Is it just me, or does anyone else see the irony of an arranged marriage advertisement that promises love?
Perhaps there is a blinding moment of romantic love somewhere during the lengthy process of arranging a marriage? Does love come suddenly tiptoeing in, as families check whether the horoscopes match, whether the bride is fair enough, and the groom comfortably wealthy?
Or maybe love comes later. On the wedding night, perhaps? Maybe there is a very Indian sort of love then; a heady cocktail of flower-strewn beds and dutiful sex, of virginal fumbling and earnest baby-making?
Or does it come still later, as the husband and wife settle into familiar traditions and festivals, and find their place in the larger family? Perhaps when he comes home from work bringing flowers for her hair, their relationship morphs into a real tenderness? Is it then that love develops?
If you ask me, I think the truth is that a very different sort of love develops in Indian marriages - and it is not between the husband and the wife. Parenthood - and the love of children - is the Big Love in an Indian marriage. It seems to me that when a child comes along, many couples put romantic love on the back-burner as they find a fiercer, deeper maternal or paternal love that all but consumes them. The legendary Indian attachment to children burns brighter than anything else, and provides life-long sustenance to the marriage, replacing notions of romantic and sexual love.
Maybe this sort of marriage is really what humans need - a stable, no-nonsense system that creates companionable partnerships, so that we can get on with the real business of making and raising children, populating the gene pool with little copies of ourselves.
Maybe the ancients got it right a long time ago. Why fret and fume over male-female relationships, when really, it’s all about babies?
I am too much a product of Western thinking to be happy with a partnership geared towards childrearing. But Darwin would have approved, don't you think?