce your child to people you think they’d like. After all we all hook friends up with dates, subtly invite single people over to a dinner party etc. But this should all happen while life takes its course, with no urgent rush to wrap it up ‘before its too late’. I understand that people might want a spouse and kids (heck, I did!) but I don’t appreciate the way the system conducts itself, putting what to my mind, are ridiculous conditions in place – caste, horoscope, social status, skin colour. When as I mentioned in another comment, so many other things are more important when it comes to making a marriage work. You get married because you want an heir to carry on your name, no wonder so many little female foetuses are aborted – because that was the entire purpose of marrying within the community and according to your parents’ choice -to carry on a certain bloodline, untouched and unspoiled. Otherwise why bother to look only within a certain section of people?

      This is my other issue with arranged marriage – that it reinforces and perpetuates a caste system and stereotypes. You don’t marry into another community, you don’t know what it is to get to know the other, up close, you have strange hangups about people from other communities.

      So like I said, this isn’t about who marries how. eventually it is up to two people to make something work or fail. But as systems go, I find arranged marriages regressive, perpetuating the worst of our culture and rather obsolete.

      • How do I save this comment for future argument purposes? Love love love your reply MM…I feel this way too but cannot articulate this well 🙂

        • When I read it again, i realised I’d gone back and forth and laid the response out rather badly. So I’m tickled you think its articulate 😀

          But haan, it pretty much says what I think. I have more, but if I got started I’d be derailing my own post!

            • You’re encouraging me to keep going – you know that, don’t you?! I’m blaming you for this next portion. 😉

              There is often the old argument of – how does it matter whether your parents introduce you or your friends introduce you at a disco. ALL the difference.

              If you meet in a disco you already know he drinks, she drinks, she smokes, he smokes, she wears clothes that would fit your 6 yr old niece and he has female friends he is on back slapping terms with. You have the option of meeting for dinner twice more, liking or not, and moving on. If you meet at work you already know if his or her career is important to him, how much of a workaholic the person is, their interactions with people senior and junior and how they treat people who can do nothing for them. So much more important to see a person away from their parents’ eyes and in their own element.

              It is important to taste and try before you buy 😉 and I don’t think its ever possible to relax and be yourself if you know you’re meeting to assess for marriage. As opposed to a date. I know we have a long way to go in a country where the khap kills and calls it honour, but I’m inclined to believe that this arranging business supports the theory that marriages have to be suitable to parents. So really – there’s a lot more trouble in there than we give it credit for.
              There are plenty of ‘broadminded’ parents who will ‘allow you to meet a couple of times before you make up your mind’ but this permission angle doesn’t go down very well with an anti-establishment sort of mind like mine. I don’t believe two mature, reasonably sane adults should be worrying about everyone else’s opinions on the matter – be it how rich the family is or how religious or if horoscopes match. It bothers me that you are an adult who is considered to be mature enough for marriage, but still need everyone else’s say so on it. It’s nice to have both families approve, it reduces the hassles and tension – but the fact that you are asking for tension by not sticking within the guidelines, bothers me hugely. It bothers me that adults are not left alone to find a person of their choice and are given X number of options and told to choose within those. I’d have a hugely different opinion if say they introduced you to someone from a different religion or caste instead of maintaining stringent guidelines on who is acceptable.

              Disclaimer -None of this is to say that arranged marriages aren’t happy or love marriages don’t fail. I notice people seem to reduce it to that lowest common denominator. To me, it is more a comment on society if we insist on getting our young people hooked up to our satisfaction and not leaving them to find theirs. Let them make their mistakes and learn from them instead of telling them which stream to study and which girl to marry – constant interference and that too in the biggest decisions in life. A comment on a system that I think needs to be retired – has no place in a modern society where neither marriage nor children should be a necessity.

      • Happy Anniversary MM and OA!
        Here is an article that is very relevant to what is being brought up in this discussion.
        http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/30/opinion/simmons-girls-leadership/index.html?iref=allsearch
        As a new mom to a baby girl, I totally get where both of you are coming from. Arranged marriages are not an unknown concept in other parts of the world as well, its just that they are done in a more casual setting where people are set up with each other to see how things go. In my belief, as long as one or the other works, it doesnt matter. Some people think with their heads and others with their hearts. What I dont get is how or why people stick around when there is nothing keeping them together. But thats a discussion we can save for a rainy day!!!

      • Once again, I totally understand where you are coming from. I too believe that everyone should fall in love and find their partner without having to deal with any constraints of family, caste, colour, economic status. I was just trying to say that in India, that is still very far away.
        Heck, i met someone online, who is now my husband of four months.

        Arranged marraige, as repulsive as the idea is, is here to stay for a long while.
        And it really boils down to the individual. If one is strong and confident to stand by what one believes in, if one has a mind of his/her own, if one is unwilling to make any adjustments or compromises and ‘settle’ for an arranged prospect, then one should most certainly do so. And that is how it really should be.

        I was just trying to say that this topic is so subjective, there is no definite right or wrong, there are a lot of greys.

        From where you are coming from, what you say is 100% agreeable. But if you were in somebody else’s shoes, leading someone else’s life, brought up in some other way, you might have seen this, perhaps, in a slightly different way.

        • Hi Zinal,
          I don’t mean to say it’s wrong. I just mean to say it’s an obsolete idea, like dowry and childmarriage. It needs to go away. I agree, that brought up some other way I’d see it differently. But then brought up some other way I might have found a burkha acceptable too.
          In case I haven’t been clear enough, I don’t judge those who are part of the system – I understand that they’ve been brought up to think within these constraints. My issue is with the system because if forces people to work within those limitations. To me, a lot of this belongs to a certain time and age – has no place in a world where we’re off to the moon.
          Love
          MM 🙂

  33. Wow. TEN. Happy Anniversary. You are probably shocked at how it could possibly be that long but at the same time look around the life you’ve built, the memories you’ve created and know that it’s a shock it was just done in ten. I liked the vision of you all on the sofa tangle of limbs watching a movie. Our kids’ bed times are way too early right now (plus the little one is a bit too fiesty to enjoy the calm) but it makes me smile to know these are the things to look forward to. This might be the most obvious thing a blogger friend might have said to you, but you have taught me to enjoy the every day. It’s not that I didn’t but with two I can appreciate it even on the shittiest of days. We don’t have family here or ready babysitters to make getting out easy, but to be honest I have yet to grudge it. We’ve built our life around each other, around these children, in the nooks and crannies of our rented home with books and crayons peeking out and I feel so blessed. I want time to just STOP so I can soak in being a mother of a toddler and a baby but I also have no fear of time moving on as I know it will be with him, with them so what is to be afraid of.
    Congrats MM. You never do OA posts. And as much as the kids are interesting the true voyeur in me comes out when you right about him. Guess I should get on that damn social network huh?

  34. I know I am a little too late, but let me still go ahead and wish you a very happy anniversary! I remember seeing a really old anniversary post of yours on your old blog, which was probably your 3rd or 4th wedding anniversary. You had put up a blurry picture of the wedding ceremony in which the OA is applying the sindhoor… can’t believe you’ve completed 10 years!

  35. Congrats on the decade! This was a refreshing read.

    “To my mind it DOES matter how you started. Did you start because you liked each other so much that you wanted to be together? Or did you start because it was time to get into the institution and you picked the person it was most likely to work with.”

    Although, I think that this stance is idealogical from time to time but these are mostly my sentiments too. Why bother with marriage at all ? 🙂

    • Jass – definitely. There are exceptions to everything. And an ideology can’t encompass every possibility.
      My basic assumption is that neither marriage nor kids are necessary for a fulfilling life. So why arrange them? Why not let those who find the person they want, go ahead with them? If we give people the freedom to mix and mingle, they will figure out if marriage is for them or not.

  36. Hey Mad Momma.. Belated wishes for you and OA. I recently got engaged. Yes, it was arranged and no, it wasn’t love at first sight! So, am I now head over heels in love with the man? I can safely say no to that too. But yes, for some reason I can’t wait to start a new life with him.. or maybe I know the reason, which is what I said yes to in the first place, that in him I could see the person I would want to spend the rest of my life with. We are in the process of knowing each other and there have been incidents where I went I will love him for eternity and I would be lying if I say there has not been a single one where I did not go what did I get myself into. But then, that holds true for every story, love or arranged.
    Yes, I might not find love ever and not get to get married ever thought does cross my mind when I met him for the first time. But that is what got me thinking that here I am looking at a person in whom I can see a friend and may be a partner for life, but all I am thinking is I would never be able to find love and why, because I did not meet him in a accounts lecture or at a random party or at a bus stop. I am beyond happy that I said yes and hope that 10 years down the line my answer to if would do it all over again would be yes.
    Speaking of which, your post got me thinking so much that I called up my mom and asked if she would do it all over again, she said yes and so did another cousin sister and brother too (Oh, I had to make sure that its not only us girls who would do that!). And, I come from probably 7 generations of arrange marriages. Well, I guess as somebody said earlier its more about how you take things once you start living your dream together because trust me I have seen equal number of love and arrange marriages going bad and them being love or arrange doesn’t matter at that time.

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