Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Strange Encounters of the Arranged Kind - 2

In the series of incidents around my journey along the arranged marriage highway, my second gem:

Mr. I-have-chalked-out-your-life-for-you: This one is almost too good to be true. I definitely remember how and when I met this guy. In fact, thanks to the person who had arranged this, my entire family and family's family also knew about this guy. His family credentials had been checked and while I was all of 25 (over the hill for most Indian women, right?) my cousin's uncle even pulled me aside at a family function and said to me, "Why don't you just say yes to this guy and put an end to your parents' misery?" I was angry... and as the Martian in Looney Tunes would say to Bugs Bunny, I wanted to say, "You have made me very angry... very angry indeed." But then "good upbringing" always seems to prevail. One is taught not to talk back and all that.

Finally, the 'boy' and his mother came to meet us. (I find it amusing that even when they cross 50, men are always referred to as boys when they are looking for a bride.) And everyone went to the dining area to have coffee, leaving the two of us to talk and 'get to know each other'. I have never understood how people decide, in an hour, or much less, who they will wake up with for the rest of their lives!

I was preparing to take the GMAT and I told him as much. He said, "So, you're a career minded woman. That's OK." (Oops... last heard that wasn't a crime. But will you,oh will you forgive me?) You can work for the next 3 years. After that we will have our first child. And after that I won't entertain any requests from you to go back to work again... ever! We had moved to the balcony by then and I almost fell from the 3rd floor to the children's play area below. I was so utterly shocked. I told him, "You haven't asked me to marry you. I haven't said yes. You haven't asked me if I want to have children at all. You have assumed that I'll give up my job when I have the baby. And, finally, you've taken it that my career decisions will rest in your hands. Isn't that a little too much?"

He said, "My mother always stayed home when we were kids. So my sister and I decided that a mother should always stay home. My sister also worked for 3 years after her marriage and had her first child then. And she's ket her part of the agreement and not gone back to work after that." (I love the logic. Can't beat this, can you?) I argued with him a bit and at the end he said, "Look, if you have 10 points for, I will have 10 points against, but this is not about who wins the argument. This is how I have planed my life and yours. That's it!"

Needless to say, when the cups of coffee were empty... pleasant goodbyes were exchanged and we never heard from them again!


Agnija said...

After that we will have our first child. And after that I won't entertain any requests from you to go back to work again... ever!

My my!! He actually said that?! Amazing. What is more amazing is, this is not 1990's but 2007. I was reminded of my first year in my first graduate engineering degree. One of my classmates came over to my hostel during diwali (we were one of the few first-years who did not get to go home that break!) to go for a walk because he was feeling very homesick. So, I consented and went on a really long walk in the beautiful campus. Somewhere along the way, the conversation turned to "matters of life". I don't know how this happened, but I was listening to him say ".. So, I think the best thing for you to do is to quit engineering and take up a bank job. Because, in the end, that works best for the girl when she gets married and has childern!". That was 1990.
I guess nothing has changed!

Raaga said...

None of what I write about in the strange encounters is about the present. I am married now... and much of this happened at the turn of the century. But you know what, even if it is 2090, Indian men will not change that much... most of them will remain the way their ancestors were in 1990 or 1890. And I am lucky that I picked one from the ones that have changed :)

G'man said...

hmm.. I thought we left such specimens a couple of decades back.. Guess not much has changed..

But you know what, even if it is 2090, Indian men will not change that much...

I wonder why ppl don't change.. Is it because of the society.. For that matter, there are so many women out there who haven't changed much, yielding to the needs of such men.. Yes, it is going to take a looong time, if at all something is to change..

lipstick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raaga said...

Yeah G'man... I agree that men and women both need to change. I have friends who have ful careers and yet say nothing to their husbands who will not lift a finger around the house... even if the lady is 8.5 months pregnant, she has to cook and clean up after dinner and the guy will just eat... and watch TV afterwards.

janani said...

well, there are men who have changed a lot and do help around in the house. There are some who share the household chores as much...and believe in sharing responsibilities at home all this, lets not forget the good ones..or it will end up like the story of the prodigal son! :-)

Raaga said...

Yeah Janani... I have mentioned in my comment that "most" remain the same and I am lucky to have found one from among the ones who have moved with the times... am not forgetting anyone :)