( This post is my entry for Indiblogger and Sony Entertainment Television's contest 'Love Marriage v/s Arranged Marriage'. )
Something was wrong up on cloud number nine. All the gods and all the angels were assembled in the judgement area. Varuna, the god of law sat on a throne the head, facing all the others, holding a thick wad of notes and a winged hammer. 'Friends, gods and heaven-men, we are gathered here today to discuss and revise the procedure of matrimony on earth. For as far back as we remember, our matrimonial department has been deciding who marries whom and arranging the necessary circumstances to make it happen. However, in the past hundred years or so, human beings have started to question our role and stopped leaving marriages to chance. Man meets woman, believes himself to be in love and decides to get married. Or family meets family, decides to mingle and the next available bachelors of their lots get hooked. In other words, humans are taking the matter in their hands and failing miserably. We have to get back in control and our matrimonial department needs to speed things up. Every day we sanction millions of marriage, based on our observation. But the question is, in which direction do we wave our wands? Love marriage or Arranged marriage. The house is now open to debate.'
(Hindu God Varuna)
(Hindu God Kamadeva)
First rose Kamadeva, the God of Love.
'Love is the foundation of any relationship. Love makes the world go round. You cannot expect a co-dependent relationship Not based on love to prosper. In marriage, there are countless trials and tribulations. If the participants do not share a special piece of each other's hearts, how will they strive to work together and achieve happiness? We have made the humans so complex, their dreams so vast, their intellect so involving, it would only be just if we allowed them to explore and adjust before making a commitment. '
'Oh you praise humans unjustly! I have found them to be ridiculously ignorant and stupid. The youth, especially. Day-to-day decisions petrify them. How can we expect them to decide on a matter of life partners at such an age? They change theirs minds in a heartbeat! Did you hear about that popstar in Las Vegas? She was married for 55 hours!', Shiva, the Destroyer, fumed.
'You cannot generalize the fate of the whole human population based on the errors in judgement of a few, Shiva! I am appealing to your logic and reason here, my friends. Marriage begets children. Children need love and protection. Two clumsy strangers, struggling to understand each other- what are the chances of consensual decisions? I believe every human we've sent down to mortal earth, has some unique quality. One deserves a chance to let that quality surface and find the other person his song resonates with. We've seen Man choose his friends so carefully. We've seen him split his hair over matters of Science and Commerce. Then why shouldn't He be given choice in this matter? After all, we have made animals too, with a capacity to love and choose who to love. Surely, Man is more accomplished?', Kamadeva retorted.
'Idealism. Empty idealism. You are good with words, Kamadeva. Better use them in books. I have heard humans love them so much..', started Shiva, but was stopped by Varuna.
'Now, now, Shiva, Kamadeva! We must realize this is not a matter of who's thoughts and observations are more profound. I do agree both of you have your reasons and examples, duly noted. I suppose we should take inputs from the audience of ghosts among us. Who better to guide us than the people who've been there. Any volunteers?'
A man got up.
He looked around at the crowd of people assembled there, gulped and started. 'I did not know how to talk to girls. I spent years practising- in front of the mirror, role-playing with my friends- but gained nothing. I even tried alcohol - you know, like Raj in TBBT, but, no. Every time I tried to make contact with a girl, my tongue would get stuck on the roof my mouth. Oh, I was quite the laughing stock! Main bahut pareshaan rehta tha ( I was in utter despair).
But ever since I got married, my life changed! I thank my parents for finding me a match. In less than a year, I became the most dashing husband with the hottest wife. Mere friends mujhe hero bulaane lage (my friends called me a hero),' he ended, chest puffed.
'Wives! Believe me they are a tricky lot! I, too, being an obedient son to my parents, agreed to marry the docile, homely girl-next-door. I still remember how she looked on the day of our wedding. Innocent like a young kitten. Little did I know that soon I would be the circus animal and she the ring master! I like heaven, I am safe here', a middle-aged man finished.
'Hear hear! I too had a similar story. Only difference being, I dug my own grave. I fell for a girl so bad, I lost the power to think. I got married in haste, only to spend a life in regret. She was a gold-digger', a bespectacled man wearing Armani stated.
'Marriage for money? Isn't that like prostitution?', a woman cried.
'Do you expect to feed stomachs with love?', another retorted.
A tirade of comments followed. Varuna made his winged hammer zoom across the room to quiet the commotion.
'Arranged marriages are the worst. I died of an arranged marriage. They demanded a dowry of twenty lakhs. We only had fifteen. They burned me.', narrated a young girl. A shocked silence followed.
'No evil deed goes unpunished, my dear girl. Hell has the worst in store for those who did this to you', stated Varuna solemnly.
'Break Time!', exclaimed a divine voice. A group of Apsaras emerged out of thin air and took to dancing on the stage. Whistles, cat-calls and applause...
'I asked daddy to find me a rich boy! I was tired struggling for grades and jobs and promotions. I wanted a smooth, luxurious life where I wouldn't have to move a toe. It worked well,' a lady remarked, filing her finger-nails.
'It is not easy to marry your love in today's scenario. I spent years dreaming of marrying my high school sweetheart , until her parents sent me an ultimatum- get a job, get a wife. Here I was in California, working on my thesis and there she was tying the knot with a software engineer fresh out of the factory', recalled a man.
'It is not easy to marry your love, indeed. I met the perfect a man a few years before my demise. He was handsome, intelligent and funny...', a man started. Several heads turned in his direction. Some smirked. 'Yes, I am gay. Oh come on, don't look at me like that!', he grew embarrassed.
'Now, folks!Don't ridicule the guy!He has every right to fall in love and marry whoever he pleases!', Kamadeva rose in defense of the man.
More commotion followed.
'All I want to say is that, with gay marriages being legalized and everything, a decision in the favour of arranged marriage from your side would make matters bad for my kind', he quickly blurted and sat down.
'You know, there's always live-in', a punk said.
There was a collective gasp among the crowd.
'That is enough! You see now, Varuna, how their minds run! The human race is headed to doom! I shall go down and finish the business with my dance of destruction!', Shiva grabbed his trident and jumped up.
Parvati ran to calm him.
'A German philosopher once said- A good friendship is the basis for a good marriage. Friendship, we know, is easier and more accepting than love. But then, every form of companionship requires us to cross the friendship hurdle. Varuna, let us concentrate on letting the mortals create grounds for building a solid friendship. Everything else should fall in place', concluded Parvati, in her steady flowing voice.
Shiva stood dumbstruck, taking in the wisdom of his wife.
A warm fuzzy glow, which may be red, spread over the clouds.
Somewhere on earth, a couple smiled at each other and shook hands.
# Are you mortal?
# Do you have similar doubts?