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help; i am about to go bloody well mad!

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Deputy Moderator 5 Tours
Senior Member
since 10-13-2002
Posts 1228
SF Bay Area

0 posted 12-02-2002 10:14 PM       View Profile for majnu   Email majnu   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for majnu

you are going to laugh. **** if it weren't happening to me I would too because what I am about to tell you is right out of some stupid hollywood flic.

i am you see, a 20 year old indian muslim born and raised in the san francisco bay area - yes i have had identity issues, cultural problems, and general confusion as to life beyond that which is typically experienced - so it goes.

but, that is not the problem, well it is in part but nothing can be done about it. the problem I would ask advice regarding is this:

-in ten months two cousins of mine are getting married. my family (immediate) will of course journey to india, (where EVERYONE else is) to attend the weddings and all the many associated ceremonies and celebrations.
during this time I will be expected to interview and be interviewed by potiential spouses. my parents you see have come to the conclusion that all the "good" eligible girls in the community and social circles we move in will be taken soon.
now, i have a cousin 3 years older than I, who should have been next in line to get engaged at the age of 22-23 as did our brothers before us. however, this fellow, being the typical ass that he is, got himself engaged at precisely the age I am now: 20 -> 21.
thus my aunts, great aunts, grandmother, etc. have only my happily unattached existence to meddle with. and meddle they have; apparently 8x10's of me have circulated, and when my aunt (my mother's older sister) visited on a tour of the USA, she brought pictures with her.
getting back to the problem, the tacit implication has been made that I will return from India engaged. many indian friends of mine say its no big deal. I say what about romance; because though I am loathe to admitt it, I am a die hard romantic. an arranged marriage does not allow such things. i wouldn't even be allowed to have conversation without an escort. that is one example; now think of nearly every stupid archaic rule of courtship, and you now have some idea of what i will have to deal with.
i guess i don't want this in many ways, but there are many other things to consider logically. an arranged marriage is secure, the bride is pure (a BIGger thing with the family than me - i mean if you're in love who gives a **** about the past), it is easy - i will no longer have to give thought to when i would start a family (required by my birth in the world or more accurately my family - or so says everyone related to me), it would keep me from doing anything stupid with a girl elsewhere. I mean, I have not been idle in these 20 years. I have had a serious relationship, and it ended in betrayal, so that assuredly colors my decision making in this matter, but the fact remains I have not yet found love, and may never. Am I to wait 20 more years? And in the process shatter many of my parents dreams. an arranged marriage gaurantees a family, and that is huge for me, because I have known I want to be a father since I was 4 years old and helping my mother with my baby brother - yes its weird, i know, and any joke you come up with i've probably heard it.
from my perspective these are all large positives. the drawback being the huge issue of i would not love her. perhaps I could grow to love her, engagements are often long in this method of marriage, and we would surely finish college before marriage so that is two years of time i would have. but if she is in india and I here how much will such an engagement help? and regardless of the future, when I get engaged how can I know i will grow to love her? we may grow far apart, and my vows would hold me; unlike too many people, I actually take vows seriously.
and on that same note, three of my cousins got engaged to people they wanted to. the eldest married the daughter of one of my mother's best friends, but it was a given that the girl in question would marry one of the two elder cousins, she was already family for all intensive purposes. the other two engaged in covert courtship of their wife/fiance. that might have worked for me had I been there, but obviously I am not.
so, I am frustrated, confused, and afraid to act for fear of doing something stupid. my heart warns me against an arranged marriage, chanting my mother's old saying: "the road to heaven runs through hell." yet there are ~3 billion women and of them one is said to be my "soul-mate." this is worse than a needle in a haystack. I have put no stock in fate, karma, or astrological arrangements, so I am out of luck mystically. My mind says go with the arrangement, easy, family is happy, honor easily preserved, no culture adjustments, security, etc.

well the problem as it is, is now in front of you. please help. i am serious, and seriously going mad. i kid you not when I say this has effected my schoolwork, I am depressed, and my sleep patterns are completely arbitrary where before they were rigidly regular.


Timid thoughts be not afraid. I am a Poet.

Senior Member
since 08-26-2002
Posts 1092

1 posted 12-02-2002 10:53 PM       View Profile for Miah   Email Miah   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Miah

Oh dear, Mother's eh? I guess I am not the one to give advice since I am divorced.   Not only that but I no nothing about arranged marriages and so forth.

However as a human being with feelings and ideas I have this to say.

Follow your heart that is all you can do.  In the end you have to do what will make you happy.

Personally, this is only my opinion and my belief.  I finally found someone that I truly love and care for, someone I want to spend a life with, and it is the greatest feeling in the world.

And umm one more thing. You are sooooo young you have a long time to find love and when you do it is very worth it.  

But again, you have to do what is best for you and I am sure like all mother's no matter what you choose she just wants you to be happy.  

I hope you find peace no matter what your choice is.   
Poet deVine
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley

2 posted 12-02-2002 11:49 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

I am old enough to be your mother but I have a real life story that relates to this:

About 10 years ago, I worked with a girl who was having a marriage arranged for her in India. She was completely Americanized and we were a bit surprised by this. She had a photo of her fiance and talked to him on the phone. She met him once before she was to travel to India to marry him.

Her family and his had elaborate plans. About $10,000 was spent on preparations and clothes and airfare.

She left for India. The plane ride was long. By the time she got to Singapore, she had changed her mind. When she arrived in India, she made her family aware of this and they all turned their backs on her. They shunned her for a couple of years.

Not a very good story I'm afraid.

But I think your family loves you and only wants the best for you. What harm is there in meeting the girls they want you to meet? Maybe you'll find your soulmate? It could happen!

But my BEST advice? Talk to your family. Be honest. Don't get on a plane and at the last minute have cold feet.'re doing the right thing by thinking this out. Fate has a way of taking care of decisions - and as long as you are aware of the roads ahead of you, you'll be ok.
Member Seraphic
since 05-20-99
Posts 24426
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA

3 posted 12-03-2002 07:41 AM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

You do indeed have a serious dilemma before you.  We, as Americans, cannot fathom the arrangement of marriages for our people.  The Indian custom surely predates any societal norms we have here, however.  You've outlined the pros and cons well.

In the end, you'll have to be the one to decide, of course.  Is there any harm in meeting these young ladies?  Does that in itself infer your intent to betroth?  Can you be straightforward with your family about your Americanized ways?  What are the risks?  Will you be disowned for denying your heritage?  What, in the grand scheme of life, is more important to you?  Are you willing to face the ultimate consequences of your decision (whatever it may be)?

Your questions are good and valid ones.  Perhaps it would be wise to consult others like yourself who've chosen the American way.  You can surely see the results of following tradition.  Perhaps other Americanized Indians who've chosen our way would be the best gauge.  In the end only you can decide. You're doing the right thing to question so deeply and so objectively.  Best of Luck and God Bless...
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
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since 05-18-2001
Posts 29020

4 posted 12-03-2002 10:59 AM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

I wish I could re-connect with a friend of mine, and maybe you could hear his story. Also from India, he came here and married a "DIVORCEE" with a child. Somehow, the family has dealt with it, and I think they still love and respect him inspite of his "American" ways. But not all families are so flexible.
I think you should assert your freedom/individuality rights, but maybe visit and check out the possibilities. NO is still an option, isn't it? Hope things work out for you.
Meanwhile, keep studying, and call the ACLU?
Deputy Moderator 5 Tours
Senior Member
since 10-13-2002
Posts 1228
SF Bay Area

5 posted 12-03-2002 11:59 AM       View Profile for majnu   Email majnu   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for majnu

First of all thank you all for your advice.

I do have to say one thing though. My family would accept pretty much anyone I chose; they will not disown me or anything else so absurd. The problem is that there is no one at present who I am close to.

It is more of a time issue than anything else. They expect me to be engaged sometime in the next year, year and a half. I do not have time to date much becuase I have a double major and research commitments; they really kill my social life.

If I don't get engaged in the next year they will leave me be, aside from the everpresent nagging. However, if I resist, there is no gaurantee I will ever find someone I care enough for to marry. The other "pros" of an arrangement are already listed.

You all are right however, there is nothing wrong in going there and meeting people. Thats what I would do here too, if I had time. Its just that its hard to gauge someone from only a conversation that is carefully observed by both sets of parents. It would be nearly impossible to be alone with her.

Oh well, that much I think I have decided, the rest I suppose I will play by ear unless I reach an epiphany some time before I leave for India.


Timid thoughts be not afraid. I am a Poet.

Member Ascendant
since 12-22-2000
Posts 6147
standing on a shadow's lace

6 posted 04-06-2004 05:33 PM       View Profile for 1slick_lady   Email 1slick_lady   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit 1slick_lady's Home Page   View IP for 1slick_lady

i know this advice seems so silly from a woman whom is divorced and single but it is true the old saying..."be true to yourself"

and as you say...your family will love and be by your side no matter what

as far as not having anyone in your life right now ...this is the way i live my life...the distance between the one to love me and myself is...time

and...i would rather wait than make a huge mistake
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