How long do you think it would take you to decide whether you wanted to marry someone? I recently met a couple Thiru, 29 and Divya 27 who decided to get married within 10 minutes of meeting, yes that’s right 10 minutes! They certainly are more courageous than me. It takes me a lot longer than that to figure out which outfit to wear in the morning. Lo and behold they are very happy & very much in love. It’s a lovely story, which I would like to share with you, in Divya’s words...
"Ours was an arranged marriage, which as you know has been a long standing tradition in India. It’s a methodical and lengthy screening process, which only proceeds if our horoscopes are deemed to be a good match, otherwise the proposal is rejected. Fortunately, Thiru and my horoscopes matched, which led to a first screening by two of my uncles. At this screening, Thiru was scrutinised from head to toe and asked many questions. According to my uncles, he passed with flying colours, which then led to a second screening by my parents. At the top of my parents checklist was a well-behaved and well-mannered groom, in which the family status is also considered. They were not disappointed and furthermore our parents really hit it off. When my parents arrived home after there meeting, they narrated everything to me (from his colour, to the way he sat, from the way he was dressed to the way in which he spoke). My mum even noticed how he walked! She was completely awestruck by him and still is! My parents now wanted to know whether I was interested in meeting Thiru. Having heard so much positive feedback and shown a photograph, I was super keen to meet him.
A month later, I found myself sat in the bedroom waiting to be called. Both excited and nervous, I had butterflies in my stomach. I was wearing a saree and I am not sure whether it was a coincidence, good omen, or God’s grace but my saree and his shirt colour were the same. Finally, what felt like an eternity I was called, I said Namaste to all and was made to sit besides his sister. Veiled with my saree, I had to serve tea as per our tradition to everyone, including the prospective groom but I could still not look at his face at this point. After tea, our parents left us alone to talk and decide for ourselves. We sat comfortably facing one another. Our conversation started from asking professional questions to spiritual things. Within 10 minutes, we discovered that we had lots in common including our lifestyles, interest, values & beliefs. I recall the one line that impressed me, was when he said:
"I work 9 hours in office, just to make his 15 hours happy with you..."
I was then even moreimpressed when I told him that I was a little short tempered, to which he answered:
"I will start adjusting with you..."
This answer surprised me because most of the men in India are a little egotistic in nature. For a few seconds we were silent, I was happily thinking I have found my Man. He then asked me whether I really liked him, or was I there because of parental pressure. I told him that I really liked him and we could not stop smiling at each other. From that moment on, it’s been an amazingly happy journey, we have now been married for over a year and are very much in love...”
Could you make a life changing decision like that in 10 minutes? Probably not, granted, Divya & Thiru are originally from India and now live in the UK but we have been raised in different societies and culturally conditioned to think in a different way. Nevertheless, when you hear stories like this, it makes you wonder whether there is still some merit in doing it the old school way, particularly if and when you experience moments when it all feels like such hard work and effort trying to find a partner. Just imagine leaving the vetting and search to your parents – bliss! OK, Yes, I know it sounds great in theory but a scary prospect in reality, confirmed by the results in our latest poll:
Personally, whilst I love my mum to bits, I would not deem her 'fully qualified' to screen a potential match for me. Her idea of a good match would be someone that is ‘smart’ what that means I have no idea and thankfully no burning desire to find out!
It would be great to hear your thoughts about arranged marriages/family introductions. Please feel free to share (you can do so anonymously) in the box below.Alpa Saujani