Interior monologue about arranged marriage
„Lila! Lila!“ The voices get louder and louder, I can almost hear the anger in it, they´re like a choir, my mother and my father. I picture them standing at the bottom of the stair case, waiting for their daughter to finally become wise, grown up and sensitive enough to come downstairs. I almost feel sorry for them because I am their daughter, and I won´t leave this bed, no matter how long they will try to convince me. We´ve had a lot of arguments before, me and my parents, but never have I felt so lonely, so betrayed – and so scared.
It is all about that arranged marriage-thing everyone is doing here in India. For sure – it´s not everyone, but everyone who thinks it´s better to marry someone you´ve never really talked to than to stay alone, going through series of heartbreaks, depression and emotional crises.
I have been one of those too. I´m 18 years old now and I´ve spent most of my life thinking the Indian culture is ahead of the western illusion of how love is something you can´t influence, something that will come your way when you´re expecting it the least. I believed in all those arguments: that an arranged marriage will keep you away from trouble. It isn´t a bad imagination to be brought to somebody who promises to care for you no matther what, is it? I´ve watched a thousand western movies where couples split up because one betrayed the other and then they lay in their bed, crying, or they´re standing on a barely driven street in Paris, complaining about how unfair love can be. Seriously, this wouldn´t happen in India. When you get married, you promise your partner to stay with him, to take care of him, and it is not even based on love but on the will to have a good and save life together. As a kid, I was happy to believe in this; I couldn´t wait for my partner who my parents would choose.
And I trusted my parents. I mean – how can your parents be willing to choose the wrong person for you? As a kid, I knew they were the people who knew me the best – so why shouldn´t they know what´s the best for me? From my western movies I´ve learned that love really is pretty unfair sometimes: we fall in love with somebody that is a) not interested in us at all ( in the movies, most of the time it is our best friend or the blond Barbie next door they fall in love with) or b)someone that doesn´t share our view of „life“ and „relationship“ at all, but it takes time and tears from us to realize we were not made for each other.
All these things wouldn´t happen in an arranged marriage, I thought as a kid , and I pictured myself with Mister X on our wedding day, when we would have a lifetime of falling in love with each other ahead of us. And if we wouldn´t fall in love – so what? I thought society would work better with respect and trust than with LOVE, the big thing that makes us crazy all the time.
Now I ´m lying on my bed, wondering how I could be so naive and uncritical as a younger girl. My parents still shout my name and I don´t care and I feel ashamed for how I adored the arranged marriage.
I´ve waited for this day so long and when it came, I wish I would still have some time – to run away and leave the country.The husband my parents have chosen for me is called „Josi“, which for me sounds more like a woman who has just started to take journalistic courses at University.
Josi, indeed, is a 22 years old son of a onkologic specialist and a Nurse, he is – of course – studying for his medicine exams, and he also writes scientific texts for a clinical magazine. He earns enough money to afford a little but beautiful house and if I can believe my parents, he is always smiling and thanksful and things, because his life is so adorable. My parents think he is the right one for me, because he´s caring, so responsible and – quote of my mother- „he´s far more grateful than you are, and you could learn from him!“ Grrr. At this time I even felt sorry because I didn´t share the enthusiasm of my parents. Of course I found it cute imagining him smiling cheerfully all day. But I´m not like that. I´ve started to see life as a roller coaster, and I want to go through the bad times with the same amount of feelings as I have in me for the good times. I´m not the one to force a smile when tears already enter my eyes. I want the WHOLE life – not just a part of it. And – I´m sorry – I´m absolutely not interested in biologgy and medicine. I´m sure I wouldn´t stand ONE single evening talking about the anatomy of a human heart. I want to talk about how your heart starts to beat faster when you see a person you really love – cause that is what keeps us alive. Love keeps the whole society alive, and how can we keep love with us when we just marry to get married, when we just live with someone to feel safe?
These two arguments already convinced me: the fact that an arranged marriage has nothing to do with real love, and damn, we need real love, and, damn, we need real love, and the danger to get together with somebody who doesn´t share our interests. And I do no longer believe that my parents know me the best. I´ve changed a lot during the last years, my friends became my second family and I´ve developed a strong will to decide about myself. I´m a 18 years old now and I know what´s best for me. In a society where parents decide which person their kids should spend their life with, how can we get strong, convincing and confident people to lead our economy and politics in the right direction? If our parents don´t even believe that we´re able to find the right partner, how can we develop self-confidence and pride?
And I do believe we´re able to find someone. Or someone finds us. Cause in the end it is love that matters, and love is not something you can plan. But love is a great thing- it strenghtens us to stay with somebody, no matter how hard it gets, to adore and accept somebody with all his little flaws and mistakes. I can´t imagine living together with somebody for the rest of my life, when I don´t love this „somebody“. How can that work? And how can I be satisfied with my life when I know the situation I´m into is not the one I decided to have? It is my pride, it is my strength and it is the boy of my literature class with whom I´ve been truly falling in love. He ist interested in poems and the power of words, just like me, and the sparkle of his eyes make my hearts race, no matter how its anatomy is. Once he cried, because his grandfather died. He´s not the one fo force a smile. He lives. And I live. And I hope that one day, my parents, Josi and the whole wide world will understand why I remain here, lying in my bead instead of going downstairs – straight into my perfectly planned, terryfying arranged life.