Life is all good until your age crosses the mark of 25. After that, it seems like someone opened floodgates of unsolicited advises on why one should ‘get married on time’, ‘have kids on time’ and perhaps even die on time. It is impossible to fathom the obsession people have with marriages – especially in India.
And perhaps it is just generation gap, but the world is changing. Of course, we cannot expect our parents’ and grandparents’ generations to understand this so quickly. We go out, wear whatever we wish to, party, and date through apps. I can only speak for women here when I say that the dating pool currently consists of gym-going dude-bros, pretentious woke-bois, and emotionally detached fuckbois, most of the time plain old perverts. Therefore, dating seems like a rather futile exercise. Having someone to share something meaningful, physical intimacy being an aspect of that relationship and not revolving around it, with someone evolved. That seems like a far-fetched dream at this point for a lot of us.
And then there are parents, who at all times feel like what would happen when they die, without seeing their son-in-law, their grandkids, and their kids. The list of demands never end. I saw my cousin get married recently – someone I grew up with. While the wedding was the usual taam-jhaam business, the process of finding ‘the one’ was fascinating. There were a list of boys from our caste who were shortlisted, with their ‘bio-data’ (seriously, who even says that anymore!) and the family pandit-ji would come match them. Whichever person’s planets are in a good mood and decide to match, they qualify for another round of verification – the nosy aunty league that could give Instagram and Google stalkery by our best friend some serious competition. Remarkable how much information they can siphon off the samaaj and not even use the modern devices or softwares for it! Because there ain’t no detective as good as the good ol’ nosy aunty in our ‘samaaj’.
It reminds me of our modern ways of dating to find ‘the one’. We sign up on Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, or just another dating app that’s in vogue right now. Add your preference, your personal deets, enter your likes and dislikes, and if the time is right, and ‘your stars align’, viola! It’s a match.
Of course, our parents’ generation may or may not have that kind of freedom of looking for the next prospect, but the option of exploration remained open while experiencing this particular phenomenon of choosing a mate through the priest. And over a period of time, this has fused together the ways of all generations together.
In a Pandit-ji backed operation, if your kundali ends up being matched to the other person, i.e grah, guna, gotra, naadi (do not ask me how I know this, I just do) then well, it’s a match! You go out and meet the person, with full permission from parents. And perhaps we have the leeway of telling them that we did not like person A, so the next one shortlisted in the list of matched kundalis shows up! Sound familiar? I remember quite a few of my cousins going out and meeting their prospective spouses this way –the only difference is this one comes with an insurance of the priest and the family. Move on to the next if you do not like them.
The point here is not to mock or demean any means of dating to find the love we want and deserve. Both the ways are fine. But in the end, I suppose it all boils down to the perfect timing. When Aishwarya Rai was allegedly made to marry a tree because of some maanglik dosha (seriously guys, I simply happen to know this okay) nothing really happened to Abhishek post that. There’s no fool-proof way of telling whether astrology works with the magnitude it is believed to have, but there has to be a cupid somewhere out there to help you find that one special person. Of course, if you do it the way of your designated family pandit-ji, you can always blame your parents if anything ever goes wrong, right?
It boils down to the fact that planets, apps or simply a meet-cute, there is always hope. Hope in love. Hope that there’s maa-kasam someone out there for you who will make a fab story. Not the Mills And Boon kind, or the Yash Raj films kind. The kind where you’re in your mid-forties, one fine Sunday morning in winter you wake up next to that person, bicker about something and yet make breakfast for both in bed, make out a little while your Labrador comes and crashes on the bed between you two as you watch K3G on TV, lounge around for the day and have late dinner at a posh Italian restaurant, read a book and kiss each other Good Night. And then you wonder – would it have mattered whether you found that person through your family pandit-ji, some dating app, or saw them across at a bar?
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