Love(?) and Arranged Marriages in India

There is obviously a reason why I have a question mark in the title.

Don’t these two names imply that only one of them has love and the other, probably not? Isn’t this why couples hate saying the A-word and some even call their marriage “arranged cum love” out of fear of being judged or stereotyped?

We are in 2017, is it necessary that you only either fall madly in love with someone and marry him/ her by hook or by crook OR your parents find someone for you and you get married without really knowing each other (not even knowing their favorite TV show or their views on adoption)?

Absolutely Not.

The difference between the two has come down to a LARGE extent today and I wish people acknowledged it! And that is why I want to call it Arranged (AM) and Unarranged Marriage (UM) to prove my point. Unarranged simply because it is not technically arranged by the parents, so please don’t look up for the exact meaning and take offense.

AMs today are a lot like their counterpart even in the initial stages – quality time getting to know each other, whether it is on Hangouts or at a local coffee shop; introducing one another to friends to help them make a decision; giving thoughtful gifts in an attempt to impress their prospective bride or groom; making grand/ memorable marriage proposals when either of them have made up their minds or planning sweet surprises that could melt The Wall in the north (a Game of thrones reference)!

Its time we stop seeing AM as something only those who are boring, shy, orthodox, conservative or unattractive (!!!!!) opt for. (Am I coming off as insensitive or shallow? No, I’m neither of those things I promise, I just know how some people perceive it!) It could simply be two people, who didn’t find “The One”, taking their parent’s help and resources in doing so.

Whats the shame in it? Whats so less exciting about it? Why is there an assumption that they’d have zero interesting stories about “how they met”? Why is it okay to wonder if they even love each other? Why are the real intentions of the girl/ guy doubted?

If you find someone on Tinder, its “love”; if you find someone on a matrimony site, its “arranged”! Whats the big difference, except the fact that you have more filters to choose from on a matrimony site? In fact, I have friends whose parents want nothing more than what you might filter out in Ok Cupid.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against UMs (see image below), just with the people of our generation who try to marriage-shame you, even if subtly, just because you didn’t really date or you never secretly snuck in to your now husband’s rooms or lied about talking to Meera, a non-existent friend on the phone before getting hitched?

I have personally seen new people I meet asking me 15 minutes into the conversation, “so, love marriage?” and when I say no, giving me the vibe that I’m suddenly not good enough to stand next to them.

Sometimes, I even find myself explaining how I’ve had my fair share of experiences before deciding to take a look at guys my parents were looking for me. But why!? Why do I need to explain myself to someone who judges me by the kind of marriage I had?

Its what even a Bollywood celebrity like Shahid Kapoor experienced because he had an AM. I clearly remember him appearing less confident and a little uncomfortable (and he is a frigging actor for gods sake!) while Karan Johar asked him on his show about how he and his wife met.

Does it sound like I’m pointing fingers at others and being all self righteous? Well, no. Its the opposite. I have been there, and done the judging myself. But now that I have learnt the behind-the-scenes about AMs and know pretty well about UMs, I decided to write about it, hoping that someone who reads it will change their mind about the sad misconception.

So, yes, Arranged marriages can be just as fun, exciting and romantic and yes, they can be filled with love, friendship, madness and laughter, not to forget crazy nickname giving and silly off-pitch singing.


This is a screenshot of the blog post I had written in 2008 about my skepticism about AMs!


11 thoughts on “Love(?) and Arranged Marriages in India

  1. A guy I worked with years ago had an arranged marriage set up by his brother and sister because his parents had died, and he and his wife seemed really happy together, even though she was about twenty years younger than he was. So yeah, it works.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No Anup, I’m not a proponent for either kind of marriage. All I’m saying is to stop stereotyping AMs when you have less or no knowledge about how it works today. My perspective about AMs changed over the years when I started seeing a whole lot of friends finding love this way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always found it interesting. There’s way too much emphasis on old books and movies about meeting some stranger on your wedding day, not enough of this modern explanation you give here, although yours isn’t the first I’ve heard.
    There are all these things people tout as most important to a marriage, (love, trust, communication, honesty, loyalty, shared interests, culture, religion) and I contend that those are all great components, but it seems to me that the people who are happiest in their marriages are people who WANT to be happy, who commit to their marriage and work on it every day.
    When people decide they want to be married, that they want this person to share their life, I don’t much think it matters how it happens.
    Same could be said for people who met online gaming, or in some chat room. Even after they’re together for 10 years, they’re not treated with the same level of respect that is given to some meet-cute in a rom-com, where you drop your books and he picks them up and it’s love at first sight.
    All the love stories are worth telling, I do not discriminate and level-label love stories.
    Thanks for sharing your overview.

    Liked by 1 person

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