Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People – Dating and Marriage Customs in India
India’s national anthem, Jana Gana Man, translated to English means Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People. To put down in layman language, someone who can rule the minds of people will be victorious.
In India, sadly even after calling us a progressive nation, developing so much in IT and infra, a person himself cannot rule his own mind. Society, rules, customs, ideologies and what not, there are various name labels to how our love life shapes us.
Step 1 Dating:
The first step to a relationship is dating. You can argue that nowadays in the modern India, youngsters get to choose whom they want to date and take it to your parents when you are ready to get married. But is it really true? I feel that this trend consists of only 1% of total Indian population and that too the ones who live in Metro cities.
Predominantly, dating is still the same, your parents arrange dates for you, you meet and talk once and if you are lucky then twice. The surprising part is that you don’t even get to date alone, you are usually accompanied by your sibling, aunts, uncles and even parents. What’s the point of talking alone right now when you would have your whole life to talk later, right!
Step 2: Get Married ASAP, Indian Single Life Sucks!
If you are a boy then sure single life is fun for you but if you are a girl then it’s screwed. If you are 30 – unmarried and working – there’s definitely something wrong with you. General consensus, you are probably too modern, have lot of affairs, drinking openly and partying whole night even if you do none of these. But if you haven’t found a boy to settle down with yet, then you are surely difficult to get along with and thus not a suitable match for the sanskari boys out there who are looking for a virgin wife. I don’t have any statistics to backup my theory but I think India is probably the last in the number of Singles!
Step 3: No Sex Before Marriage
Even though government of India has no issues in couples living together but society has a lot of issues. In March, 2010 by a three judge court (Chief Justice K.G.Balakrishnan,Deepak Verma and B.S.Chauhan) ruled cohabitation legal. “When two adult people want to live together, what is the offence. Does it amount to an offence ? Living together is not an offence, it cannot be an offence. Living together is a fundamental right under Article 21, Constitution of India”. But people in India don’t believe in the legal mumbo-jumbo and if you are having a live-in relationship then it’s a taboo. Story is different in Metro cities but only if your parents are not living in same city. Another interesting fact, many couples don’t even engage in lip lock until their wedding night. I personally feel it’s very important to have sex before marriage, if the sex is not good then your marriage is doomed anyways, so better try before jumping in for the lifetime.
Step 4: Engagement
Now everyone fancies a romantic setting when the boy bends down on 1 knee and proposes to the girl. Girl says yes, he slips the ring in her finger and Vola they are engaged.
In India, it’s different, engagement is not just about the couple, its about celebration. When parents have agreed, a big ceremony takes places and 100’s and sometimes 1000’s of people are invited to watch the couple put ring on each other’s hands. A grand meal follows because no ceremony is complete without yummy treats. And how can I forget the grand display of gifts which are not just for to-be bride and groom, they are to be given to the entire family because well families are also getting engaged. If the gift is gold and cash then better, no one really cares about dinner sets these days.
It’s lot more fun to get engaged if you are in South India, here it’s not important for the bride and groom to be present in their own engagement, its more like a commitment between families so why would you be needed anyways.
Step 5: The Wedding
Now undoubtedly this is the biggest event in any family in India. Depending on how much money you have, scale of celebration increases. Indian weddings are huge events, I personally hate attending weddings but then if you live in India, you just cannot avoid them (India is 2nd highest populated country in the world, imagine how many weddings must be happening each day).
So, back to celebrations, weddings are noisy, colorful, drama oriented, full of 100’s of ceremonies/rituals that I’m sure most of the bride and grooms don’t understand the meaning of. Weddings usually last 7-8 days with each day having some or the other function featuring music, grand feast for the guests, bangals clicking, ghaghras fluttering and shining jewelry. The best is when the Groom arrives sitting on a horse, I just love that part in a wedding….
So in western countries they prefer to have just 1 day of wedding, you say “I Do”, dance, eat and run off to honeymoon. But in India, even though it’s a poor country, people need to have elaborate weddings because well society needs it. Honeymoon is not important, but wedding rituals should be done completely.
Step 6: Moving In – Oh, Not with the Husband but with his Family
In India, it is customary for a girl to leave her parents and live with her husband’s parents. But for a boy to leave his parents is unacceptable as boys are supposed to take care of them. If the husband happens to work in another city then he will surely have a place of his own but out of question if you are in same city. So once you are married, you cannot expect to get a privacy that you probably need especially in an arranged marriage. Make sure sex is hush-hush without a lot of sound, you never know in-laws could be hearing from other side of the wall.
Step 7: Mother-In-Law
In India mother is considered the most important, most sacrificing and one of the noblest person in the entire world. So undoubtedly she holds the highest authority in the family. So when a new member of the family comes in to live, her authority can waiver and thus, she holds full control of the son to make sure that he doesn’t love the wife more than the mother. Of course it is not true always, but it holds in almost 60-70% of the marriages.
And that’s how even though you are born alone, you die alone, but you don’t live alone. Society and family make sure you don’t use your brains and go by the rules they were made to follow when they were your age.