SF Bay Area
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.