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wishing all a gr8 2009

The GREAT indian Tamasha !!!

If some inventor ever made a barometer for eccentricity, lavishness and beyond imagination show-off, it’s without doubt that the great Indian tamasha (the Indian wedding) would break all world-wide records, year after year. The great Indian wedding has been a ritual, religiously undertaken and performed for centuries by millions of dynasties all over this huge and vast country. I emphasize on the word dynasty, because the money spent on one of such events is enough to feed a tiny African nation.

The institution called marriage has a special significance in India. The fantastic fable world of “perfect marriage” and “happily ever after” is a lullaby that every Indian grows up listening, watching on movies and believing in.

The patriarchal nature of the society gives rise to a chauvinistic approach within the negotiations of a marital contract. It’s been documented and voiced by reformers, movie-makers, socialites and intelligentsia on how the feminine side of the contract is helpless, oppressed and exploited.

The journey thru the primal psychology of a normal Indian, leads up to really interesting findings. The journey begins within the millions of advertisements in newspapers classifieds and matrimonial websites. It just takes a few minutes of reading thru these advertisements, before you are crowned PhD in "Indian matrimonial advertisements".
They all have a classical start with "Young, smart, beautiful XYZ community Girl looking for a suitable match..." and end with "a handsome, well qualified, settled XYZ boy".

Once a family goes thru this great "brain-storming" session. A set of ”suitable" advertisements are selected. After initial scrutinization, a whole bunch of photos and CV's are presented to the "prospective groom". (Its surprising how we Indians are obsessed with sending applications and attending interviews. First to school, then in college, then for job, and finally for marriage. )

Let’s quickly look at the features of our "prospective" groom. He is a simple guy, who after battling the great monster of called education system has finally managed a promotion into the category of "earning member". (It’s a genetic fixation that we Indians have, as soon as someone starts to earn, the so called "elders" decide he is ripe for marriage.)

This simple guy is someone, who makes his choices, desires, views of the future, based on television/movies(our primary source of information), what his friends tell him ( who are equally or even more lost then him, but portray to be "experienced") and what he reads in b-grade novels and magazines. The lullaby of a "perfect marriage" always ringing in his head.

After being confronted with a bunch of photos and bio-data’s. The "prospective groom" gets to do some serious "mental work". He sits for hours with his parents, and decides which photo he likes. The bio-data's are only a secondary reference, to eliminate those who are on the borderline of the "beauty" concept.

(As per norms if a girl has great looks, it doesn’t matter if she has some education, leave aside work. It’s a race to grab the trophy. If she has average looks, then her education takes a call. And if she is not good-looking, well the make-up artists and photographers are her support system.)

Once a final list is short listed, the next step of the adventure happens. Our "to-be-groom" along with his parents will carry an interview session with each and every short-listed girl.

These "interview sessions", have a pre-determined protocol. Either they happen at the girls house or in the coffee shop of a 5-star hotel. The best delicacies of the region have to be served. And normally it’s around tea time.

The girl must be dressed in traditional attire, serve the food, be extra-extra polite, never raise her opinion on any issue, and never make eye-to-eye contact with any of the "guests".

Her test of obedience, politeness, and timidness happens over a one-to-one 20-30min "interview" session with our "to-be-groom"...the result of this session will decide the fate of this whole exercise. It’s supposed to happen in complete privacy. Thou I believe it’s the ancestor of all reality-TV. As it’s listened and watched by everyone possible, from every possible angle.
These interviews normally have a very simple format, and most are as following:

Boy (in slight nervous tone...sweat over the forehead): Nice place you have.
Girl (timidly): thanks.

Boy (still nervous): so what do u do?
(As if he hasn’t read her bio-data some 100 times by now)
Girl (still timid): I am working.
Boy (one step ahead in confidence): working. Interesting...even I do work (ad!!! thanks for information genius)... I have a very interesting work...blah (now that’s all rocket science)
Girl (timid and confused): you are so hard working... (India’s answer to the blondes)

(10min into the interview, another 20min to go)
Boy (some more vitamin-confidence): so what movies do you like?
Girl (timid): shahrukh khan.
Boy: well he is good...blah blah blah...
The next 10min is dedicated to a discussion on movies, movie-actors, songs, and other non-relevant topics. If by this time the girl has been able to keep that single-word-developmentally challenged attitude going on, she is on the winning track...the "pseudo-alpha"-male ego starts getting satisfied.

Boy (realising that the last leg of the interview has started): so (very casually) what are you looking in your life partner...
Girl (timid, this is an easy one...she has already rehearsed it million times with her mother): I look in for someone who can take care of me, give me love. His family accepts me. I am ready to be by his side forever. I am not after materialistic gains. (Ya true!!! we all are just humans, god made you only superhuman.)
(With this answer the boy is not just satisfied, his soul-dancing in joy to have found his better-half. The BEAUTIFUL, non-demanding, male ego satisfying woman of his dreams. The envy of his friends and colleagues. The reason why people will now take him into account. The picture of his yet-to-be-born "Adonis-like" kids flashing in front of his eyes.
This is his reply to all those girls who never wanted to go on date with him. To all those for whom he harboured sentiments but could never express. To all those who said, get a life!!. To his Boss who makes him work-overtime for no rhyme or reason. To the world!!!! This is his announcement.. I HAVE ARRIVED).
Girl: What about you?
boy (smiling): I am also looking for someone ready to give me love (i.e. subordinate to my ego, and praising my incompetence), who can stand by me (i.e. every one turns around with envy, and tells me how beautiful wife I have), and take care of me and my family (i.e. I will give you money, you take care of everything from bed to food.)

BAANGG!!! Times-up..!!! Rush in the anxious parents and elders...with a bunch of moron-esque kids running around for lack of anything better to do.

The scene now shifts to that very evening at the boy's house.
A signal of affirmation from the boy is the trigger for the next step. Hereby his parents and elders sit, discuss and dissect everything from the tea, food, attire of the relatives, the "possible" standard of living, and the status quotient of the to-be-bride. If a benchmark 90% demands are met for, a green signal is given. And some "elder" (whose connection to the whole issue is just an attempt of attention-seeking) will communicate this to the opposite side.

The great Indian Tamasha... It still fails my logic to understand how such a system drives us to live the lullaby of “perfect marriage" or "happily ever after" fable.
My search for the logic behind the holy book of “Choose a life partner in 30min for dummies" is still on.
May be its time for us to graduate and think a little more,
may be its time to be more communicative before making these marital agreements. May be its time to be more logical. The take is yours.

Most of the inputs in this write-up are from couple's who have undergone this great Tamasha, and are now undergoing marital discord due to lack of compatibility, lack of understanding and lack of communication.

Maybe it’s time to stand up for your-self when you can.

contact me

Dr.Hemant Mittal
(MBBS,PGDPM, MBPS, MD(Mind Mantra Wellness Concepts))
Motivational Speaker - Mind Trainer – Emotional, Behavioral,
Sleep, Memory and Sexual Health Consultant at Mind Mantra. (www.mindmantra.in )