So, you’re in your twenties now. You’ve had a free reign in college and finished studying and got your basic qualification. You’re holding that degree certificate in your hands thinking of the whole range of possibilities that have just opened up to you after years of hard work. You can find a good job and finally earn enough to perhaps buy your own car in a few months and maybe shop without guiltily looking at the balance in your bank account which your Daddy had to previously refill every now and again. Ah…the good life! Yes, life is about to change, but maybe not exactly in the way you expect. You begin to catch snippets of conversations that your parents and other well-wishing older relatives are having all involving eligible boys. It is elementary to deduce from such chit-chat, that it looks like they think it’s time for you to settle down and assume your role as someone’s wife and daughter-in-law.
It’s all well if you’re one of those lucky girls who have found the right frog and he has indeed turned into your prince charming but if you form part of the sample of population that isn’t quite so lucky, he who you thought would turn into a prince remained in fact quite an ugly toad and had to be returned to the pond from whence he came. The unfortunate fact of the matter in this situation is that now you don’t have anyone to take home to introduce to your parents as “the one”, so you’re parents start the quest of their lives (involving you in it). They begin the hunt for a suitable boy.
Getting into the mind-set is probably the hardest part of the whole arranged marriage concept. Realizing and then accepting that someone else is almost fully in charge of finding your life partner is quite overwhelming. I know I struggled with the idea before coming to terms with it. At this point in the process, you actually develop a sort of checklist in your head, quite like those advertisements you see in the matrimonial columns of newspapers, “looking for a groom who is highly qualified, he should be at least this tall, about three or four years older, enjoy music and the theatre, and if he’s good looking, well that’s an additional plus that has been thrown in on account of good luck.” There are hundreds of other things that you want him to be because when you begin drawing that checklist in your head; you’re probably for the first time in your life, really qualifying your ideal spouse. Ideal being the key word here.
Anyway, based on your description of the fellow you have your sights on (even if it’s only in your mind), your family scours the place and finds someone they think is the suitable boy. To meet the prospective in-laws, in pseudo-filmy style, you dress in the traditional garb, wear the gold your mother picked out, and sit very quietly not really making eye contact with anyone, let alone your possible knight in shining armour. Then your parents (in cahoots with his); decide to leave you alone with the boy so you can “get to know each other better”. Erm…awkward!! What are you supposed to discuss with a chap you’ve only just met even if you’re supposed to spend your lives together (as the parents are hoping in the next room)?!? You end up doing what is only natural, you spend the next few minutes nervously smiling and glancing at each other, asking very irrelevant and rather silly questions which are unfortunately not the type that lead to other questions and therefore, each response ends in a very uncomfortable silence until one of you is able to rack your brain and think of anything else to say and then…then there is a relapse into that dreaded silence. The cycle continues. Boy number one didn’t really go too well…
But, never say die! It is after all a quest we’re on and although seeing boy number two is easier and you have previous experience to draw upon enabling you to carry on a slightly better conversation with shorter silences, by the time you meet boy number three, you begin to wonder if the fellow you imagined in your head was really that wonderful after all. In between smiling politely at number three and wondering how you agreed to meeting him in the first place, you begin to lower your expectations and the painted picture of your ideal life partner begins to undergo a number of changes. You decide, maybe he doesn’t have to be all that tall. Or maybe even if he is six or seven years older than you, it’ll be okay. It won’t be like you’re from two different generations or anything of that sort. It’s alright if he has never read a novel in his life or never heard of the Beatles or Elvis. You simply hold on to the few essential qualities you cannot imagine your future partner without and with the other toned down ideals in your head, you look at more boys.
At about boy number six, you think you’ve finally met someone who you can talk to. He’s just a little taller than you and he isn’t the best looking guy in the world. But, he seems very smart and he likes Elvis. (Score!!!) So you tell your parents that maybe, if he has no objection either, you would like to get to know each other a little better. Maybe a couple of months later, you get married.
No, he wasn’t the perfect man when you met him and chances are he’s not going to become that perfect fellow over the years. Perhaps if you met him when he was number one instead of six, you would have rejected the idea of being with him. But having grown through this quest you and your parents were on, you realize, the search was for the “suitable” boy not the perfect one and possibly parents do know best. In all likelihood, you will eventually be happier with the most suitable boy instead of the totally perfect because he can probably compensate for your imperfections and make all other things in life appear flawless.