Toastmasters Project 2 Speech
3 Months, Rs. 3000 and
An Arranged 'Happily Ever After'
No characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to any real person is purely intentional.
How many of you'll gathered here today, have had or will possibly have an arranged marriage??
For those nodding in agreement for having been there with a successful outcome, the next few minutes will probably be give you a sense of deja vu.
For one's who haven't got there as yet, there is bright light at the end of the tunnel, as you will hear of shortly.
In most Indian families, there is something apart from a degree and certificates that comes with girls graduating from college. Ask me what that is –
A big group of overtly inquisitive, worried and responsible aunties in the form of friends & family and a few of their male counterparts included, whose only concern in life is getting the daughters of the family respectably married. And as quickly as possible at that, lest the best boy on the face of earth is taken by the neighbour's daughter. All Hell would break loose if that happens, wouldn't it?
Oh and before you think all of this happens only to the womenfolk, I have heard of a fair number of guy friends who have also been right amidst all this drama. Speaking of my experience and some of my closest friend's experiences, a lady's perspective is what I present here.
So the responsible elders sense their responsibility, they get the girl's parents to understand theirs. Begin the rounds of negotiations – 1 or many with the girl and then she is asked – Are you in a relationship? if the answer is yes, the drama differs and if it is a no, the drama that unfurls is what I describe now.
Step 1 – The photoshoot.
2 categories here –
1. The good girls who agree to decking up and posing for a portfolio with all the stares and smiles in random directions.
2, inclusive of me – The ones who refuse to go through all of this. outcome – If her parents/siblings aren't on facebook until then, that is 'the' day when they will create an account. What better place than fb to find the best of pictures? God Bless you, Mark, I'm sure they'd all say.
Photo found, crop off all the possibly inappropriate parts of it, brighten the pic to make the lady in there look 2 times fairer than her actual self and then, Photograph for circulation, check.
Step 2 – Go meet the astrologer.
Out comes the sheet of paper written years ago and a whole new interpretation of it.
In my case, while my mom was categorically sure that I was born at 8AM, Mr.Astrologer after all these years decided that a girl child could not have be born at 8 AM on that specific day. And hence he decided that I was born a whole 2 hours later. My mom keeps protesting at every mention of my horoscope though now, it is a lot meeker than what it was when she first heard it.
Believe me, every horoscope has to have some thing in it – good or bad, and everything has to have some remedial measure. Good having a remedial measure you must wonder..I've also wondered many a times. But remember, it's a taboo to question the astrologer and hence what he says, stays!
Infact a few of my friends were apparently destined to be married twice in their lives – remedy – get married to a banana tree. Is that male or female? Who cares!! She's married once and that's all that matters.
Prerequisites done, Now comes the big part – Create a matrimony profile.
The one in the family who is most eloquent with words is in demand next. Flowery language potraying the lady as one with a perfect blend of traditional and modern values who can fit into all sets of requirements makes for a good writeup. One pic with the lady at her traditional best and another one where she looks sufficiently modern – neither over the top nor bad (remmember she has to reflect good parenting in the picture),completes the story of the traditional and modern value blend.
Is it sufficient to have a good profile to get interests from the best of prospective suitors??
Oh no!! Wait for a few hours and the verified phone number rings and then the parent gets to hear the math –
Sir, 3 months, Rs. 3000 and your daughter shall find the man of her dreams.
And what if she doesn't find the man of her dreams in 3 months?
Oh Sir, we have a solution- A Relationship Manager! You needn't find a boy sir, we will do that for you. Just that the 3000 becomes 10000.
And what if she still doesn't find the man of her dreams in 3 months?
We have a better solution sir – the 6 month package with a discount! More time for your daughter to be in the market!
Deal done, profile featured!!
Now come the slew of interests. And the equally fun process of elimination.
The actual thoughts that run in most of our minds during the elimination make for the best conversation topics when the girl gang meets – all or most of whom are in the fray – That's when it is the best.
Many a times we find ourselves saying, If only looks weren't deceptive, wouldn't life be better?
I'm sure the ones at the other end also have just as much to say about us, but we don't get to hear all of that and hence, who cares!
And then begins the roller coaster ride of highs and lows, acceptances and rejections and a number of 'Praise the Lord' moments.
Amidst all of this comes a few sane profiles and I must tell you about this because of course, I believed mine to be a sane one in there and also because, now, I'd like to believe that my fiance's was also of the same category 🙂
What made his profile sane? his profile picture didn't have him dressed as a dancer wearing a silk saree with as many chains around his neck as an elephant does for the Thrissur Pooram and neither did he hold an air guitar. In addition, the write up had no mention of him not snoring which made him the most eligible bachelor or of his manager recommending him as the best boy ever. (Now you know the myriad experiences we have had across a group of 9 girls).
And what started from the matrimony site progressed to us successfully flagging off our new adventure.
So, now the father gets to break the FD that was only renewed once in 3 months in all these days, the mother is reassured that she is going to have peaceful old age now that her long standing mission has been accomplished, the younger cousin has hopes of getting her chance without any further delay, the friends who were part of every crib and critic session have motivation to lose weight and wear the chiffon saree that they have been eyeing forever and I along with them get to reaffirm my faith in the possibility of finding one's partner through the arranged marriage process.
So 3x months it took, Rs. 3000x it took and hopefully it's going to be a long successful 'Arranged' Happily ever.