Arts & Culture

The Kalyanam Chronicles: How to Find a Husband

How does one find and snare that suitable boy?  It doesn’t take long.  If the stars are aligned and the moment is right, things have a way of happening.

Matchmaker Matchmaker / Make me a match / Find me a find / Catch me a catch… The opening lines of the “Matchmaker” song from Broadway classic Fiddler on the Roof perhaps best encapsulates the process of husband finding.  Today, however, marriage as an institution has more and more people shying away from it.  The excuses are plenty – commitment phobia, a hatred of institutions, and non-conformity, to name a few.  Over and above the modern interpretation of interpersonal relationships, there still exists the love for family and decisions that are made for the sake of keeping the peace at home.  One of these decisions is letting our parents find us a suitable boy.

Who is this suitable boy?  What is he like as a person?  Why is he deemed suitable?  How do our families find him?

A suitable boy, or an example of him, can be found while perusing the classified segment of any local or national newspaper.  He is of a certain height, is financially secure, is astrologically problem-free and wants to get married.  Once contact has been established, horoscopes are exchanged, discreet enquiries made into the boy’s character and social background.  If horoscopes match, then pictures are exchanged.  If the picture exchange is a success, i.e., the girl and boy like how the other looks, arrangements are made for the families to meet.

It is at this juncture that things get interesting.  It is not a situation that encourages full disclosure.  In fact, disclosure of any kind could lead to potential disaster.  The idea is that if things have been smooth thus far, then the alliance, as it is known in these parts, is perfect and the boy and girl in question ought to get married and live happily ever after.  This is where the relatives get involved in assuring each side that they have made the right choice.  (A parent doing the same is considered inappropriate.)  If someone who is related to the family is doing the assuring, then the assumption is that, well, they are telling the truth.

Once the girl and boy meet, under the watchful eyes of relatives, friends, and matchmakers, they are given a short window of time to get acquainted.  In this time, they should be able to decide if they are well-suited.  If a certain decision is made, then the boy and girl inform their parents.  A few days later this decision is communicated and once again, if all is well, a date is fixed and somewhere in time before the wedding happens, this couple falls in love.

When you meet a suitable boy, you just know.  That’s what happily married couples, who were introduced to each other by their families, say.

 

[To be continued]

 

Image courtesy of kathleenjoy via Creative Commons.

 

Editor’s note:
For other parts of this six-part Kalyanam Chronicles series, click on the links below.

 

 

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