Rants

Is It My Fault?

Let’s face it. I just turned 26. Now, turning 26 isn’t so bad in itself, but it becomes a nightmare when you’re a single guy. And it gets worse when so many of your friends get married and some of them start having kids already. As you start going to their weddings and kids’ birthday parties, something else happens – slowly and silently, but surely. Your parents start getting impatient; they want their beloved ‘child’ to get married too. And this is where problems arise.

#QuarterLifeCrisis

Over the past few months, I’ve been posting a series of status posts with the tag #QuarterLifeCrisis.

You know you’re old when your friend refers to your potential girlfriends as “kids”.

Me and my single friends did a detailed cost-benefit analysis of having 2 kids vs 1.

Everyone talks about their wedding or wants to know when yours will happen.

When holding a neighbour or a relative’s baby, I keep getting asked if its mine.

You start playing the you’ll-get-married-first-no-no-YOU’LL-get-married-first game with your friends. And it is terrifying.

When a friend invites you over to his or her new house, the first question you ask will be “how much square feet is this?” instead of “which room are we drinking in tonight?”.

A lot of my friends unfortunately mistook these for a cry for getting married soon. On the contrary, they were actually about me being totally unprepared for marriage.

I belong to the country’s generation that has begun to truly embrace heavy metal. I belong to the generation that saw VHS, telephone booths and tape cassettes go obsolete {{probably research and add more stuff here}}. I belong to the generation that moved from typing out MIDI-ringtones on brick-like phones to being able to take amazing pictures and share them worldwide using razor-thin phones in all but 8 years. This generation is the same that can finally hope to believe in “love” marriage. It is shameful that we even have to categorize marriage like that.

The journey to this day and age has been long and difficult. 50 years ago, a marriage not arranged by your parents was considered a sin comparable to genocide. Today though, it is looked at as a much lesser sin (say, something like a petty theft) – but a sin nonetheless. Yet, parents grudgingly let their kids marry someone they like. Yay for change!

Each generation fights for change; for something good for the next. And India needs a lot of change. It makes me incredibly happy to realize how we’ll be the generation that will finally and (hopefully) completely stop forcing caste and arranged marriage down our kids’ throats.

The fight needs to start today. Right now.

I do not really believe in the institution of “arranged” marriage. Sure, it worked for a lot of people, and sometimes beautifully slow. But those were simpler times. From conversations with so many 20 year-olds, I realize how the concept of jumping straight to living with someone you hardly know is completely alien to us. A marriage to a person you know and love does not only seem romantic but logical.

Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with parents who aren’t completely against the concept of “love” marriage. They’ve given me a bit of a free reign to go look for someone I’d want to marry, but they’ll also keep looking for a “suitable” girl (never mind the fact that I’d like to focus on my career).

Sadly, I see many people in their mid-twenties in the same situation; we’d rather focus on our careers first than being harassed daily for “a full-length photo where you’re cleanly shaven and wearing formals” to show to random people. If you think about it, this is far worse than Facebook and Instagram changing their privacy policy overnight.

I’ve been unsuccessful in love. Relationships ran their course, but faded away. And according to my parents, the available pool of “suitable” girls is getting smaller each day as I get older. Let me define what “suitable” means for my parents, and for about 70% of the rest of country’s.

  • A girl from my religion.
  • A girl from my caste.
  • A girl with a matching horoscope.
  • A girl not taller than me.
  • A girl from a respectable family.
  • A girl who is well-educated.

These are the primary requirements for my possible future wife. IN THAT ORDER! Notice how religion, caste and an ancient version of a Sudoku grid figure higher on the list than the girl’s education? Is it my fault I was born a Hindu? I hardly believe in religion. Is it my fault I was born a <insert caste here>? Why should I be forced to marry only a girl from the same caste? Why do I need planets and stars to be in specific positions in space to be able to marry someone? Almost all of the Western Hemisphere doesn’t have the ‘kundli’ or ‘jaadhagam’ system and they seem to be happily married. I ask my parents these questions; but they don’t have straight answers. They try to (badly) rationalize this by saying that’s how its always been done. Time to fucking change that.