I just read a rocking post on Shruthi’s blog. Some of you might find it ridiculous that a girl could reject a would-be suitor on the basis of his sartorial elegance (or lack thereof), but I am not surprised. Even the sensible Lata Mehra was initially reluctant to marry Haresh because of the incongruity of his paan-stained teeth with his ‘fawn colored silk shirts’ and ‘co-resplendent shoes’.
(Ok, ok. I do realize that these are fictional characters I am talking about, go blame Vikram Seth for making them so believable. And if you don’t know what I am talking about, you should doob maro in chullu bhar pani and all that. On second thoughts, please read this wonderful book before you do that.) But believe me, I have known people to give up otherwise perfectly good proposals for stranger reasons in real life.
One of my dear friends from college has been on a ‘boy hunt’ for two years now. She started off with very clear-cut expectations, her perfect guy would be a Koknastha Bramhin and an engineer from IIT. (We aren’t too choosy now, are we?) One would think that with such simple requirements, all her parents had to do was bribe one of the registrars at IIT Powai, get a list of their Koknastha Bramhin alumni and then start the wedding preparations while their daughter sorted through the list and picked one of them.
But if only life were so simple! In these two years, my friend must have ‘seen’ twenty guys or more, but none of them made the mark. (I am not sure if all of them were from IIT, she might have relaxed her exacting standards after a look at the abysmal quality of husbands that IITs churn out these days.) I was chatting with her when I was last in India and she gave me a long list of her grievances.
She had rather liked one guy, but his mother actually had the temerity to ask if they’d like to have some water when they visited his house. Imagine, what kind of a woman would act kanjoos about such a thing as water! (Said friend, if you happen to read this, please please don’t get mad at me. All in good fun only and all that. And if you are still mad, come hit me once or twice but don’t stay mad please.)
Now lest she really run behind me with a danda in her hand, let me admit I found at least one of her grievances quite valid. One of the reasons behind her Koknastha Bramhin condition was the assumption that such a guy would naturally be vegetarian like herself. But it seems that the young male Koknastha Bramhin fraternity has taken to meat-eating with a vengeance these days. What is the world coming to!
Then there is my mother’s cousin sister who is just a decade younger to my mother and has been ‘on the hunt’ for the past fifteen years now. When my parents announced my wedding to the family, her mother actually urged us to find a similar ‘good boy’ for her daughter! I feel rather sorry for this mausi of mine. I find her a sweet and simple person who would probably have married long back, were it not for her perfectionist mother.
This lady has been known to reject proposals because the boy had too many siblings, his mother was not fair enough and had a crooked nose or some such equally ridiculous notion. And nothing short of a doctor, engineer or management professional would do for her chartered accountant daughter. Yes, even a post-graduate research scientist would lower her so-called prestige in society. The sad part is that I am not really joking here.
Should these be the criteria on which one chooses one’s life partner? I completely understand wanting to marry somebody who is well-educated, from a similar background and well-groomed. I can also identify with the wish to marry a person who is doing well in his or her chosen career. After all, this is real life, not a Bollywood movie where the couple can live happily ever after on love alone.
But how far should we carry our expectations? When is the line between the reasonable and the fantastic crossed? Is the shape of your mother-in-law’s nose really going to make a huge difference in the happiness of your married life? And is a groom from IIT a guarantee of lifelong bliss? Most married couples would agree that these things hardly matter in the long run. Instead, its the more mundane qualities like compatibility, friendship, shared values, affection and tolerance that go a long way in making a happy marriage.
But this is my newfound married experience speaking. A couple of years back, I was full of these romantic notions and unreasonable expectations myself. Perhaps a ‘Spouse Hunting for Dummies’ course is the need of the day. (Its a great business idea too! Do remember to send me the royalties if you decide to take it up.)
In the meanwhile, I have a huge grievance against my husband. By proposing to me and cunningly extracting an acceptance in my college days, he has forever deprived me of the chance to go through this entertaining ‘hunt’ and think up creative ways of rejecting my suitors. How can I ever forgive him for his crimes!