By Priyanka Banerjee
It was really unusual that an emblematic ‘love marriage’ took off on a matrimony website. Doesn’t it sound a little strange? Yes, not only creepy but also the entire story behind this love marriage is quite amusing.
I and my husband met at a matrimony website, which essentially presents a revised version of the age-old ‘arranged marriage’ concept to today’s tech-savvy generation. We registered on the site to ‘arrange’ our marriage. We matched everything: from religion to blood group to our respective families’ expectations keeping to the Indian conventional social structure. Interestingly, while my selection was highly appreciated in my family, my husband received a severe jolt as my bio-data was readily thrown into the dustbin. This incident made our supposed arranged marriage take an absolute U-turn to the road of love, followed by almost a ‘war’.
Sitting in two different continents with two different time zones, it was a challenge for us to make our love blossom depending entirely on technology. This long distance relationship sometimes appeared funny and sometimes unrealistic for the people around us. There was a big question mark on everyone’s face: how is it possible for two grown-up individuals to love each other in the virtual world? Perhaps it was really childish but we never had gone deep to unearth any logic or rationale behind it. What we both realized was that sometimes distance was important to feel the absence. The distance actually increased love gradually.
Exchange of emails, facebook notifications, skype calls, and google talk all played a very crucial role for seven months in the first part of our story. On one hand, our love was blossoming on the internet and over ISD calls. On the other, my husband already embarked on the battle of convincing his family. However, his repeated failure to win the family’s acceptance never stopped us from loving each other. Amidst many uncertainties and bleakness of a long distance relationship – apart from rising ISD and internet bills – our free time was a thing of the past then, our hangouts were long-forgotten. From torn jeans and popcorn parties, we already turned to prim and proper grooming and candle lights. Yes, the time was nearing for us to meet in the ‘real’ world – the second part of our story.
My husband met me in my hometown in the presence of my parents, as it typically happens in the Bollywood movie. To my utter surprise, instead of proposing marriage to me, my SRK expressed his feelings for me directly to my dad. It was very easy to get my family’s consent as they were already impressed by his heroism. Wasn’t there any secret meeting waiting for us as we met after such a long time? And wasn’t it very different from the virtual world? Yes, it was an out of the world feeling to see, touch, and talk. We did not keep any count of the coffee we ordered that day. We only knew when we had effectively finished our chat, it was already twilight. However, since he had to take his flight back we had to give each other the hearty send-off saying: ‘See you again in the virtual world’.
This time, it became very difficult to stay apart. We decided to give our love a concrete shape by planning our wedding. The wedding plan turned out to be much more challenging due to the geographical constraint. The very first step my husband had to take was to convince his office for an offshore location. Again we had to wait for some more time. However, it was easier for him to manage his office than his family members, who were absolutely not ready to accept a journalist as their daughter-in-law. He finally managed to get his international transfer done and moved to India and the ‘final war’ commenced. He was forced to provisionally move from his house to another location to give the wedding plans a final touch. Although there were constant rejections, we aimed to organize our wedding involving everyone from both the families, friends, and relatives. After much drama, finally, we were able to bring all in one frame.
It’s true that even today, the Indian marriages are more a union between two families than between two souls. Ironically, ‘acceptance’, ‘social match’, ‘religion’, ‘caste’, ‘family expectations’ get precedence over love, respect, and mutual understanding between two hearts. However, ‘true love’ triumphs amidst all challenges. One just will have to show courage and keep faith in love. No matter what our society expects, at the end of the day, what should matter most is life of the two individuals, which are much more precious than anything else.
Although our ‘arranged marriage’ turned into a ‘love’ one, we are still very much beholden to that matrimony website. It actually helped us to find our soul mates. There is no denying the fact that the matrimony websites, perhaps, make the typical ‘arranged marriage’ a bit more liberal than before. At least, it gives options and probabilities to the new generation to make their own choices. However, it’s the old wine in a new bottle!
Happy Valentines day!
Priyanka Banerjee is a freelance journalist with experiences of working with Indian media houses. She loves to read, write, and travel. She currently lives with her husband in Connecticut, USA.
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