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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Arranged Marriages of India Durable Link to this BLOG
Arranged Marriages

© K. L. Kamat
Boy Meets Girl

To answer most oftenly asked questions about the institution of arranged marriages in India, I have written an article briefly mentioning the behind-the-scenes events of a typical arranged marriage.

No discussion of arranged marriages is complete without touching upon the humiliation of the bride's father during the process. Best said in a folk poem, "Soirika Phajiti". Notes and references follow the translation.

Father of the Bride (The Indian Version)
(translated from a folk song)

Can't describe the agony
Can't describe the hardships
of the bride's daddy.

Visited every home of fellow caste [1]
and distributed the horoscope
His shoes are worn out by wandering pillar to post
to find a suitable match
His bank account is dwindling fast
to find a suitable match for his girl

Meanwhile ticking away is bride's biological clock
worried is the bride's sister [2] and rest of the flock
All the powerful Gods are offered a bribe
in prayer for a suitable groom for the bride

Hurray, there's a match of the horoscope
Even though it means settling for less.

Accompanied by four men, he went to negotiate.

News is that groom's friend doesn't like the girl apparently
The groom's father will decide after hearing about the dowry
Grapevine has that the groom's mom is keen
Groom's sister is sitting on the fence

It's time to spend the money for the wedding
Grooms family wants lavish spending
Chiroti [3] for the friends
sarees [4] for thirty relatives

It's a time to bear the humiliation
of washing the in-law's feet
of bearing insults
of putting on a courteous mask and pleasing the groom's side
of waiting of approval which will never come

Raising the girl for eighteen years
with all the skills to be a good housewife
and a good mother
is not enough.
Worrying if she will be cared or loved after marriage
is not enough.

By the time the girl is married,
have no words to describe the agony
Can't describe the hardships
of the bride's daddy.
Lord is his only hope.
Frustration is his only friend.

Source: Ovyo Gavuya, Jyotsna Kamat, 2005

Notes:

[1] Arranged marriages are typically arranged within one's own caste
[2] In an arranged marriage system, the younger sisters are not married unless the elder sister is married.
[3] Chiroti -- A sweet delicacy usually offered in welcoming the guests
[4] Sarees -- The Indian drapes; see saree, sarees

See Also:

Links:

• First Person Experiences of a Candidate in an Arranged Marriage by Anita Jain


First Written: Monday, May 30, 2005
Last Modified: 5/31/2005 9:44:43 PM
Tags: ovyo-gavuya

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