Maybe it’s just my Indian perception of the West, but I don’t know how white people manage to be crazy and brilliant at the same time.
So Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman are two people from New York who tried to find answers to their respective love lives through a first of its kind social experiment called ‘40 Days of Dating.’ They dated for forty whole days and recorded it on this website where you can find all of the things they did, experienced and expressed during their courting. The description of it is really long- read it on a Sunday when you have time to pass.
After I read the whole frickin’ website, I wondered- what if there was a Desi version to this social experiment? How would that play out in the Indian society?
It’s not the same format but check it out.
Disclaimer: All the characters depicted in this piece are fictional but the situations laid out is very very very real.
365 Days of Plotting
Scene: Two aunties at a wedding reception of a mutual friend
Sheila: Neha’s parents have done a brilliant job in finding a groom for her, nahi?
Amba: She really looks happy, doesn’t she? (not-so sly information slip) My son, Vikram is 26 and working in a top notch IT company. He recently told us that he wanted to get settled.
Sheila: Oh that’s great. What is his height? Is he fair? I may be of help in finding someone for him?
Amba: He’s 6”1’ and very fair. His monthly salary is about… (nudging the husband) suniye, Vicky ki salary kitni hai?
Amar: (looks up) Round about 2.5 lakhs per month (gets back to his Balckberry)
Amba: Yes, 2.5 lakhs.
Sheila: That’s incredible! I have a daughter, Malini, who is wrapping up her M.A in Sociology by the end of March. She’s 5”8’ and pretty.
Amba: Oh, does she know how to cook?
Sheila: Yes, absolutely. She’s also very responsible.
Amba: Great, can you send us some pictures of her?
Sheila: Why not, we’ll get in touch!
(They exchange numbers. Amar is still not bothered)
Amba: Okay, so you have my email ID and get in touch.
(Awkward silence and playing with the food)
Amba: Have you seen the groom’s nose?
Sheila: And this food! Isse khaana kehte hai?
Scene: Malini Weds Vikram. At the wedding reception. Sheila and Amba – giving each other admiring looks about how their children came to be together BECAUSE of them- on the stage for their last round of pictures with the guests while the bride and the groom hold their painstaking fake smile one last time for the evening.
Meanwhile two other aunties in the room are busy getting to know, not each other, but each other’s spawn.
And the cycle goes on.
In my opinion, arranged marriage is like selling your kids on the black market. There, I said it.
But in a very formal way that is accepted by the society here. Alright, Vikram wanted to settle, that’s cool, bro. But what if Malini, the poor helpless goat that got stuck on a cliff wanted to work as a professor in a college? What if she wanted to go backpacking through Europe? What if she wanted to be the cool spinster at someone else’s wedding? HUH? It could even work vice versa with Vikram who wants to be the creepy 40 year old at the wedding who never got married and hits on girls who turn out to be his nieces.