Today my favorite Guest Author takes us on a walk down memory lane where he narrates his experiences when he first saw his wife. This is a lovely little nostalgic post, enjoy…
My wife and I recently celebrated the 13th anniversary of our ponnu paathufying (seeing the probable bride). It’s time for a flashback. Join me as I go back to the past. The marriage proposal had come from an aged relative who knew both the families. I had firmly decided to turn down the proposal. I had come visiting only due to tremendous pressure from my uncle who had come all the way from Kumbakonam for the occasion. My (future) father-in-law had gathered his entire clan. All of Triplicane TP Koil Street was looking out of their balconies as I got off the Maruti 800 to enter my future in-law’s house. It was so embarrassing!
My (later) wife strategically had a rather chubby looking cousin seated next to her. The law of comparison kicked in. She also had her two close friends attend. Both seemed to be taking furious notes of all that I was doing. I looked at the wall and the ceiling fan and I was wishing I could disappear. My wife then offered to play the veena. I come from a rather tone deaf family and I thought that this will be the deal breaker. Instead, my mother surprisingly agreed and we were subjected to the veena recital.
When did things turn? I was served lip smacking bonda and kesari along with piping hot coffee. It was prepared by my mother-in-law. I seriously reconsidered my situation. I asked to speak privately to the girl. This was unusual in those times. I explained to her that I was earning very less then (and actually even now) and that my job was transferrable. She promised to live within our means. She wanted to know if she could continue her dance performances. I had no problems with that. These moments of honesty don’t seem much now but they helped take a decision. I said ‘YES’ but put a condition that the marriage needed to be scheduled after 6 months. I should confess that it was to give the girl an exit path in case she didn’t want to proceed further.
Years have gone by. Here I am – married and a father of two loving daughters. My mother-in-law stays with me these days and I get a ‘maapillai’ treatment every day. Things have a way of working out though it didn’t seem so then.
I grew up when chances of boys and girls meeting were not that many. Arranged marriage was a way to link a suitable girl to a suitable boy. These days, boys and girls are far more networked and perhaps that’s why we see more love marriages these days. Love marriage or an arranged marriage is merely a means to an end. If it leads you to the person who is the one for you, the means should not matter. In my clan, every generation is more progressive than the previous one. My younger brother is married to a Singaporean. I think even if we had looked for a girl for him, we would not have found a better one for him. Will my daughters marry from outside the community? That’s fine by me as long as they are good boys.
So, do you readers have similar stories to share. Go ahead and type them out in the comments section 😀
My favorite Guest Poster, my earlier manager, mentor and friend has put up his latest post “Surviving Matrimony” which he graciously agreed to allow me to post here.
The picture below is my only contribution to this post and the rest of it is published as is without any editing.
I will soon be completing 13 years of marriage. It’s time I share with you some of my learnings. Why a post on marriage in an office blog you may ask. In office, we are surrounded by twenty somethings who know not what they are getting into.
Before getting married
1. Arranged marriages are better. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it is true. In an arranged marriage, there are many folks interested in keeping the marriage going. The support you have from the family is enormous.
2. In the case of love marriages, know the difference between infatuation, passion and love. The shelf-life of each of these is different.
3. In either case (love or arranged), don’t believe in stack-ranking attributes. My uncle retired from Indian Statistical Institute and wanted a perfect bride for his son. He put together a spread-sheet which listed attributes (Height, Weight, Colour, Income, Family Background etc) for each of the girls they evaluated and assigned scores (1 to 5) for each of these attributes. They would have seen more than a 100 girls. Subsequent to all of that, my cousin has gone through two divorces and is now on to his third wife. This marriage seems to be lasting a little longer.Touchwood! In her book – ‘Art of Choosing’, Sheena Iyengar says too much of choice is overwhelming. She is right.
4. Looks are fleeting. My college buddy and I exchanged notes on what our college-mates have turned into. Some of the folks whom we thought of as great lookers have after tweny years, been ravaged by age, ill-health, hair-loss and worries. Folks whom we thought of as run of the mill have turned out rather well in the looks department. Some of us blossom early. Some of us blossom late. Do remember, these days everyone photoshop’s their Display Pictures (DPs).
5. It is best if you and your would-be spouse have different hobbies and interests. The more dis-similar you both are, the better it is. This way, you will not keep running into each other. Looking for similar likes & dis-likes in a would-be spouse is a disaster in the making. (“Why are you again & again taking my Tintin comics? You are spoiling the covers!”)
6. Be wary about office romances. Flings in the office seem to add spice in an otherwise bland work-life. But, they rarely last. Relationships in the office have under-currents. People who want to call/meet you 3 times a day will abruptly change the moment you take up another role or job. College or School romances are more innocent and enduring.
6. Don’t make pre-mature announcements to the world in case you plan to get married. In the last 3 months, I have come across quite a few marriages that have been called off even after the formal engagement was done. Take your time before you decide and only then let everyone know! I am a great believer of ‘Drishti’ (loosely translated as the ‘evil-eye’).
7. How to know if you have found the right one for you? Here is a litmust test. If you are comfortable sharing your happiest moments and your saddest moments with your would-be, then you have found the right one for you. Go ahead and all the best!
After getting married
1. Joint families are better. This again sounds counter-intuitive, but it is true. In a joint family, your spouse will have many other people to crib about. When you are nuclear, you are on your own. Everything will be your fault.
2. Don’t invite your friends home too often. Invariably, they will have poor manners and will irritate your spouse. Your friends are unlikely to impress your spouse and do be prepared for some harsh criticism about your circle of friends.
3. Don’t seem to be too interested in your spouse’s friends. You are expected to be courteous but a bit aloof. Know to strike the right balance if you want to avoid mishaps.
4. Have kids early in your married life. Kids make for many great shared memories and they make families complete and happy. My friend is 42 years and is expecting a baby in a couple of months. He worries if he will be in good health when his kid grows up. Some folks wrongly think having kids reduces the romance in a marriage. It only multiplies the fun.
5. Don’t buy anniversary gifts from Flipkart or Caratlane. You are expected to take the trouble of going to a shop and buy a gift. Also, these gifts are not supposed to be practical. (Mixie, toaster, TV etc are strict no-nos).
6. Don’t ‘friend’ your spouse in Facebook. sooner or later, you will post something that you regret. Have separate ‘social network’ lives.
7. Don’t go on frequent holiday trips. I mean it! Holidays can stress out your spouse. You will stop with making an online booking and then you will make your spouse pack all the bags and handle the logistics. The flight will get delayed, the hotel will be lousy and the kids will be irritable. It will be tiring and your spouse will long to get back home. Only travel agencies and tour operators talk about holidays where a couple can un-wind. It doesn’t happen in real life. If you want to give your spouse a holiday – send the kids to school, pack off your parents (and in-laws) to a pilgrimage, order food from Dominos and hand over the TV remote to your spouse.
8. Offer to watch your wedding video and photo album along with your spouse atleast once in 3 months. You are supposed to keep demonstrating that your wedding ceremony was the best part of your life.
9. Love is subtle. All through their married lives, I only remember my parents quarelling about everything. Four years ago, my mother passed away. My father misses her and every place, every thing brings out a reminiscence from him about my mother. In their own way, I think my parents were made for each other. Love is expressive and seems obvious only in tamil movies.
My younger one fancies Maddy (Actor Madhavan who sports a grin that for some reason seems to fascinate girls of all ages). My elder one assures me that she will not leave us after she marries and that she will ask the boy to move in with us. I guess my post-retirement fantasies have to wait till both my kids find someone suitable. 🙂