Link to My Original Post in My Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/arranged-marriage.html
ARRANGED MARRIAGE MADE SIMPLE
A Story By VIKRAM KARVE
34 years ago – on 30 May 1982 – I had an arranged marriage.
This is the only marriage I have had so far.
Yes – I have been married only once – and the same marriage continues till today.
I do not know whether my marriage is a “successful” marriage – since I do not have experience of multiple marriages – in order to be able to compare and contrast.
However – I can certainly say that my marriage has been a “durable” marriage.
Here is the story on my ARRANGED MARRIAGE in 2 Chapters
CHAPTER 1 – ARRANGED MARRIAGE INTERVIEW
CHAPTER 2 – HOW I GOT MARRIED
ARRANGED MARRIAGE INTERVIEW
- Girl (Now – My “Better Half”)
- Girl’s Mother (Now – My “Mother-in-Law”)
- Boy (Me)
Let me tell you an “apocryphal” story.
This happened 34 years ago – in March 1982 – in Pune.
A girl came to see a boy (for arranged marriage).
The girl was accompanied by her mother (the girl’s father, a Brigadier, was serving in a field area).
Normally – in Maharashtra – the boy goes to the girl’s home (for the customary “kande pohe program”).
But – in this case – the boy had requested the girl to come over to his rather Spartan home.
It was around 10 in the morning – the boy was alone at home – as the boy’s mother had gone for work.
The boy (a Naval Officer) had come to Pune on a week’s leave for “girl seeing” for arranged marriage.
Since the boy was not one of those refined “metrosexuals” – he had not “decked up” for the occasion – but he was dressed in a simple cotton white kurta-pyjama – and he was enjoying a smoke and reading a book – while waiting for the girl to arrive.
The girl and her mother arrived at 10:30.
“You are late,” the boy said, and he asked the girl and her mother to sit down.
The boy served Tea (which he had prepared himself).
Then – the boy lit a cigarette – and he said to the girl, “Let me tell you a bit about myself. As you can see – I smoke a lot. I drink regularly too – around 6 large pegs of rum daily – that is about half a bottle of rum every evening. My career prospects in the Navy are not very bright – I am certainly not ‘Admiral Material’. You are a ‘SODA’ – your father is a big shot in the Army – so you may be used to the comforts and facilities of army life – but in the Navy you get nothing – no batman (sahayak), no transport, no proper housing, no facilities – as you can see I am not a rich man – I just have a scooter – and I do not think I will be able to afford a car on the paltry salary we get in the Navy – you will have to live in some temporary makeshift shanty – and you will have to do all the housework yourself…”
“You don’t get a house in the Navy…?” the girl asked.
“You do – but there is a huge shortage of married accommodation and the waiting period is 2 years – so by the time we get a proper house, it will be time for my transfer – and it is the same story in every new place – so you must be prepared for a nomadic existence shifting from one temporary accommodation to another…”
“What is ‘SODA’…?” the girl asked.
“Senior Officers’ Daughters’ Association – your Dad is a Brigadier so you are a SODA,” the boy said, “but let me tell you one thing – I am an honest, straightforward and outspoken officer – and so – your chances of becoming a member of SOWA are pretty bleak…”
“SOWA – Senior Officers’ Wives’ Association…!” the girl said.
The boy was happy to see that the girl was intelligent.
“You are very intelligent – and highly qualified – and all your good qualities are listed in your matrimonial profile – but I want to know one thing – and I want an honest answer,” the boy said to the girl.
“What…?” the girl asked.
“What are your faults…? Your bad qualities…? Your weaknesses…?” the boy asked.
“I cannot cook…” the girl began opening up – but her mother gave her a stern look – and the girl stopped speaking.
Observing the situation, the boy said to the girl, “Never mind – we will discuss all that in detail when we meet tomorrow…”
“We are meeting tomorrow…?” the girl asked.
“Why not…? After all, we are getting married – and I am here for a week – so we can go out together a few times – and get to know each other better…” the boy said, extinguishing his finished cigarette and lighting another cigarette.
The girl’s mother was getting increasingly uncomfortable at the way things were going, so she asked the boy, “You have a big beard – are you going to shave it off when you get married…?”
The boy looked at the girl’s mother, and he said to the middle-aged woman, “How does it matter to you whether I keep a beard or not…? Are you going to marry me…? Or is your daughter going to marry me…? But since you have asked – No – I am not going to shave off my beard – I like my beard – and a beard is the sign of a true Naval Officer – so I am going to keep my beard even after marriage – forever…”
The boy looked at the girl, and he said, “See – I told you that I drink heavily, I smoke, and that I have no future in the navy – very poor career prospects – and about the poor quality of life in the navy – but you just told me one thing – that you do not know how to cook – please tell me more about your other faults…”
“We have to go somewhere,” the girl’s mother interrupted – and she brought the ‘interview’ to an abrupt end.
In the evening, the girl’s mother made a ‘trunk-call’ to her Brigadier husband and she said, “What a terrible boy? He is himself saying that he drinks half a bottle a day, he smokes, and ….”
She told him everything.
“The boy said all that…?” the Brigadier asked.
“Yes – the boy hasn’t given us even one reason why we should get our daughter married to him.”
“Maybe that is the very reason why we should get our daughter married to him,” the astute Brigadier said.
The Brigadier met the boy – and he liked him – and so – the girl and boy got married.
The girl was expecting the worst.
But after marriage – the girl noticed the following ‘improvements’ in the boy:
- Her husband did not drink 6 pegs of rum every evening – he drank around 3 or 4 pegs daily – and only rarely – at parties or with friends – did he drink 6 pegs or more.
- He did not smoke much too – in fact – he smoked very few cigarettes – he preferred smoking his pipe.
- She had been expecting to stay in a “jhuggi-jhopri” – but first they lived in the officers’ mess for some time – and then they shifted to quite a decent furnished apartment – which though small – the apartment was modern, comfortable, and located in the prime area of the city.
Though he was not an “angel” by any standards – her husband was not all that bad – as she had thought.
Much later – when she had given up all hope – her husband suddenly gave up drinking and smoking one day.
This happened 20 years after her marriage – and she had never imagined that her husband would give up alcohol and tobacco forever.
Of course – her husband has still not shaved off his majestic beard – but then she has got used to it now – after 33 years of married life.
After reading this “fairy-tale” – some persons may think that this is a true story – and they may even “recognize” some of the characters in this story – but let me emphasize that this is an apocryphal story – the characters do not exist and are purely imaginary – and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
What is important – is the MORAL OF THE STORY.
You must have heard the saying: “First Impression is the Best Impression”
But I say: “Worst Impression is the Best Impression”.
If you give your best impression during your first meeting with someone – then you have to live up to the image you have created.
On the other hand – if you give your worst impression during your first meeting – then there is always scope for improvement.
There are many aspects to your personality:
- “Best Side”
- “Worst Side”
- Shades of Grey in between the Best and Worst
At your very first meeting – if you try and impress someone with your “Best Side” – you have projected your best image – and thus you have no scope for improvement.
In fact – you will get all stressed out keeping up appearances trying to live up to the hyped-up expectations you have created in the other person – and slowly the “veneer” will start peeling off – and the goody-goody façade will crumble.
BEST FIRST IMPRESSIONS CAN BE MISLEADING
You read the story above where the boy projected his “Worst Side” to his prospective bride at the very first matrimonial meeting.
I know a story where exactly the opposite happened.
There was a girl from a civilian academic background (her parents were university professors).
They lived in a town where there was a large cantonment nearby.
Most of her schoolmates and friends were daughters of Army officers – and the girl was enamored by Army social life.
The girl got a proposal from a Naval Officer.
The girl was under the impression that the life of a Navy Wife was the same as the good life of an Army “Memsahib” which she had observed in the peacetime cantonment.
The Navy boy came to meet the girl.
Believing in the “First Impression is the Best Impression” dictum – the boy showed his “Best Side” – and he “boasted” a bit about himself – he painted a rosy picture of Navy life – instead of telling her the ground reality.
All this created a glorified image and high expectations in the newlywed girl.
But – after their honeymoon – when they reached Vizag – everything came crashing down.
The boy sailed off on his ship – leaving the girl to fend for herself – all alone – in their “B Type” hired house – at the other end of town – far away from the Naval Base.
Feeling totally isolated, the girl went into a depression – and summoned her parents – who came rushing to Vizag – to help their daughter settle down and tackle reality.
As their marriage progressed – the “first impression” that the boy had created by showing his “Best Side” – this rosy first impression started to slowly crumble away as his negative qualities began to emerge.
After many years of marriage – the girl still feels that the boy “cheated” her by portraying a goody-goody false impression of himself and hyped rosy image of Navy life.
USING THE “WORST FIRST IMPRESSION” MANTRA IN YOUR CAREER
My hypothesis of “Worst First Impression” worked in my Navy Career too.
I was posted as faculty in a prestigious inter-service training establishment.
My boss was a Commodore from a landlubber branch who had never met me before.
However – my “spoken reputation” had somehow reached him via the grapevine.
For a month or so – I noticed that he was quite wary of me – he treated me coldly and he kept me at arm’s length.
Then – one evening – at a party – when he was feeling quite happy after a few drinks – he sidled up to me – and he said, “Actually – I have realized that you are quite a good officer…”
Taken aback, I said to him, “Come on, Sir – of course – I am a good officer – why did you think otherwise…?”
“I had heard so many wicked things about you – that you are a difficult officer – but I actually find you to be so good…” the Commodore said – and later – his wife told me that I was his favourite officer – and he trusted me the most among all officers.
ARRANGED MARRIAGE FIRST DATE MANTRA
“Worst Impression is the Best Impression”
So – Dear Reader – whenever you meet someone for the first time – for matchmaking – for dating – at the workplace – for any long term relationship – beware of the dictum: “First Impression is the Best Impression” – and don’t get too carried away trying to make the “best impression” – since you may find it difficult to live up to such a ‘perfect’ image in later life.
When you meet someone for the first time – never try to “impress” anyone – just be your natural self – in fact – show a bit of your darker side – so that there is always “scope for improvement” later.
And for those of you who are going in for an “arranged marriage” – when you meet your “prospective spouse” for the first time – the first question you must ask your “would be spouse” is: “Tell me about your weaknesses and your faults…”
Remember: “Worst Impression is the Best Impression”.
There is always “scope for improvement” if you project your “worst” impression
But there is no “scope for improvement” if you project your “best” impression
In fact – if you try to project your best impression right in the beginning of a relationship – you will be under constant pressure to live up to the “perfect” image you have created – and this pressure can be stressful.
As the relationship progresses – your partner will start discovering your imperfections – and the mismatch – between the goody-goody image you projected – and what you actually are in real life – will cause stress and distrust in your relationship.
However – if you project your “worst” side at the very first meeting – as I said – there is always scope for improvement.
As your relationship progresses – your partner will realize that you are not all that bad as you projected – and your marital relationship will improve.
During your first meeting – you must encourage your “would be spouse” to tell you about their faults, frailties and imperfections – to reveal their “worst” side – so that you do not face marital disappointments and surprises from your spouse later in your married life.
Also – projecting the “worst impression” will also to give your spouse plenty of “scope for improvement”.
In an “arranged marriage” – the marital relationship keeps improving as the marriage matures over the years – whereas the opposite can happen in a “love marriage”.
Wish you a long durable marriage and the “much married” feeling.
HOW I GOT MARRIED
(In order of seniority)
- Brigadier ‘J’
- Colonel ‘G’
- Lieutenant ‘K’ (Me)
A Cold Sunday Morning in March 1982 – Time: 0500 (5 AM)
SP Marg Officers Mess New Delhi
The shrill ring of the phone shook up Colonel ‘G’ from his drunken stupor.
As he same to his senses – Colonel ‘G’ had hazy recollections of the previous night – and the last thing he remembered was that he was sitting with Lieutenant ‘K’ (me) at the Dhaula Kuan roadside Dhaba eating hot “Bun-Omlette” – along with generous swigs of Rum – from the hip-flask Lieutenant ‘K’ always carried with him.
Colonel ‘G’ had no clue how he had reached his cabin in the SP Marg Officers Mess – maybe Lieutenant ‘K’ had helped him.
The phone kept ringing.
Colonel ‘G’ cursed at being woken up at this unearthly hour at the crack of dawn on a cold Sunday morning – and he picked up the phone.
The moment Colonel ‘G’ heard the voice on the other side – he perked up.
It was Brigadier ‘J’ – his ex-boss.
Colonel ‘G’ had high regards for Brigadier ‘J’ – in fact – Colonel ‘G’ considered Brigadier ‘J’ the best boss ever.
“Good Morning, Sir – it is such a pleasure to hear your voice…” Colonel ‘G’ said to Brigadier ‘J’.
Brigadier ‘J’ was a man of few words – and he got to the point immediately.
“Do you know a Naval Officer called Lieutenant ‘K’…? He stays in your mess…”Brigadier ‘J’ asked Colonel ‘G’.
“Of course, Sir – in fact – I was with Lieutenant ‘K’ last evening – he is a wonderful chap…” Colonel ‘G’ said.
“Oh – you know him well – and you say that Lieutenant ‘K’ is a ‘wonderful chap’ – that’s good – I would like to meet Lieutenant ‘K’ – you do one thing – bring him to Delhi Airport in the morning…” Brigadier ‘J’ said to Colonel ‘G’.
“Airport…?” stammered Colonel ‘G’ – a bit confused.
“I will come by the Srinagar Delhi flight – it reaches Delhi at 11:30 – you make sure that you are there with Lieutenant ‘K’…” Brigadier ‘J’ said to Colonel ‘G’.
“Sir – why do you want to meet Lieutenant ‘K’…?” Colonel ‘G’ asked Brigadier ‘J’.
“To fix up his marriage with my daughter…” Brigadier ‘J’ said – and he disconnected the phone.
Colonel ‘G’ was stunned.
For a few moments – he sat on his bed in a daze.
Then – Colonel ‘G’ gathered his wits – and – he walked down the corridor to my cabin.
I was irritated at being disturbed so early on a Sunday morning – especially after having enjoyed a late night – and – the moment I saw Colonel ‘G’ standing in the door – I asked him: “Sir – why are you waking me up so early…?”
“Bloody disaster…” Colonel ‘G’ exclaimed to me.
“Disaster…? What happened, Sir…?” I asked Colonel ‘G’.
“I told Brigadier ‘J’ that you were a ‘wonderful chap’…” Colonel ‘G’ said to me.
“Sir – I cannot fathom what you are saying…” I said to Colonel ‘G’.
“My ex-CO Brigadier ‘J’ just rang up – and – I told him that you were a ‘wonderful chap’…” Colonel ‘G’ said.
“So – am I not a ‘wonderful chap’…?” I asked him.
Colonel ‘G’ looked at me and said: “For me – you are a certainly a ‘wonderful chap’ – you are a bloody ‘sharaabi’ and ‘kabaabi’ like me – but – for Brigadier J’s daughter– she is such a decent girl – her life will be ruined if she marries a terrible fellow like you…”
“Sir, What are you saying…? Marriage…? Are you still drunk…? You ‘passed out’ last night – and I had a tough time carrying you to your cabin…” I said to Colonel ‘G’.
“I am perfectly sober now. But when the phone rang – I was in a ‘half-awake’ state – and – I am regretting my blunder of blurting out to Brigadier ‘J’ that you are a ‘good guy’ – I thought he was asking generally – I did not know that he was considering you as a ‘marriage prospect’ for his virtuous daughter. You never told me about it…”Colonel ‘G’ said to me.
“Sir – I just came back from Pune by Jhelum Express last evening – and then – we straightaway went to DSOI and got drunk – but I did mention that I saw a girl – but she did not like me…” I said.
“Are you sure she did not like you…?” Colonel ‘G’ asked me.
“Well – it seemed that the girl was not interested in getting married – so she was quite impassive – but – her mother – she certainly did not like me as a prospective ‘son-in-law’…” I said.
“Ah – so Mrs ‘J’ did not like you – that’s good…” Colonel ‘G’ said, “But then – why does Brigadier ‘J’ want to meet you…?”
“Brigadier ‘J’ wants to meet me…? He is the girl’s father, is he…? He wasn’t there when I saw the girl – only the girl and her mother had come. They told me he was posted to Srinagar…” I said.
“Brigadier ‘J’ is flying down from Srinagar by the morning flight – he wants to meet you – and he has asked me to bring you along to the airport to meet him – so get ready – we will leave at 10 after breakfast…” Colonel ‘G’ said to me.
“But why at the airport…?” I asked.
“Please don’t ask too many questions – Brigadier ‘J’ just told me to get you to the airport at 11:30 and he disconnected the phone…” Colonel ‘G’ said.
“Okay – let’s meet Brigadier ‘J’ – my prospective ‘father-in-law’…” I laughed.
Colonel ‘G’ had a worried expression on his face and he said to me: “I only hope that this doesn’t work out – the poor girl’s life will be ruined if she gets married to you…”
“Ha Ha…” I smiled at Colonel ‘G’ – and I said to him, “Sir – I thought you were my ‘well-wisher’…”
6 Hours Later
New Delhi Airport – Domestic Terminal – Sunday – 1100 (11:30 AM)
We – Colonel ‘G’ and I (Lieutenant ‘K’) – awaited the arrival of Brigadier ‘J’.
Brigadier ‘J’ arrived – he was short – he had a stocky physique – and he was wearing army olive green uniform.
Colonel ‘G’ introduced us – and we shook hands.
Brigadier ‘J’ looked at Colonel “G’ and said to him: “Why don’t you leave us alone for some time…? I will talk to the boy alone – and then we will take a decision – if it a ‘Yes’ – I will go ahead to Pune and fix the wedding – if it is a ‘No’ – then I will head back to Srinagar by the afternoon flight which leaves at 2:30 – that is why I have bought an ‘open’ ticket…”
“This man seems to be a quick decision maker,” I said to myself, “it was almost 12 noon – and he expected a mutual decision in just two hours.”
“Sir – I will wait in the cafeteria…” Colonel ‘G’ said – and he left.
Then – Brigadier ‘J’ and I talked – yes – the ‘matrimonial’ conversation between both of us was held while we were standing on our feet.
Brigadier ‘J’ looked at me and said: “You seem to be an okay chap – I don’t know why my wife had apprehensions about you…?”
“Apprehensions…?” I asked.
“Well – to be frank – my wife did not like you…” Brigadier ‘J’ said.
“I also did not like your wife…” I said candidly to Brigadier ‘J’.
On hearing this Brigadier ‘J’ broke out into a laugh – and he said: “Ha Ha – luckily you don’t have to marry her…”
I smiled at his sense of humor.
Then – Brigadier ‘J’ looked at me and said: “You liked my daughter, didn’t you..?”
“Yes…” I said, “But she didn’t seem interested in marriage.”
“She is a bit shy…” Brigadier ‘J’ said.
“Oh…” I said.
“Well – you seem to have scared them off – you told them that you drink heavily, you smoke, you won’t shave off your beard – and you painted quite a gloomy picture about life in the Navy…” Brigadier ‘J’ said.
“Sir – I told them the truth…” I said.
“Well – I like you – you are a straightforward boy. And – the very fact that you have been selected by the Navy for doing your M. Tech. at IIT Delhi – you must be good in your job. In fact – “Colonel ‘G’ said that you were a ‘wonderful chap’ – and since you are in the Navy – your antecedents would have been checked – so – at least – you won’t be a ‘fake’…” Brigadier ‘J’ said to me.
“Sir – I want to ask you one thing…” I said.
“Sure – go ahead…” Brigadier ‘J’ said.
“Sir – why do you ‘Pongos’ always travel in uniform…” I said.
Brigadier ‘J’ laughed and said: “You see – unlike you intelligent Navy chaps – we ‘Pongos’ are dopes – so – in case we get lost – it is easy for them to find us if we are in uniform…”
“I like you…” Brigadier ‘J’ said to me.
“Sir – I like you too…” I said to Brigadier ‘J’.
“Okay – let’s go to Colonel ‘G’ and tell him to book me on the next flight to Pune or Mumbai – whichever is available – I will go and talk to your mother and fix up the wedding – tell me a convenient date…” Brigadier ‘J’ said.
My 2nd Semester ends on the 10th of May – and I have 2 months summer vacation – so any date between mid-May till mid-June is okay…” I said.
Brigadier ‘J’ managed a seat on the 1:30 afternoon flight to Mumbai – and he rushed to catch his flight.
I looked at my watch – it was not even 1 o’clock – the ‘matrimonial interview’ had taken just around 30 minutes – and Brigadier ‘J’ had taken a final decision (despite his wife’s misgivings about me).
3 Days Later
SP Marg Officers’ Mess New Delhi – 1300 Hrs (1 PM)
On Wednesday – when I returned to the mess for lunch – I was surprised to see Brigadier ‘J’ and Colonel ‘G’ sitting in the foyer.
“Ah – there you are – I came from Pune by the morning flight. I wanted to meet you and personally give you the good news that your wedding has been fixed on the 30thof May with my daughter…” Brigadier ‘J’ said
Those days – the method of communication was letters – and I had not received any letter from my mother.
After all – it was only just 3 days ago – on Sunday – that Brigadier ‘J’ had gone to Pune.
So – I was quite surprised that my marriage had been fixed so quickly.
“Thank you, Sir,” I said to Brigadier ‘J’ – and then I invited him for a glass of beer and lunch.
“Thanks – but we will sit and talk some other time – right now – I have to rush to the airport to catch the 2:30 afternoon flight to Srinagar,” Brigadier ‘J’ said, “I just came to meet you and give you the good news in person.”
We walked towards Colonel G’s car.
Just before he got inside the car – Brigadier ‘J’ delivered his parting shot – he said to me: “Please make sure you come for the wedding on the 30th of May – I have paid 3000 Rupees as advance for the marriage hall – and – if you don’t turn up – I will lose my money…”
Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
- This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
- All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
This Article is a Consolidated Repost of my Stories and Articles posted online earlier at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/12/humor-in-and-out-of-uniform-how-i-got.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/12/how-i-got-married.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/05/arranged-marriage-guide-first-meeting.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/how-to-impress-people.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/05/arranged-marriage-guide-first-meeting.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/05/arranged-marriage-date-aka-matrimonial.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/arranged-marriage.html etc