An ode to love….on the day of love

arranged

14/02/2013

It’s the day of love today. The world is painted in red, the colour “red” symbolizing love. (I don’t know why). I am a believer in love. As said in a movie, “iss duniya main love hi ek emotion hain….baki sab loose motion!”. 😛  Having seen many successful love stories around me makes my belief grow stronger, each passing day. For many of us, a love story culminating into a marriage is the fairy tale ending we would all want in our lives.

Once upon a time, most (if not all) marriages were arranged. In the ancient times, parents decided who their children should marry, very often with a view to forming political alliances or to keeping property “in the family” (so that cousins might be married to cousins) or to keep relations within same community/caste/religion, etc.

In arranged marriages, love is probably the last thing on the checklist when two people are arranged to live together for the rest of their lives. Strange but true. Horoscopes, social or economic class, faith and geographical priorities are matched before anything else, even physical attributes. Relatives, friends and neighbors typically play a brief but significant role in initiating interest in a particular family. Photographs are exchanged as the last piece of the puzzle. If that doesn’t get vetoed, then comes the next phase: communication. Meanwhile, the shortlisted candidates and their families are researched and background-checked. The final stage is the meeting of the two families. This is a significant step. The families meet, usually at the girl’s home, for snacks and beverage. The combination of scenarios could be many. In some cases, the boy and the girl would step aside, to a different room in the house for a quick or lengthy chat. Sometimes they may go for a drive and come back with a decision. The parents then take things further.

An arranged marriage is not a forced marriage. The boy or the girl could  walk away at any stage of the proceedings. Parents might have been very pushy a few decades ago, but in most cases, parents are understanding and carry a wish-list put together by their son or daughter before they set out to hunt. Arranged marriage stems from the belief that all factors conducive for love to develop between the two individuals have been addressed.

Today, on this day of love, I dedicate this post to love. I have picked up two love stories, around my life, and which started after marriage, arranged marriage to be specific. They say, in arranged marriage, “love sneaks up”.

My Maa and Deuta (my parents) were tied together by an arranged marriage, as the usual norm was those days. They have a whopping age difference of 13 years between them. But as long as I and my sisters remember, age difference had never been an issue between them. When Maa tells us about her newly- wed days, I and my sisters listen to her in awe. She was only 19 then and was pursuing her graduation, staying in a hostel. My Putha (grandpa) worked in Arunachal Pradesh back then and was away from home most of the year. My Anai (grandma) had a hard time raising 5 daughters and a son. She used to say that sending her daughters off to stay in hostels added to her worries, about their well being, all the time (remember those were days without landlines and mobile phones). She used to say that, there used to be many suitors for my mother and my aunts and that she was scared to say no to them, fearing that they might react in a negative way and harm her daughters. And that is why she decided to marry them off as soon as she found the ‘right person’ for her daughters. As was the norm, my Maa had to appear before many suitors, but most of the times her sixth sense (!) said ‘No’ and so she did not agree to any proposal, until my Deuta came along. She could not say ‘No’ this time. She says now, “Something felt right about him. I guess it was my gut feeling”. And so, she said ‘Yes’ this time. She told us that many times, post marriage, she used to wake up at night and stare at Deuta, thinking about how strange life is and that she is lying next to a complete stranger (:P). After 31 yrs of togetherness, hardship and various ups and downs of life, when we look at them they seem to the picture perfect couple, at least for me and my sisters. They love and adore each other. They do not shy away from openly saying that they can’t stay away from each other for long. May God bless them with good health and many more years of togetherness!

My elder sister Aimoni Baa got married off quite early, as compared to people these days, right after she finished her final examinations of her post graduation. Hers is a different story. A cousin of ours had come to our home one day, with one of his friends, to invite us for a wedding. Maa was not at home and my sister cooked lunch that day. Her culinary efficiency and frank and open nature won the heart of my cousin’s friend. He was not sure if my parents or my sister would take his likeness in good stride as he was elder to my sister by 11 years. But when my cousin conveyed his interest in my sister and she did not object to it, my parents went ahead with the proposal. And after 1 year of dating in between preparations of the marriage, the two of them were married off. Now they are blessed with a cute daughter too. It may seem uncommon these days, to be married to someone with such an age difference. But then this seems to be the benefit of their relationship. The childish nature of my sister is understood by my brother-in-law quite well now and also, he is now the only one who can handle her short temper, not even us. 😛

Seeing these two couples from close quarters makes me believe in love after marriage, too. In both the cases, I have seen deep love and respect for each other (touchwood!) that grows each passing day.

They are my inspirations to keep on believing in love, either before or after marriage, as long as it makes my life worth living and makes me know that after battling all ups and downs of my life, I can go home and rest my head on the shoulders of that person who would mean the world to me. And that all my tiredness and fatigue and worries and sadness of the day would vanish when he says, “I love you”. ❤ 🙂 ❤

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