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“I’ve never felt so guilty in my life,” says Anmol. He’s been with his girlfriend for two years but lately he’s found himself fantasising about her best friend.
“I don’t want to mess up my relationship over something like this but I really don't know how to get her friend out of my mind,” says Anmol. “I’m turned on every time I’m around her.”
Arranged marriages are still a part of Indian tradition. And I get a feeling they are here to stay.
We don’t rate falling or being in love as big priorities – marriages are meant to fulfil the need to be ‘settled’. “Arranged marriages are like schools,” a friend of mine said. And since she got married recently through an arranged set up, I thought she must know.
My friend’s parents found her perfect match after a lot of groom-hunting. “I had been turning down quite a few offers. But this one seemed interesting. I met him and it clicked, so I thought why not give it a shot?” she said.
I asked her how she couldn’t have given love a shot instead.
“I don’t know what it is to be in love or love someone. I’ve never experienced that. I don’t believe in all that romantic stuff,” she said dismissively.
“I couldn’t have waited longer because my family wants to see me married and I don’t have such a big problem with arranged marriages,” she added.
While she was making a decision about her marriage she remembered what she’d heard a while ago. “Marriage can be like school,” she said. I looked at her flabbergasted. I wasn’t going to buy into that analogy.
“No, listen to me,” she insisted, “And listen carefully. Did your parents ask you for permission when they got you into school?” I said, no, of course not. I couldn’t have known what was good for me – if they had left it to me, I’d have preferred playing in the sand at the beach all day long!
“So you could say marriages are the same. They find you a good match because they will never want something bad for you, right? And then you deal with it the same way you deal with school,” she tried convincing me.
Before I could start arguing, she continued, “Just like you don’t like everything about school, you don’t like everything about marriage. There will be some things you will be good at and others you will suck at. Some of us manage to get good grades all the time, some of our results fluctuate and some of us drop out. But in the end we all learn.”
Tough learning, I thought, but I agreed with her to a certain extent – we can all learn a lot from life and its different stages. Schooling doesn’t end at classrooms but spills over beyond that.
I’m certain married life teaches you a lot of essential things, but do we need to be pushed into that and made to learn? Or should the learning happen seamlessly?
By Gayatri Parameswaran
Photo: Gayatri Parameswaran, © Love Matters/RNW
The views expressed in our blogs don’t necessarily represent those of Love Matters.
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