[The previous post has received more attention via the comment box than most of my other recent posts, so here's a follow up of sorts.]
Okay! Enough of the third degree, alright? It begs repeating, so I'll say it again - I'm not going to not marry someone just because my parents introduced me to him/her! [Yes folks, I said "him/her" - go ahead and laugh if you want. I'll continue when you're done laughing.]
In the comments, Renuka says,
"It[']s just that it does become diff[icult] in a country like India for a girl (or guy for that matter) to get married after one age...hence the rush and the "scouring" as u put it!"
I think this is an important point and warrants a bit of a discussion -
Why is it so difficult for someone to get married at an older age?
The average age at which people get married has certainly increased when compared to two or three generations ago. Very few of us can boast of grandparents who were still single at 30. Today, things are quite different. Without even getting into the topic of "live-in" relationships, which I shall leave for another post some other time, I'd just like to say that many people today don't view getting married before certain age as the top priority in their lives. Or even if they do, then that age is considerably more than what it used to be. Sure, most [if not all] people would like to get married - it's just that it isn't a priority any more. And while I am mainly referring to the situation in the Western countries over here, what I have said is true of an increasingly large percentage of the Indian population as well.
Having said all this, the attitude of society [and by that I also mean family] toward unmarried people is still rather shameful. The external world looks upon a single 35-year-old woman with scorn in its eyes, and hence one's family is so desperate to get one married. You know what I'm talking about here - "Oh look, she's 38 and still single? Surely there's something wrong with her!"
My point? If society didn't pressurize you to get married before a certain age in the first place, your parents wouldn't pressurize you either. But society does pressurize, and I'd like the family to stand up to it instead of caving in. If your daughter isn't looking to get married just yet, don't push her into it! Or your son!
It might seem absurd for parents to actually force children into getting married, but let me assure you, it does happen. Often this pressurization may not take the form of direct coercion but a more subtler persuasion. Constant hints and innuendos suggesting one thing - it's time to tie the knot, kiddo! I know of people who have ended up getting married not because they wanted to, but because their parents wanted them to. And isn't the most important responsibility of an 'Indian' child supposed to be to obey one's parents' every wish as long as they are alive?
I'm not saying getting married early is a bad thing either. My cousin, in Illinois, got married about a year ago. He wasn't even 23. The important thing was - the decision to get married was taken by the couple themselves. Their parents had little say in the matter.
In India, marriages tend to unite families more than individuals. It's not the newly-wed couple who are getting married, it's their families. This is another reason why parents like to wield a fair deal of control when it comes to whom their child should marry. The other general trend is for the bride to become, through the act of marriage, a part of the groom's family. In many cases she would then go to live with him and often the two would live along with his parents and other family members. It is almost unheard of for the groom to go and live with his bride at her house after the wedding.
Personally, I would prefer to live separately with my wife after I get married. Which isn't going to be for a while. And don't give me that look, Mom!