“Arrey, but his mother is so sweet! Think about it. Should anything go wrong, parents will take care of it. After all, you don’t marry the boy, you marry the family” So exclaimed a very ‘concerned’ aunt. After all, what the hell was wrong with me? I was in my 30s, independent, presentable, well traveled but single! Gosh, I should be married off right away. What will the people say? May be I needed medical attention, perhaps? Yes, that was politely suggested too. Sigh!

I had heard this advice many times over in last few years. About how we marry the entire family not just the (wo)man in question. Say what?! Lets visualize this literally for a minute- the entire extended family with grinning chachaji, annoying mamiji & the doting father in law – all taking the pheras together with me- now that made me puke in my mouth. That’s totally dysfunctional, no thanks.

http://i.ndtvimg.com/mt/movies/2014-01/
PC: http://i.ndtvimg.com/mt/movies/

Anyhow, I refused the proposal from this well ‘settled’ investment banker. Much to the disappointment of my worried aunt. Needless to say, I was becoming the psychedelic sheep of the family on a fast track. Be as that may, there was something about Mr Investment Banker that made me want to pick up running (away) as a sport each time we met. I swear, I would have done well at Rio.

On introspection, I was able to articulate a few of them. Firstly, he detested India & everything Indian. (Good Luck marrying an Indian then, Mister!). Did I mention he was from Upper London? (Namaste London & all that). Secondly, I saw flashes of impatience & anger when his viewpoint was not immediately accepted. This happened repeatedly. I tried really hard to make myself like him. But, nopes. Didn’t happen.

His family however was all sugar & everything nice. His mom in particular couldn’t stop gushing over how they found the daughter they never had, in me. Errr..how does that work? So, you suddenly find a person & it dawns on you that this is the child you always wanted? Maple leaves, guitar perhaps? No? Ok.

My point however being that we as Indians over emphasize this “so what, at least the family is nice” bit. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. Firstly, parents don’t live forever. Ya, that’s right. We all die. And once they are gone, your spouse is going to return to their true nature. What happens then?

Secondly, a lot of parents are guilty of shielding their own kids. Especially, if it involves a son. Ya, call me names now & lets pretend its not true. But, that doesn’t change facts. Families go through elaborate cover-ups to hide flaws & past of their children including illnesses or even previously failed marriages. They have this questionable belief that a person will be better off once they ‘settle down’. What does that even mean? For example, a violent/ mentally dysfunctional/criminally inclined person needs professional help, not marriage!

You might even decide to relocate to another geography/out of country after marriage. Your in laws may not accompany you & neither would Chachaji (Phew, thank God!). What happens then? It’s you and your spouse alone. Eventually, it will come down to living & sharing your life with that one person alone.

There are horror stories of families who only looked at the other family’s goodwill & behavior before marrying their kids off. Many such cases later involve stories of abuse, abandonment, killing, suicide etc. How could that happen? The family was so nice. Well, the spouse in question clearly wasn’t.

If you are not entirely comfortable with your spouse to be, you need to put your foot down and say no. No matter how nice your potential Mom in law sounds. Remember, you aren’t marrying her. Unless of course, you want to marry her. In that case, you have my best wishes.

All of the above is not to undermine the fact that the family you marry into doesn’t matter. Its just to say that the spouse to be matters more.

PC: https://thewordnypmhetdiariess.files.wordpress.com
PC: https://thewordnypmhetdiariess.files.wordpress.com

I hope you find the person of your dreams & have a happily ever after. Don’t forget to have all your background checks, references in place before you say I do.

Oh, what happened to the Investment Banker you ask? He married a lovely girl from Mumbai. She filed for divorce shortly thereafter, citing domestic violence.

No, Mummyji didn’t stand by the daughter she never had.

Twitter: @AkanchaS

Email: helloakancha@gmail.com

Author

I am the Founder & Director of Azure, Strategic Brand Consulting Firm based in Mumbai. I have had the good fortune of traveling across far away lands. I have also met some incredible people- monks, healers, leaders, magicians, entrepreneurs and more. This blog is an attempt to share these moments. If it strikes a chord with even one person or makes you smile, the purpose would have been served.

8 Comments

  1. payal manocha Reply

    Hahahaha.. Loved the end Akancha.. This mummyji is like a hidden snake!! She would pounce on u when u least expect it n then its an undeclared open war.. I mean , dude.. U marry only the guy n the family holds importance bt not as mch as ur spouse does.. Great piece.. Keep the good job going!

    • Akancha Reply

      Thanks Payal, glad you enjoyed reading it. Yup, as Indians we misplace priorities when looking at the prospective match’s family. Then we are setting ourselves up for a shock later. Trying to bring spotlight on that issue 🙂
      Have a super week ahead 🙂

  2. It’s true… in India weddings are between two families. And much to my dislike seldom do we look at a person and who he ia. All that is seen is what he and his family does. Your post opens up a whole lot of questions about marriage primarily arranged marriages in India. We sure have a set up that’s not really a solution to a happy married life.

    • Akancha Reply

      I agree. And we also need to question the pressure sometimes parents put on their kids to get married at certain age. Marrying your child off to families that seem nice in a short span of time may not always work out. Though intentions might be most honest.
      Thanks for reading & giving your feedback! 🙂

    • Akancha Reply

      Oh no, I am sorry to hear that! Can you get her help? May be speak to a professional counsellor? Is she physically safe?
      Please take care & wish the very best for your sister.

    • Akancha Reply

      Thank you so much. I promise to do my best there. Its encouraging to hear your response. glad you enjoy reading the blogs. Please keep your feedback coming. Next blog coming up this weekend. Have a super day ahead! 🙂

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