"I have heard arranged marriages are big in India." My colleague (American) had said just a few weeks prior to my vacation. "I find it interesting. Your parents choose your match and you simply follow. Does is not sound like you are taking risk with your life?" I began formulating the answer even I did not know and have always dreaded. "But then even here our marriages can and do fail after people choose their life partner themselves. So I guess it all depends on each person and his or her ability to adjust in life", she had answered herself after contemplating for a few minutes.
Yes. Adjust. Compromise. It did sound scary initially. What if she does not like rock music? What if she does not like sandwiches? What if she does not enjoy rain? What if she does everything by consulting her astrologer? What if she is sick of traveling? What if she makes me watch 'Kyon ki saans bhi kabhi bahu thi' type serials? What if she does not like kids? What if she is not flexible? What if she does not like Ducktales? Horror!!
Jokes apart, for 99% of us mortals, marriage is the single biggest decision in our life, and thus one of the most difficult decisions. I mean, if one has to stay with her for about 40-50 years (clearly I am not being pessimistic, just realistic), share nitty-gritty of his life, raise a family, manage emotions in good and bad times, maintain good relations between all stakeholders without sacrificing too many of his personal interests, how in the world does finding the correct life partner sound like an easy task which can be achieved over a four week vacation? And then how can I be so sure that my elders know the best for me? I mean, they are my elders and all that. But to add to complications I am here across the seven seas. How well do they know my conditions to make an informed decision? Or would they rely on outdated memories and telephonic conversations to arrive at hasty judgment that I will be forced to follow for rest of my life? Furthermore, marriage is not just between her and I, but it will be union of our entire families. How can I know that I or for that matter she will be accepted in the 'other' family as readily? There are hundreds of such questions. How and where does one search for the answers?
I didn't know answer to a single question posed. But maybe I was not required to. So in that moment so unlike me, I said yes and I got engaged a couple of days later to P. And when I look back and think about it now just after a week, I feel I am so ready for my arranged marriage. :-)