Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oh Yes Abhi!

While the latest Pepsi campaign resonated the restlessness of emotions among the youth today, I think it can be equally extended to elders in matters of  pushing young men and women in their twenties into a marital commitment. And their impatience existed a long before Gen Y came to be known for it.

Till around six months ago, my parents and I were hounded by restless relatives to become active participants in the extremely competitive bride hunt that was on in the community for the few marriageable young women left. "Dus crore ki party hai, haath se mat jaane dena", said one aunty. Another tried to sow seeds of suspicion in their head "Kahin uska affair toh nahin? You know XYZ ke saath kya hua tha na?" And an uncle interrogated my parents trying to uncover why they wouldn't look for a prospect for me for an whole hour. I stopped attending any function that would get me in the audible range of one of these matchmakers. So then they had more advice when I accidentally ended up meeting them - "You should attend these functions. You cannot lay low and expect to meet prospective brides. You will fall back."

I am 26 and eligible. I would like to think I am suitably qualified and have an exciting career in front of me. I  also consider myself wise enough to choose my own partner. All the bare necessities kept aside, I am a romantic. I believe it is never too late to fall in love. I also think it is important to be committed to be in a relationship, but one need not be in a relationship to be committed. And the fact that I am not the only young man who thinks so should make parents and extended families  happy that there are 'kids' who don't just 'fool around' in matters of love. My parents know that.

My parents also knew I had chosen my partner  but they were not able to handle the constant nagging. Thus for their sake, I sealed my relationship with an official stamp of an engagement in October. We also called many of these aunties and uncles to showcase my 'find' and announce within my community that I was booked and no longer looking.

I thought that would be the end of their interference in what I consider an extremely personal part of my life. How wrong I was! The nagging continues to this day. Only the questions have changed -"When do you plan to get married?", "Why do you want to push it to three years later?", "What if she falls in love with someone else?". I strongly think some of these questions don't deserve an answer but I try not to reveal these feelings. I have thus far tried to politely answer to each of their queries, keeping my sarcasm in check.

And I also know when I do finally agree to get married, they would each have opinions on how I should get married, who I should call, where I should get married, what I should wear....some people are so jobless that they don't know how to mind their own business.

When I do finally get married, I will, like the last time, host a reception for each of the relatives to announce that I have crossed the bridge of nuptials. I will also treat them to an elaborate buffet, receive their gifts and put up fake smiles for the photograph. But all this will be strictly after the marriage is over.

 I don't want the glitter and glamour to affect the sanctity of the occasion. There should be no make up. There should be no dressing up. There should be no gifts or dowry. There should be no burden of expenditure. I don't want my fiancee or myself to put up a face. I don't want our parents to manage the 'show'. I don't want the materialism to corrupt the marriage.

Instead, the marriage should be in the presence of the basic elements - fire, earth, water and air. There should be blessings. There should be prayer. There should be emotions, real emotions. And most importantly, we don't need an audience for something as personal as a marriage for the two of us - only the closest family and friends, not by blood but by the strength of association.

It is only then I will say "Oh Yes Abhi" to the question of marriage. Is it too much to ask?

Song on my relatives' mind:

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