My dear friend Dharwadkar is a very worried man. Come to think of it there is no need for him to worry at all. He is financially well of, with a regular pension, own house, working spouse, reasonably good health and above all both his sons are working in reputed firms. You may then ask me what is worrying him. I have a theory – Mind has a 1” box which has to remain full all the time with worries. Just when you think all the worries have been attended to and the box is empty, it gets filled up again with some other worry. Dharwadkar – DK for short spelt ‘Decay’ was unusually depressed and worried after his return from his home town – which incidentally happens to be Dharwad. His main worry is to find a bride for his elder son who is working in a reputed MNC in US and has an MS and MBA under his belt. I thought for a moment, why a boy with excellent education and a good job should find it difficult to get a life partner.
Looking back – meaning my generation – we became eligible – coming of age – a good catch - so to say in the mid seventies. I don’t think we had much difficulty in finding partners. One by one all of us got married – bore children and in due course have also become grand fathers. We gave no reason to our parents to worry about. So I cannot say how parents feel when, one’s offspring does not tie the knot on time. A friend of mine came very close to causing some degree of discomfort to his aged parents when they found out that he was still a bachelor and reaching the thirties. His mother a very strong woman with great persuasive skills one day called him and very frankly told him “my dear own blood and bones, time has come to say ‘I Do’ and you better say it quick or else you will end up as an abandoned road side bull, aimlessly wandering and grazing new pasture every day. The thought of becoming an aimless bull was too much for my dear friend, who then acted swiftly and found a mate.
In our days there were two kinds of marriages – ‘Love’ and ‘Arranged’. Even today it has remained the same.
Going back to Decay – I normally listen to his woes without offering any unsolicited advice except to say yes, no, grunt, yawn, scratch here or there etc to help him continue his narrative of the day. This morning while exercising one’s body, mind and soul, I somehow felt a strong urge to take this bull by the horn (not my friend who was about to become an aimless bull) and get to the bottom of his problem. To my great astonishment I found that dear Decay had done what all was required of the Marriage Blue Book- They had put ads in all the matrimonial sites, contacted their kith and kin, given their requirement to the traditional match makers, temple priests were told – you name it Decay had done it. Mind you this colossal effort has been in place from the last two years without yielding any result. The reasons are I suppose well documented – boy does not like the girl, girl does not like the boy, she is not fair, too smart for me, comes from a different background, too short, too tall, gotra does not match and so on.
What has so drastically changed in the last 35 years making the institution of marriage so different – meaning, why has it become difficult to find a mate either through L or A.
Amongst my friends and acquaintances there are a number of similar instances where in, their children have not been able to find suitable life partners. The boys and girls in question are highly educated, well employed, attractive and charming. When compared with us, ‘Generation – Today’ - grew up in a more open and liberal society and they were mostly left to themselves to conduct their day to day activities. Parental influence and guidance was there but limited. The society gave them more opportunities to interact with the opposite sex.They grew up in age of options and choices and still made good decisions. Surprisingly, when it comes to the all important decision of marriage – they dither, stall and delay.
Talking about L marriage – I simply cannot understand why some children cannot find suitable mates within their area of interaction. Is it that, they do not know what they want or their expectations are so high and idealistic that it becomes extremely difficult to find a mate. Does ‘Generation – Today’ think that they will lose their independence and identity if they were to say yes to M. In an age of instant food, quick fixes and frequent job hopping is there an unconscious resistance to long term commitment and relationships. May be as young children the life was in fast forward and they had very little time to sit back and reflect on their way of life. So when they finally slow down, they learn that the life they were leading and the life they want to lead are at variance and this revelation affects all aspects of life including selection of a suitable mate. Whatever the case may be these youngsters hem and haw when it comes to marriage.
Some youngsters prefer A marriage from the word go – either due to parental pressure or own accord. Those who did not succeed in L marriage at some point of time agree to go the A way. There are a number of hurdles to be crossed in this route also. As the children are busy, the task of progressing the A marriage is conveniently left to the parents, who in turn rely on traditional sources to find a match. When perceptions of the parents and that of children differ, matchmaking turns into a nightmare. I know a case where the parents are busy finding a girl with good ‘D in L’ like qualities. Each time they find someone suitable it turns out that their son is not interested. It’s almost a year and they are yet to find a right match.
Parents and the children should know that marriage is similar to catching a running train – with every passing minute the train is gaining speed and the other party is losing ground. With age, the window of opportunity becomes smaller and choices gets narrowed down .The competition gets too severe.
It’s high time someone gave advice to both parents and the children – may be a marriage councilor who can take a dispassionate view and render good practical advice.
Till such time this vexing problem is resolved people like Decay will continue to be worried and spend sleepless nights.